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I was in Atlanta most of last week for a blogging conference called Type-A. It’s been years since I’ve attended one of the big, multi-day blogging conferences (there are many, and I used to go to them often), but I felt like it was time to jump back in. And it was an interesting five days. I had a tweet go viral, I was a panelist in a kick-ass session about podcasting, I won an award for writing this post, and I was a big hit at the Disney-themed costume party as Darla from Finding Nemo. But one of the most interesting things happened right at the beginning.
On my first night at the conference I was riding down in an elevator to attend an opening-night cocktail party, doing what I always do in elevators: Staring at my phone and hoping that nobody talked to me. I was exhausted. I’d only gotten three hours of sleep for the past two nights each, so after checking into the hotel I’d taken a four-and-a-half hour nap. I handle interruptions to my normal sleep schedule about as well as the average toddler, so I was cranky.
There was only one other person in the elevator, an African-American man who was staring at the conference badge around my neck. He looked exactly like this, but he was wearing a Star Wars shirt:
He said something like “You’re here for a conference?” And I replied “Uh-huh,” trying not to sound rude, but also not looking up.
He kept talking to me anyway. He really had only two pieces of information to go on: That the conference had something to do with parenting (my badge said “Type-A Parent”), and that I was identified as “Selfish Mom.” He didn’t know that I was a blogger. He didn’t know that I’ve made a decent career out of writing. He didn’t know that I field questions all the time from people who do know those things and who still don’t understand that I have actual paying jobs, with contracts and responsibilities.
But in my crankiness, he just blended together with all of the other people who’ve assumed that I’m a housewife with a cute hobby, using an out-of-town conference as an excuse to escape from my husband and children. “So,” he continued, “are you guys just a bunch of partying moms?”
Finally looking up at him as the elevator approached the lobby, I said “Nope, this is what I do for a living.” Then I rolled my eyes and stormed off of the elevator.
Rude much? Overreact much? I mean seriously, the poor guy probably had NO idea what he’d said wrong. And as I went over the encounter in my head, I realized just what a bitch I’d been.
Later, at the party, word started to spread that Ice Cube was in the hotel bar. There were some serious fans of his in the room. A few people even went looking for him. I actually said to someone, “I’m not going to go look for him. I wouldn’t know him if I rode in an elevator with him.” You can see where this is going…
Hours later I was happily in bed in my pjs, with my laptop, scrolling through Facebook. And there it was: A picture of some of my fellow conference-goers, in the hotel bar, with the guy I’d ridden in the elevator with. And it was Ice Cube. Rapper. Member of N.W.A. Star of one of my husband’s all-time favorite movies, Friday. Yup. That was the guy I’d been rude to in the elevator.
Being the dork that I am, I apologized on his Facebook page. Usually when I’m rude to a stranger and realize it later, I don’t know how to find the person to apologize (although I have been known to put up random Facebook apologies that start like “If you were the person in the red jacket that I was rude to at the movie theater last night…”). But this time I could at least put it all on the right person’s Facebook page, even if he’ll probably never see it, and it made me feel a little better.
Apparently, in addition to the many, many people from the conference who hung out with Ice Cube in the bar, several others also ran into him in the elevator. And at least one of my friends also had a conversation with him without recognizing him. But at least she wasn’t rude.
I’m pretty sure he’s still at the hotel in Atlanta, since he was supposedly there filming a movie. So, look out for him in the hotel bar. Or the elevator.