The frigid air bites my tongue, my throat, my lungs; When will Sunday come? Last night’s scotch still fuels my temper; I’m sorry ma. I walk through the lobby and not a single smile out shines the brass railings; God I hate other writers. My mp3 player drives the Def Tones’ Beware straight into my pounding head; how fitting. It is day 2 at the AWP and there is anger in the air.
The Huron Room of the 8th floor is packed to capacity. I can’t see into the room, but I can hear the speakers, though I missed half of the discussion and don’t know what’s going on. People are standing in the back of the room and occasionally some asshole, with a sense of entitlement, pushes through the crowd and works their way to the front; What the Fuck?
A security guard in blue polyester, with a gold, lapel pin that relates his authority with a small letter “a” comes through and waves his “walky talky”. He asks people to “please clear out the back of the room.” The bottom drops out of his baritone voice, when some bald-headed, guy, sporting way too many Black Flag buttons, says with a broad smile, “this is fuckin’ bullshit.” The security guard frowns and I see the creases around his mouth make a pair of horizontal “u’s” and he raises his voice and says, “sir, I’m sorry for any inconvenience, but it’s against fire code.”
I move away from the outside of the door and I’m asked to move along as well, since the fire code extends to the ante-room of the larger conference hall. A heavy set woman dressed in beige with a matching scarf comes out of the conference hall waving her arms around like a tusken raider waving off flames. She marches up to the security guard and proclaims “My daughter is a lawyer! You people are endangering the lives of the people in that room! They cannot be sitting in the aisle and you know it! I’m calling the Hilton corporate offices! You have made my day!” It becomes her mantra as the head of security, followed by a supervisor and manager and assistant director and finally the hotel head honcho try to assure her that there is nothing wrong with the people being in the center of the aisle. They ask her, Shirley, to please just calm down; her only reply is, “that’s Doctor Long to you, sir”.
Shirley reminds me of what I hate about this city. Unreasonable people, who are made miserable and stupid by weather and other things they can’t control. I find a couch in the front lobby and take a small nap. Shirley, the cold, the negativity in this corner of the city and the scotch have all left me by the times Miles Davis’ Jeru comes on my player; the afternoon will be better.