OK, I was shouting up there.
But I intentionally did not punctuate.
Because I am a big believer in punctuation, I can assure you that I considered:
My God, BlogHer!
My God: BlogHer.
My God; BlogHer!!
My!! God, BlogHer!
And several other variations involving more or less exclaimation marks.
And I chose none of them. Why? Because, really, I needed all of them, and there’s only so much space in the title line.
It was awesome. It is far easier if I tell you the less good parts, and you can just assume the rest of the weekend was so fantastically amazing. Really, the lows were pretty miniscule: I lost my train ticket and we had to (gasp) spend another 2 hours in NYC (and pay less for our train home!) and oh, I still had the tummy troubles I went down with.
And that’s the worst I could come up with. Thousands of words were written about the experience, but I’m too lazy to be trying to link to any of them here. My experience was hugely heightened by the company of the delightful Grace, whose eyes nearly fell out of her head, and who kept saying things in her amazement like: “All of these people are writers!” “We are writers!” and other charming, thoughtful observations that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. She had manywell-thought out commentaries, too, but I’ll let her write about those.
Wow just doesn’t cover her, though. She was a fabulous companion. Is a fabulous companion: we plotted many more opportunities for get aways big and small, with and without offspring and husbands. We discussed the world, our gripes and beliefs, plans and dreams. Six hours in the car and two and half on the train, and we still had more to say.
Once we arrived, we goggled as we walked to our hotel (it was almost exactly 25 years ago I was in the city last!), then we walked up to and across Central Park to the apartment of a woman friend I haven’t seen since my girls were born. She was every bit as lovely as ever. Her kids are the cutest and brightest, her husband still charming. Their home was a delight, a vision into a different world – of doormen and elevators and strollers in the hall closet. My friend, stressed from too many business trips and long, long days, was exhausted.
I was feeling very “country mouse” – though grateful to have my quiet little existence, my own patch of green and trees I could hug; my world seemed much less vital than hers. But then, I flagged down a cab. Me! in New York City! Clearly, I have some latent capabilities.
The next day I met up with my oldest friend, whose mother and mine had connected when we were in playschool (in the 60’s, folks!), and, through them, we connected again in our teens. Since then we have been meeting up every few years, but somehow, this time it had been 10. I was loathe to try to call up a mutual friend to find her contact information, but just before the trip I tried Facebook, and lo and behold, there she was, and willing to visit with me.
It was fabulous to see her. Hers is another kind of priviledged NYC life, working in Manhattan and living 40 minutes out by train, with her husband, 2 older kids and a nanny, who, as my friend gently chuckles when she says it, is essentially her “wife”, and keeps the household running efficiently. That also sounds like a great kind of life, though naturally they’ve had their struggles and uncertainties, too.
The conference went on. I am full of new determination and resolutions (more on that another time). I learned a lot, but most of all, I loved seeing the variety of people, on the streets and in the conference. Grace and I had one supper out together, a real celebration of our adventures, at a Russian French restaurant that oozed history. We saw the MoMa. I would have put in 16 hours round-trip travel time, paid the expense of staying there and the conference admission just to spend the 20 minutes I did in front of Monet’s waterlilies. I’m trying to figure out when I can get back there.
Altogether, the trip made me feel part of something much, much bigger. And glad to go home to something smaller.