Ms. Geek recently attended a small informal book signing for the beautiful new “Designing ‘The Secret of Kells.'” She stood in the line which was modest compared to the standards of the recent San Diego Comic-Con, however, the line didn’t move along smoothly.
Suddenly, a woman of East Asian origin, made it clear why some signings ask you only bring two items. This woman had two books and while standing in line bought a third (although the line for purchasing books was separate, she stood in line and waited for the transaction to be done). She also did that choppy cute walk behind the book signing desk so she could have a photo taken of her and the gracious Tomm Moore. That wasn’t quite enough. She then pulled out some glossy prints–not one, not two, but several, and asked for autographs.
More than once, she asked for autographs for a friend (someone suggested the name of that friend was eBay).
When she finally left the line, she then sat by herself despite this being a friendly group. There she wrapped up her gifts along with a plate stacked with guava pastries. Yes. The line was still about 20 long and the crowd had yet to disperse and some of the plates on the reception table were empty and people were still crowded around it, but this woman was taking more than she wanted before she was even sure there were leftover. She was neatly dressed. Her clothes didn’t suggest student or poverty in any way except manners.
Yes, this woman was suffering from a poverty of manners. She took three books when most people were holding only one. For each signing, the wonderful Moore was drawing an illustration in pencil. If you were quick you might have thought of whom. The person behind me requested Brendan.
The line for the bookstore wasn’t so long that she couldn’t have gotten out of the line and stood there and then gotten back in line. Moore had begun drawing illustrations before the signing but by the time I got my signature, he had run out. He sighed, “Now things will take a bit longer.”
Still, the woman sat in her corner alone. With the pleased smile of a cat, preening over her accomplishments without a thought of how her demands had made others wait longer and how she had demanded more time for free than anyone else.
Dear friends. Do not be so thoughtless. Part of the joy of celebrating the arts is finding others to share your joy with. If you go to a Comic-Con or book gathering and have not spoken with your fellow line waiting enthusiasts, then you have missed something very precious, more precious than an “I was there” photo or a plate full of pastries.