Friday, May 4, 2012

Je me souviens de l'ABQLA 2012

I have returned, with a medal for participating in Battle Decks at ABQLA 2012, but not with a winning medal. A tremendous participation medal it is, though, made from a dear friend's daughter's soccer meal, re-designed by the visionary puppet-master Lora, and executed by the ever-talented Westmount team.

You *can* go home again, but the past is a foreign country, to mix quotes. This week, I ate mashed potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese with my family, ate croissants and talked libraries and art with Ann, ate chicken with chapeaux and talked religion with my mum and Patricia, got my hair cut, transversed the mountain at least four times in a car and once on foot, ate polenta fries (and drank endless gimlets) and talked libraries and shake weights with Care, Shawn, Lora, Fiacre, and Meghan, and ate conference chicken with my Westmount family.

I ate a lot - did you pick up on that? And I ran only once, with The Husband, my hair whipped into a weird mess by the cold Lakeshore Drive wind.

The last ABQLA conference I attended was the 75th, at which I gave a swanky speech at the swanky dinner, speaking after Jack Rabinovitch and before Nicholas Hoare at the Ritz. This time, I was picked up and twirled around by Faith, hugged by former colleagues I miss desperately, pampered by my mum and my Westmount peeps, and reminded of all I love and all I do not love about my hometown and my first professional milieu. I saw so many old friends (from libraries all over the greater Montreal area, and from local vendor partners) and old enemies, and made some new friends (and a new enemy - that's right, F$ck-Acre: ABQLA 2013 knife fight ... IT'S ON). I felt free, and stifled; I was the conquering returning heroine, and the overprepared type-A personality Battle Decks competitor. Good thing your famil(ies) always love you, even when you eat all their food, drink four gimlii, desert them during a conference dinner for another table, embarrass yourself at Battle Decks, and then scurry back to Ottawa!

Montréal, je t'embrasse.

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