Out of the OMGcon and into the Hypericon

I’m just not feeling it today. I haven’t been feeling it for a while now. In my heart of hearts, I know what it is: even if the clients can’t understand I’m quitting, I’ve quit. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to do my own thing. Period.

They come and they ask for another cover, please, and I just don’t wanna. We need the money, I know we do especially after the last sick fiasco foisted upon me by germ warfare, but I’m annoyed that in order to find time to write my novel or work on The Heavenly Bride I have to fit it in late at night when I’m done working for everyone else. My bills are relatively paid – well, better than they used to be. And dammit I want to stop. I just want to stop.

Last weekend was OMGcon, and even though the air conditioning in the convention center freezes the shit out of me we had a good time. We got to see a lot of good people, some familiar faces… we laughed. We sang. And it was over before it felt like it started.

This weekend is Hypericon, in Nashville. The drawback to having two conventions back to back like this, other than being a little tired and feeling burned out, is that OMGcon saw a bit of unusual success for me: I sold out of books. I mean, I really sold out of books… and I wasn’t expecting it. Which means my stock that I’d meant for Hypericon is gone. I don’t have enough time to restock. I’m just a little bit concerned, to say the least.

I think part of what’s contributing to my outright feeling of meh is the amount of rudeness I’ve been dealing with lately. Now, I’m not the perfect Southern Belle. Yes, I serve sweet tea and there are certain hospitality rules I live by and expect those around me to at least respect. I am Southern, after all. And being as the last time I was annoyed to the point of being emotionally drained at someone for their lack of hospitality and respect they were from the same geographical region as my current issue – Chicago – I suspect my issue is largely a culture conflict. But culture conflict or no, if I’m the host and you’re the guest then it’s up to you to be a good guest just like it’s up to me to be a good host.

The first time this happened I was an exemplary hostess. I fed my charge. I gave my charge a free ride cross country to get where we were going. I gave her a free place to sleep. And even after she’d backstabbed me and I decided to leave the event early rather than continue to deal with the abuse, trauma, selfishness, stolen property, and various other bullshit I made sure she had a place to sleep. I gave her my friend’s tent (with permission) and happily went on my way.

In return a little consideration would have been nice. I got none of it. In fact, she even portrayed me as the bad guy and made things more difficult. How’s that for gratitude? I haven’t talked to that person since, I would never recommend her to work with, and would be quite happy if she were to die right now.

This time, just like the last, I’m going out of my way to pick someone I invited up. They asked if they could bring someone else along. Sure, I said. That’s only imposing a little bit. I can take it.

My bills are paid, which means money is tight. (Funny thing about paying bills. It doesn’t mean you’re rich. It just means you’re responsible.) So when booking a hotel, I calculated how far away the event was and decided to hold back on booking more than necessary. I was given attitude on the part of my guest for not booking that extra night, because driving in the morning “would make everyone tired”.

I had learned from the first incident, though. I stood up for myself right away, and explained that yes I drive a reasonably new car and am paying for a house. This doesn’t mean I’m rich. It means I’m responsible, and the hotel was expensive. So I needed to be careful with what I did here.

Some of the negotiations for everyone’s schedules have been done on the part of the other half, with me not being fully informed. But somewhere along the way, as I tried to think of how I could make things work without my husband I had him ask if perhaps our guest could meet us partway out on the day of the convention or something, to shorten everyone’s driving time. Can’t do it, was the response. Okay. I understood. No problem. We’ll figure something else out.

That something else turns out to be driving Friday morning to the convention and leaving Sunday night. Will pick up our guests on the way out, no worries. They’re only a tiny bit out of the way and I don’t mind.

Then I’m told my guest is thinking of having someone pick them up during the convention so they can do something, probably on Saturday (usually the busiest day). My husband said incredulously, “Wait, they couldn’t work with us with getting a ride even an hour from their house, but they can be picked up in Nashville the full 3 hours from their home to go DO something?”

Maybe that was a schedule conflict, I let it go.

As far as my guest knew, I was leaving Thursday night to set up. The plan at that point was to pick them up on Thursday. I hadn’t communicated things with them yet because nothing was concrete. So they asked me a few days ago if it was alright if I picked them up on Friday instead, because they wanted to wait for their other half’s paycheck so they could have money. This comes after hearing them mention constantly about how their other half won’t give them any money. Fortunately their request didn’t put me in a bad position because I’d just been given the set up schedule so I was able to tell them that it was all good. However I was also thinking, “How fucking inconsiderate! First they get upset I won’t get an extra night at the hotel on Thursday. It’s a good thing I didn’t book Thursday! Now they want my husband to drive THREE HOURS ONE WAY out of his way on Friday to pick them up for the sake of their convenience – after which he would have missed the first day of the convention!”

Other half reacted by saying, “They are the GUEST. We’re not at their convenience. They’re at ours.” Well, that sentiment is partly correct, and gets the gist across.

The most recent fiasco was just a couple of days ago. I was asked, “Hey, when are you going to be here to pick us up?” I didn’t know. I was hesitant to give an hour or time, because when someone asks that question it usually leads to upset feelings when life and traffic are assholes and I’m even a little bit late. I said, “When I get there.” So they pressured me. I explained, hey. I wasn’t sure. I knew I wanted to leave early, but I never get out the door when I plan it no matter how hard I try, and I just didn’t know. So they pressured me some more. “When do you need to be there,” they asked. “I want to be there by noon, but the way things go I might not get there until 1,” I replied. Finally they said, “Fine. We’ll just be ready for you by 9 o’clock and wait.”

Okay then. I’m good with that, told them so. And then I asked, hey… do I have your up to date phone number so I can let you know when we leave? No response.

Maybe they went offline. I dunno… but my patience ended in that moment. I haven’t even gotten to the convention yet and I’m already dreading it based on past experience and the constant red flags I’m getting here. Are all Chicago people this way? I gotta ask, cuz the only ones I’ve ever known are turning out to be pretty consistent in this behavior. Only Chicago people may reply to that question, please.

Ever since that moment in which I couldn’t give the answer they wanted to hear, all the other half and I have gotten from our guest has been one word replies to anything we say to them. And it’s usually just a trite and short, “Okay.”

I have an Illinois friend who recommends I dump them, just tell them I can’t pick them up or something. I can’t do that. I invited them…. and all I want is for them to be good guests. I’m going to feed them, and water them, and I’ll even call them George if only they’d be a little considerate.

But the truth is if things can’t lighten up, I’ll be forced to dump them for the sake of my own self.

Still I hold on to the hope that the red flags are false flags. In person, my guests are nice people and I enjoy being around them. I am hoping that, while they’re in person, that will hold.

But let this post be a lesson, as most of my posts are geared to be. I take my job as hostess very seriously. Apparently God even smote an entire city of their lack of hospitality. And I’ll do what I can above and beyond the call of duty to be a good hostess. However, taking advantage of my good will makes you a jerk – and in my middle age mindset, you’ll quickly become a jerk I avoid.