The annual American Library Association conference has come and gone. New Orleans took the brunt this year, the warm wild city welcoming librarians from all over as well as Michelle Obama and Emilio Estevez. I for one am excited with how Young Guns 3 seems to be shaping up.
The last ALA annual conference I went to was San Francisco 2015. Three years and a lot has happened. I have moved twice, stopped being a bona fide librarian, and started a very unpromising venture in delivering newspapers. Big changes, let me tell you.
That San Francisco trip happened because I had just ended a draught. Almost two years passed with me unemployed, and then I got in with a good library down south. Feeling like I wanted to jump in and become the librarian I wanted to be, I took the trip to San Francisco.
You could say I was warmly received. The city was nice and comfy, people from the land of twitter filled my schedule with lunches and dinners. I registered for the exhibit pass and snuck in to the presentations I wanted to see. I stayed in three different hotels by bargaining every night for the cheap suites.
On the second day, I messaged an online acquaintance. She was supposed to be at one of the meetups but had stayed in hotel. We scheduled a drink meetup, and I went on my way.
She cancelled. She went with some locals, friends of hers, driving out to Muir woods and had gone too far out. But we could meet the next day?
I said sure and went for a burger and drink. One thing about San Francisco, and I asked the locals, I could not find the regional dish. Rice A Roni seemed to offend some folks. Everything else was from everywhere else. What I ate was good, but I'm from the Gulf Coast region. I know seafood and good seafood is good seafood. Little rant aside, I ate well.
Then she sent me a message again. The night had worn on, gotten late. She asked if I wanted coffee. Too late for drinks and she had had wine already. I said sure and we picked a Starbucks.
I found the place, halfway between her hotel and my hotel number three. The area had a smell about it and so did the folks wandering around looking from under their brows. I wondered how safe it would be between her hotel and the coffee shop so I started walking that way.
A block up and there she was. Right in front of a car park, head down, the light of her phone illuminating her features.
I said her name. We hugged. That was about it for me.
We got that coffee. We walked. We talked. We wandered the streets of San Francisco that first night and stumbled around. We sat in Union Square and they asked us to leave. We went to no less than three places before we found a place for her to pee. We found a little bar with a big bouncer and had that drink.
On the way back to her hotel, a man came up to us. He said, "That's a good looking couple." I put my hand on her back and thanked him and hoped I did not have to tell her to run. She has a bad foot.
We made plans for the next day and met at the exhibits. She ate some kind of avocado chocolate on a stage while I watched. We got a mango smoothie from a language software vendor that will remain nameless. Library conferences are weird.
A year and a half later I moved to her. Three years more and I am writing this. Lord knows it has not all been easy and it has not all been hard.
We still hug when we meet on the street.