Monday, August 24, 2009

BOWLHER One Of My Hands Down Favorite Events At BlogHer

Can a girl admit she’s WRONG? I was wrong. Wrong with a capital W. When I was busy signing up for parties I decided not to sign up for BowlHer.

I do not bowl. Rather I have tried to bowl and as of yet I’ve not quite got a handle on why no points are awarded for consistent getting the ball to head straight for the gutter on the right hand side of the lane. I even have a patented move which involves me getting in the squat position with my legs open wide and rolling the ball down the lane. Even the shoes are ugly. I just couldn’t imagine myself enjoying a party at a bowling alley. Did I mention I was WRONG?

My original plan was to go to the BlogHer cocktail party then head on over to the Shutter Sisters Pajama Party and end the evening at the Cheezeburgher Party. My quick exit from the Shutter Sisters Party left a big gaping hole in my social activities. The BlogHer cocktail party turned out to be a wonderful formal send off for the weekend. They had an open bar and some nice horderves. The butlers in their formal outfits made sure that you were well taken care of. They had shrimp pot stickers, lamb chop, coconut chicken, stuffed mushrooms, and mini-beef Wellington.

BlogHer is formally over but it's not time to say goodbye. It's time to say good-bye to my fairy tale life at BlogHer. The clock it heading towards midnight but I hope I don't leave my glass slipper behind.

I decided to make a quick trip over to the BowlHer event and I discovered they had a list and were checking it twice. No problem. I admitted straight up that I had failed to register for the party. She looked down and said, “No problem. Come on in.” I was then handed a PINK feather boa and a crown.

This was another moment I would have just run out skipping and jumping for joy because I got a pink boa and I was so special I got a crown. Pink is my FAVORITE color so my happiness level is already flying at full-staff.

As we ascended the escalator to the second floor you could see people looking at us. Not in a weird crazy bag lady that one might do if you were the only one with a tiara and a feather boa. No this was more like a “Why can’t I have a feather boa and a crown?”

I heard a woman who was walking up the stairs ask one of the pink boa ladies “What’s with the crowns?” “We’re bloggers” she answered. Did she understand I wondered?

At the top of the stairs you noticed that it was decked out to be a big media type event that began with a walk on the red carpet. It appears that they were promoting Lifetime TV Channel and Project Runway. Someone came by with a camera just as I getting online and asked if we loved Project Runway. The squat, chunky young woman behind me chimed in “I’m simply addicted to that show. I just love, love, love it.” You might as well have been asking me if I loved chocolate.

Now’s the time I said to myself. I turned to the woman who had just come to life on cue and said, “I just love your boa. You have great taste.” She looked down at her boa and said, “Oh you too. I like yours too.”

I can’t let it drop here. I have to say something. Usually this is where I fall flat. I did the open now I need to keep the ball in the air.

“You know, originally I wasn’t going to come to this party. I’d signed up for almost every party that you could but I am such a crummy bowler I thought I’d be a fish out of water.”

Not the best come back line but it does open her to state that she’s either a very good bowler, a mediocre bowler, or a bowler more in line with me and perhaps a corpse. Even if she didn’t want to share that she could maybe comment on how she’d been to some party or all of the parties or how much she had been looking forward to this party. I’m hanging and hoping that she will respond.

I decide to make one last attempt at conversation. “I spoke to one of the people who is working with this event and she mentioned that it would be awful for me to miss out on all the great swag. She had even mentioned something about a zebra bowling bag. Isn’t that funny?”

I didn’t realize that I was waving a red cape before a bull. Her eyes narrowed and she said, “I hate all this commercialism. I hate how people are making it all about the swag. It’s not all about the swag. Blogging is about the art. It is about your ability to tell a story. It is not and should not be a commercial venture.”

Ah, OK. I decided to change the subject. “What do you blog about?” “I’m a Mommy Blogger. I blog for a news paper insert the name of a small Midwestern city, and I paid for this trip myself. Unlike some of the other people here who have sold their souls for the all-mighty dollar, I paid for this myself. I don’t let corporate America influence what I am saying. Every day I’m sharing deep and personal thoughts and feelings with people and even though I don’t have a lot of readers I’m beginning to see an upswing in my readership.”

Perhaps because I won a trip to Kraft Food I was a little put off by her statement. I sold my soul to Kraft Food? How is that exactly? Then in the very next thought I blurted out “Do you get paid to blog?” She told me she did but not as much as the sports blogger. He has more people following his blog. While I didn’t say it aloud was that being on a newspaper was also a sponsored blog. My blog is not sponsored but my trip was and I was a bit put off by her self-righteousness.

The woman behind her was also a mommy blogger for a newspaper so they began talking about how sports bloggers always have more readers. Then I heard the woman brag about how she didn’t even ask the newspaper to pay her expenses because that way she could be honest about her opinions of BlogHer. I suppose that was supposed to mean that she was above it all but no one had asked me to say ANYTHING.

I listened as she droned on about how she about her personal and innermost thoughts on her mommy blog. So essentially she sacrifices her family’s privacy for a paycheck. Is that selling out I wanted to ask her. I mean if it’s really all about the craft of writing like was saying then why not do it for FREE? Then I heard her talk about how some companies provide her with things to review but she lets them know that she will write what she truly feels about something and not be a corporate shill.

Again, why not say, my family’s story is not for sale? If swag and ANYONE who takes it is really unscrupulous like you say, then why are you standing in line in a boa and a tiara waiting to go to a party sponsored by a television show? Why not be working on your craft at home away from all this commercialism? Why must you expound upon how much better you are than others?

I believe some women who blog are all about the craft of writing. They are so good at what they do that the fame comes to them. They don’t generally lecture people about hypocritical loss leaders. They don’t have to say they are better than others because their barometer of success does not require putting others down to raise themselves up. I am certainly not at that level.

I was almost trying to turn off her diatribe against other bloggers, against the swag, and then I heard her say something about the stealing of swag. Swag stealing? I knew nothing about that? Pushing? Elbowing babies? A bruise in the shape of a hand? What in the heck was I dealing with? I had gone from rolling my eyes to wondering what the hell was wrong with people.

The line began to move. I watched as women began walking the red carpet, sometimes by themselves and sometimes in groups. They stopped for photos and I tried to get back in a festive party mood but I was mulling over all that I had just heard. I walked down the red carpet, took my photos and entered the bowling alley.

This was a bowling alley like I had never known before. It was HUGE with a bar, pool tables, and glow in the dark pins. I was stopped by one woman who asked if I wanted to send a video message to someone special. I said sure and I told them my husband. They wanted to know why he was the greatest man alive. I had exactly two minutes to think about what I was going to say and then it was lights, camera, action.

Then I walked to the back of the bar. For people like me this was a great place to observe and make a decision as to what I was going to do. I walked up to a table and there were women who were dealing with children with autism. We talked for about ten minutes. I told them about my nephew and about some former students and they told me about their organization. It was this conversation that brought me back to my own reality.

I went into teaching to make a difference. I look over the years and remember the families and former students who thanked me for the things I have done. Why in the world did I let that girl in line ruffle my feathers for even a moment? If being a blogger makes her feel as though she’s changing the world then let her have that. I didn’t care. I think what I did care about what her decision that others weren’t making the same contributions that she was. I knew that in less than 24 hours I would be going back to my little world and then shortly thereafter I’d be starting back to school.

I came out of the shadows of the back of the bowling alley and began to walk around. I tried to play pool. I sampled some products. I handed out some business cards. I had a great time and then I left because I didn’t want to miss the Cheezeburgher Party.

It’s funny that this was the one party that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy but turned out to be one I enjoyed a great deal.

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