I read Harry Potter yesterday, all in one day. And this old woman was there at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to receive her reserved copy. And I was at the front of the line, something that has NEVER happened to me before.
Here’s how the evening progressed. I got there at 8:30, like a total idiot, convinced I would not be able to park. I figured swarms of black clad Harry Potter look-alikes would have all the best broom parking spots taken. So my strategy was to arrive early and entrench myself. Have I ever once claimed to be a genius?
Well, once I was there, it was sort of boring. I sat in the coffee shop area for a few minutes and tried to read a book I picked up, but I couldn’t really get into it. My niece was with me, so I offered to buy her a drink. As I was standing in line, a woman came up behind me, and her BO was powerful, overwhelming really. She tried to strike up a conversation, and normally I’ll talk to anyone, but it was too much for me. So I made Kiirah stand in line while I hid from the smelly lady.
I spent the night wandering around Books A Million with Kiki and her kids, and Kiirah in tow. John was there with his friend, and he alternately annoyed me and amused me. At one point, he forced me to eat a Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean. Against my better judgement, I bit into it and nearly upchucked right there in the middle of the store. Turned out to be vomit flavored; it’s amazing how they duplicated that taste!
There were quite a few people there in costume, and one lady in particular, really stood out to me. She was dressed as Professor Umbridge, the evil woman who treats Harry so badly in Book 5. This lady had an amazing pink hat on, bedecked with pink flowers. She had obviously made it herself in honor of the book.
I finally made my way over to her and complimented her on it. We chatted for a few minutes, and I was uneasy because she seemed very familiar and knew my kids. Finally, I touched her arm and said “I’m so sorry, where do I know you from?”
She looked at me like I was crazy and said “I work for your husband.”
I am sure I looked like I had just eaten a vomit flavored jellybean, I was that embarrassed. I laughed and laughed and pretended I had been joking and knew it was her all along. Then I slunk away and avoided her for the rest of the evening.
At 10:45, I was flagging. Kiki’s youngest had made it to the finals in the costume contest for his portrayal of Draco Malfoy (the resemblance was uncanny!). I was standing with Kiki, waiting for the final judging when who should come up behind me but the smelly lady. We were in a narrow space and the smell was overwhelming. I am not just talking about unwashed armpits. I am talking about the smell of someone who has been sleeping in her clothes for the last two weeks and hasn’t touched soap this decade. I mean it was a serious, funky smell.
After a few minutes, it became evident she was going to stand there next to us, so I told Kiki I was going to the front of the store to wait for the line to form. I headed up there and to my dismay, there was already a long line. The store had announced the line would start at 11:30 and it was only 11:15. I was seriously annoyed. I dropped back to look at a shelf, grumbling and muttering to myself about the unfairness of it all.
This is my luck though. I always pick the longest grocery store line. I never have good seats at anything. So it was par for the course that I would be at the back of the line, picking up my Harry Potter book at 1:30 a.m.
So you can imagine my delight when at 11:25 the Books A Million people came and plopped a sign down nearly in front of me and told all those people lined up that the line started behind the sign. Readers, I was number 14 or so, depending on how you counted us all crowded in there. We were literally shoulder to shoulder.
I had to stand there for 45 minutes. STand. On my feet. CRushed next to people I didn’t know. It was actually a lot of fun. We talked about the books and our theories and our favorite characters. I was next to a couple of weird, nerdy, teen-age girls, one of whom was wearing a shirt emblazoned with Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. Snape has always been one of my favorite characters. I always thought he got a bad rap, and I was ABSOLUTELY thrilled to be proved right in my devotion.
However, my devotion paled in comparison to these girls, one of whom expressed a fervent desire that Mr. Rickman would dump his live-in girlfriend so he would be on the market again. I looked at her and said “you do realize that he’s around 60?”
“So what,” she said, “he’s Alan Rickman.” Well, there you go!
Anyway, at 11:45, they dimmed the lights and a hush fell over the room as the books were wheeled up to the front. The anticipation was a tangible thing, and the crowd became restless. The nerdy girls were talking animatedly, one of them telling the other she was going to buy a Transformer onesie for her young niece and keep her from becoming too “girly”. “Yes, Megatron is powerful,” intoned the other girl. One can only presume Megatron is a Transformer…
Finally, we counted down and at 1, we surged forward to receive our books. I was number 3!!!!!! I got my book and rushed out the door, then remember Kiirah was with me, so I had to rush back in the door. I called her on her cell phone and told her to get out now so I could get home to read. We were home in record time and I had the book finished by yesterday afternoon.
I have never been so tired in my life! But it was worth it, the book was fabulous and I am glad she ended it. Because I don’t think I can ever do that again!!