Blogher did not disappoint (me), but it may have been a huge disappointment to my Facebook friends subjected to the constant barrage of #blogher tweets that pushed to my page. I’m surprised if any of them are still getting updates from me.
But, I’m okay with that (not really, please unblock me from your friend feed). I found a world where I am not strange, (maybe weird, but not strange) where I was surrounded by others as obsessed with their blogs as I am mine and where we could all be “twits” as my dad likes to hardy har har.
I heard that there would be lots of free stuff to have at Blogher so I was thrilled when at the airport in Kansas City, Southwest asked for volunteers to take the next flight to Chicago. I was pretty sure they were giving me a $179 travel voucher because I am such an influential and important blogger and not at all because I volunteered to do so.
Once I got to Chicago, I decided to strut my inner urban chick and take the L into the city. I was surprised thrilled when I managed to get on the right train.
I was feeling pretty darn special with myself for being so confident and capable. I was thinking about how awesome it was that I could totally go to any city and just you know, own it.
But then I walked into the Sheraton which was already swarming with women. Women hugging, women carrying matching bags, women with babies, women squealing, women texting and twittering.
I fell apart.
Get it together, Stephanie! What are you doing?
There I was standing in the check-in line with a big lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes.
Don’t let anyone see you crying, you freak show.
Why am I crying anyhow? I’m supposed to be happy to be here. These are my people. This is my thing. I’ve been annoying everyone I know for months with Blogher this and Blogher that. You stop this right now or I will kick your butt.
Later that night, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the crowds, the parties and the swag. Swag we did get. Swag we didn’t get. Swag other people got. It was insane. I’ve never seen people go so bonkers over a brown paper bag with cleaning products in it. It was a frenzy. And I was a shark.
Among the frenzy, I spotted one of my favorite bloggers. And I did exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. I gushed and sputtered awkward compliments about how awesome her blog is and how much I love it and how I have shared it with others. It was a bad scene. And it was time to call it a night.
Luckily my roommate was super cool and laid back. Especially when she checked us into our room and discovered it was a king size bed. For a short while I mentally prepared myself to get really comfortable with this new friend. But luckily a roll away bed saved us from any spooning mishaps.
I’m not even going to talk about the lump that welled up in my throat during the opening session.
At lunch on Friday, I found my birds of a feather table after a hotel staff man yelled at me for being in the wrong lunch place. But, I signed up for this special lunch, I tried to tell him. He kicked me out of the buffet line half-way through my already over-filled plate.
But nooooooooo…..there is a chickpea something or another down there I want to try….
So I threw on my sunglasses and tried to sneak back through again, but my disguise didn’t fool the Buffet Nazi who busted me again, so I went without my chickpea something or another.
While I was sitting in my seat pouting, a lady walked up to me a wiggling baby in her arms. She seemed to be struggling with some sort of cloth apparatus that I later learned is called a sling. Hi, she said.
I don’t know how it happened, but before I knew it, I had a two-month old baby in my arms. I couldn’t move. It was terrifying. I really didn’t want this nice lady to know I was freaking out, so I tried to be calm. But when she was ready for the baby, I panicked. There was no way I could hand her the baby. That would require moving the baby from her safe place in my frozen arms. So I just sat there and smiled trying to will her with my eyes to reach down and take the baby.
Really, this lady had no idea who she had just handed her child to.
It turned out the baby and her mom were from Kansas City and mom is a super cool food blogger. This would be a good time to just give a huge shout out to all the peeps I met at Blogher. You were fabulous — Melissa at Single Gal in the City, Vodka Mom , Sabrina, Danielle – knitter and humorist extraordinaire, Jennifer at Baby Makin Machine and too many more to start listing here, Both of the Birds of a Feather tables (Foodies and Non-Moms) were some of the greatest lunch partners ever.
And speaking of going well together, Queen of Quirky got her crown on Friday night at the Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party. MNAC gave out tiaras at her party. Woah. Drop everything. I live for these moments. (Even if plastic tiaras (and copious wine) do give me headache later.)
Speaking of not going together. I could not hold onto my stuff this week if I tried. I lost and found my cell phone about 10 times, my glasses and my name badge. I lost for good my program and several pieces of swag. (No huge loss there; plenty of that stuff to go around, let me tell you!)
By Saturday night I was in love with everyone and everything blogging. I had found my people and they had found me. When Deb on the Rocks introduced me to the head of advertising for the Blogher network by asking her if she had met the Queen of Quirky yet. I think I melted a little. Later I told her about my near meltdown Thursday night in the hotel lobby and found myself crying again.
What is wrong with you? You don’t cry in front of one of the funniest bloggers at the conference? You make her laugh, dummy, so she’ll want to read your blog!
What can I say? I’m a slow learner.
When it was all said and done, I peeled myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. after completely wiping out over my suitcase in the dark and having a giggle fit over it. Blogher 09 was over and it was time to go back.
On the train platform for the L, I saw a nice “2.5 kids and a dog” family. They looked like they had just had a lovely weekend in the city. I asked them where they were heading and it turns out they were on my flight back to Kansas City.
When they asked me what had brought me to Chicago, I started to gush that I had just been at a blogging conference for women and it was like totally awesome. I was out late at a bowling party and then went to a cheeseburger party in a hotel room where people were eating burgers in the bathtub and swigging out of free wine bottles from the bolwing party while wearing McDonald’s bags on their heads.
Well that sounds, um, interesting, they said.
And I guess then, I knew I was in real life all over again.