Thursday, October 08, 2009

Too pooped to post: A Bouchercon flashback

Received two books in the mail yesterday to aid in preparation for my Bouchercon panel, then spent a couple of hours writing up questions for the panelists and reading the books. Since that left little time for the new post I like to make every day, here's one of my favorite old ones, from Bouchercon 2008.
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Lots of people loved Bouchercon 2008, but I bet I was the only one who had such a good time that he came, left and came back again. It all started on a hot, post-boozy Sunday ...

The official part of the conference had wrapped up, and the unofficial part seemed ready to follow. Suitcases littered the hotel lobby, and among them flopped bodies of exhausted convention-goers. I don't know about the rest of them, but my body was subsiding comfortably into the floor, and my mind was close behind.

I'd arranged to split a taxi to the train station with a fellow convention-goer, and I looked forward to the peace of the quiet car. I feared only that I'd be roused from sleep in time to get off at Philadelphia and make it back to work Tuesday.

But the train was far more crowded than a train has the right to be on a Sunday afternoon, and we had to grab any seats we could find, quiet car or otherwise. We couldn't find two seats together, but I did get one next to a woman having a family crisis over her cell phone.

By Newark, Delaware, I'd had enough, and I jumped the train. The hour I spent in the cool of a fall afternoon waiting for the next train back to Baltimore and the remnants of Bouchercon was the only chance I'd had all week to read, relax and recharge. But would anyone still be around when I got back to the hotel?

I felt good about my chances when I called Sandra Ruttan on her cell phone, and she couldn't hear me over the noise of the hotel bar. Seventy minutes later, I was back in the lobby feeling as if I'd never left and ready for an evening that was to include two of my most memorable Bouchercon experiences.

(Coming soon: A curious case)
© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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17 Comments:

Blogger John McFetridge said...

A cliff-hanger?

October 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm thinking of adopting a cliff-hanger format for my Bouchercon posts. I will announce my decision later.

October 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In fact, I may put you in the next one.

October 14, 2008  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Ah, the prospect of putting John McFetridge in a post referred to as a curious case has me greatly amused.

October 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's all about making the reader want to keep reading!

October 14, 2008  
Blogger Kerrie said...

What a very funny story Peter!
I would have just sat on the platform at the railway station.

October 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Kerrie. I assured myself of a good story to tell once I decided to hop off the train. That I had such a good time back in Baltimore only made the story better.

The ride from Baltimore to Philadelphia is just over an hour long, so I could easily have taken the noise. Truth is, once the thought crossed my mind, I was overcome by the strong desire to return to the convention. It was peaceful there on the railroad platform, though.

October 15, 2008  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Who is the artist and what is the title of the painting that accompanies this entry? Is the train shed in Baltimore or Philadelphia or...?

October 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The artist is Monet, and the painting is of the Gare Saint-Lazare in 1877 -- not, sad to say, in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Newark, Del.

I was thinking especially about trains when I made the original post. Back then, I called it "Too Many Strangers On a Train" and posted it amid my other convention reports, which bore such titles as "The Big No Sleep."

October 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I know I was whining about the Louvre a few posts back; however the Musee d'Orsay is a lovely gallery which a civilized atmosphere and no horrible modern additions. And no McDonalds within 1000 yards.

October 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My only complaint about the Musee d'Orsay was the exceedingly long line outside it once when I tried to get in.

October 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

What time did you go at? I was there in the morning and had no trouble and they also didnt care that I was carrying a child on my shoulders which is VERY un-Parisian.

October 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I likely would have seen the long line late in the morning, but I have visited the museum on other occasions, both during that visit to Paris and other times. It's banal to say so, but it's astonishing how much of our visual culture and heritage reside in that building.

Parisians are big on cooing and petting over their children in public, but come to think of it, I don't remember the shoulders as a carrying place for kids.

October 09, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Parisians would make the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang look like Mr Rodgers if you dared bring a kid into a restaurant, especially an - gasp - American child.

October 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Depends which class of restaurant. I have heard that Parisians dote on their children, and I saw a charming multigenerational example of this in a sandwich shop where I ducked in for a fast snack and a cup of coffee before a concert.

A young child was entertaining what appeared to be his grandmother, mother and one of the mother's friends, not to mention other customers in the shop, including me. Many smiles passed over the little guy's antics, including between me and the grandmother when she warned him not to derange le monsieur (me).

When he got too enthusiastic, grandmere sat him down in his high chair to his great displeasure. He howled for a while, as kids will, but this produced none of the exasperation or teeth-gritting I'd have expected from American adults in such a situation. They calmly and sympathetically waited him out, and then we all resumed our peaceful dining.

October 09, 2009  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I was reminded of Morris Hall Pancoast's wonderful painting, "The Pennsy Train Shed," (1917) in your own city's Academy of Fine Arts -- filled with steam on a cold and snowy winter day -- and assumed (wrongly) that the painting by Monet was of an Eastern US train terminal. Maybe they all look a little alike to me because although L.A. has its own fine Union Station, it has never experienced a steamy, snowy day...

October 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I am sitting just a few hundred yards from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at this very moment.

If it's any consolation to you, we don't have breathtaking views from the Hollywood Hills out here. Each part of the world has its own iconography and hungers after that from elsewhere

October 13, 2009  

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