Heading Upstate
Clear, Not Smear

The Spillening and the Signening

I got to Saratoga Springs in spite of massive ice storms and pouring rains and delayed flights, and it was good.

Except I kept spilling stuff all over the place. Poised and graceful, that's me.

The first calamity happened at BWI while I was waiting to board my flight to Albany. I had carefully chosen my seat so that I could put my medium Cafe Dulce (another version of Crack-in-a-Cup) on the seat beside me. Then another woman ambled past me, excusing herself, and I went to pick up the cup to ensure that it wouldn't get knocked over.

Except I knocked it over. It landed on the floor, the top popped off, and the entire cup of coffee spread over the carpet. Luckily no one got hit by the tasty beverage, but I was very sad. The woman apologized profusely and offered to buy me another, but I declined because it wasn't really her fault. I told the Southwest folks of the accident, but no one seemed to care very much. Then the woman decided to make friends with me, which she also didn't need to do, but I was polite and discussed the relative merits of Janet Evanovich's oeuvre with her (funny, good for airplanes, isn't Grandma Mazur the best?, getting kind of repetitive but Lean Mean Thirteen is good, no I haven't read much James Patterson, blah blah blah get on the plane already). By the time we boarded, the coffee had become one with the carpet and the stain was actually invisible. Self-cleaning carpet! That's what I need!

So, I got to Albany without incident, although the landing was, shall we say, exciting (which is not necessarily what I'm looking for in an airplane landing). My ride, the tall Paul, was there to drive me to Saratoga, where we met my lovely and talented hostess, Phylise, who immediately escorted us to The Local for beers and bar food. Excellent stuff, except when I got up to leave I stumbled a little and...

Knocked over a half-full pint of beer. Again, no one got wet, but it was a close call, and I did moisten my coat slightly, but the slight drizzle on the walk back to the house took care of that.

So, the next day we did the radio thing (two minutes!) and then went over to Borders for the talkening and the signening. And it turns out that this big-time author, Russell Banks, is also having a book signing, but at 2:00 as opposed to mine at 11:00. Borders had the areas all set up. Here's the setup for Russell Banks, complete with comfy chair:


And here's the setup for me:


Yeah. Three chairs. Now there's a confidence builder right there.

But! People started to come! And we had to usurp the bigger space! And it filled up with kids and grownups! And it was fun! I told a bunch of stories, and I juggled at little, and people actually bought some books, and I actually signed them like a real live au-thor. I must admit that it was kind of neat to see this display:


After the signing, we partook of Chowderfest, a tradition in Saratoga Springs where a bunch of restaurants in town whomp up their best chowder, and offer cups of it to the hungering public for a buck. You get a sticker for your ballot, then vote for the best chowder, kind of like a chili cookoff. I passed on the vegan curry chowder (I don't do curry), but I had some lovely Seafood Chowder from the Stadium Grill, some awesome Southern Fried Chicken chowder from Hattie's, and two cups of Philly Cheesesteak Chowder from Bailey's Cafe. Yes, two cups, because I...

Knocked over the first and spilled it all over the floor. Go me! Once again, though, the only casualty was the concrete floor, and my shoe, which a very friendly (and hungry) Golden Retriever cleaned for me a little while later.

I swear, you can't take me anywhere. At least I didn't drop the juggling balls.