wherein i see s.m. stirling read and my couchsurfing host disappears into the mist (wfc 2013 part 2)

At the beginning it is hard to imagine the end.  You’ve been looking forward to something for months.  You can barely believe it has begun.  How could you possibly even start to understand that it is going to end?

If I could have wrapped my head around it, I would have had a picture taken with S.M. Stirling, sitting on the plush Iron Throne on which he perched to read the first two chapters from the as-yet unpublished Emberverse book.  All the same, it is the enjoyment of the moment that really matters, the memory of seeing him rush past the table where I was having a snack before his reading to get set up, of sitting in the front row and listening to him do all the accents of the characters who I have followed through 11 books.

He is a really good reader.

The next book brings in Japan.

He doesn’t seem to have any idea if or when the series if ever going to end.  (I asked.)  What he does know is that he is contracted for three more.  What I know is that, despite having read 11 of the 12 published books in the series, the first thirty seconds of his reading contained a massive spoiler.  It isn’t that I didn’t see it coming.  It’s just that I didn’t know when it was going to happen.  Whoops.  I still wouldn’t change a thing.  I am still going to read the next trilogy.  Even though I am starting to get a bit frustrated with the scope of the story, with the weird chronology, with the cartoon-ishness of several characters and their relationships.  I still wouldn’t change a thing.

It is hard to remember what else I did on that first day.  (Read about day one at the World Fantasy Convention here.)  I have notes, but to hell with notes.  I attended a panel discussion about e-books, I dropped by the newbie table at the bar, and I scouted out the dealer’s room, purchasing the hard cover copy of Dies the Fire that I would have S.M. Stirling sign.  I wandered and read the program and felt generally awed at how many fucking awesome things were about to happen.  But first I had to meet up with my couchsurfing host.  Because what is an epic adventure without a little drama, a little anxiety, a little waiting out in the rain?

The walk to her apartment took thirty minutes.  My luggage was annoying–we had all been given about 15 books at registration and I had already bought several more in the dealers’ room and during my used book store tour of Brighton–but I was giddy.  I was going to drop off my luggage, meet the awesome person I had been emailing for the past few weeks, and then go to a Patrick Rothfuss reading at the local Waterstones.  I had just heard S.M. Stirling read!  I had just sat next to Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear on the train!  The world!  My oyster!  I arrived at the apartment.  I rang the bell.  And no one answered.

I sent text messages.  I called.  I sent an email.  I left a facebook note.  I rang the bell some more.  When a neighbor showed up and let me into the building, I banged directly on the door, behind which lay only darkness and silence.  I left a note.  I knocked shyly, then desperately, then resignedly.  I contemplated my options.  How long should I wait?  I knew I had her number right because I had received a text from her earlier, asking “Is this Nikki?”  Were my texts getting through?  And if they weren’t, why wasn’t she home when we’d agreed to meet?  Worst couchsurfing nightmare.  Worst couchsurfing sin.  I imagined her saying “ah fuck it,” and skipping off to get drunk with the rest of the costumed hordes roaming the city streets (Happy Halloween!).  I despaired.  I contemplated sleeping in the hallway.  She would have to come back eventually, wouldn’t she?  Was this even the right place?  The mail in the hallway with her name on it said it was. I waited for an hour.  She did not appear.  I took a deep breath, thought, “well then, punk rock it is,” and I dragged my suitcase to the bus.  I could figure out my sleeping situation later.   I had a reading to attend.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Friday November 08th 2013, 7:00 am 9 Comments
Filed under: books,conspiracies

9 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

The horror! I don’t think couchsurfing would be for me.

Comment by Carien 11.08.13 @ 1:19 pm

Carien: You know, every other experience I have had with it was absolutely amazing. Usually I end up feeling more optimistic about humanity’s goodness than I ever do normally. But yeah, this particular couchsurfing date may have crushed my trust in the system for a good while. Only time will tell…

Comment by nikki/clickclackgorilla 11.08.13 @ 2:25 pm

bummer, crummy to be unsettled in a strange place

Comment by tess 11.08.13 @ 8:18 pm

tess: Yes, yes indeed.

Comment by nikki / click clack gorilla 11.09.13 @ 12:00 pm

[...] wherein i see s.m. stirling read and my couchsurfing host disappears into the mist (wfc 2013 part 2) [...]

Pingback by wherein patrick rothfuss is witty and charming and epic (wfc 2013 part 3) | click clack gorilla 11.09.13 @ 2:21 pm

Hi, I saw the video of your house, checked your blog,and found a S. M. Stirling fan). I suppose you are aware of the yahoo chat group(if that is correct terminology)? Good luck. Hope that you have found a place to stay, as I am sure that you have!!

Comment by Lance 11.10.13 @ 3:46 am

Lance: Excellent! I am not aware of the yahoo group actually. I assume google will tell me more? I of course, did find a place to stay. That post is up now too if you’re curious.

Comment by nikki / click clack gorilla 11.10.13 @ 4:26 pm

[...] wherein i see s.m. stirling read and my couchsurfing host disappears into the mist (wfc 2013 part 2) [...]

Pingback by wherein i find a place to rest my head and all is well in the land of eternal darkness (wfc 2013 part 4) | click clack gorilla 11.21.13 @ 4:09 pm

[…] I almost didn’t go. I almost choose a long wait in the rain in front of an empty apartment (see Wherein My Couchsurfing Host Fucks Me Over). I had called Waterstones the week before to reserve a seat at the reading and been told that I […]

Pingback by wherein patrick rothfuss is witty and charming and epic (wfc 2013 part 3) | We are book punks.We are book punks. 07.16.14 @ 1:05 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>