BlogU, or I Can Make an Ass of Myself Away From Home Too!

You’re about to see the Internet explode with praise and enthusiasm for a blog conference called BlogU (and it is well-deserved praise and enthusiasm, I might add) that I attended this past weekend. This was the second year BlogU happened, and I couldn’t make it last year, but I’ll be making it next year and any other year they'll have me. BlogU offers “classes” on subjects of interest to bloggers of all kinds—subjects like SEO, collaborative blogging, and building a brand. There were many fabulous faculty and guest speakers, including New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She’s also the editor the anthology in which I was published, so I was looking forward to stalking meeting her. The story I’m about to tell you is really only funny if you know who she is, so if you need to pop over to her site and familiarize yourself with her (although why don't you already know her? Because she is hilarious), be my guest. Maybe buy a book while you're there. I’ll be here when you get back.

Ready? OK, Jen Mann is very down to earth, funny, and approachable. She posted a comment in the Facebook group for the conference on Thursday evening that she was in the lobby of the hotel having a drink if anyone wanted to join her. I had gone out to dinner with a few folks, and saw it when I got back to the hotel. I messaged her and said if she was still there, and still looking for company, I’d be happy to join her.

“Sure! Come on down!” she responded.

I got to the lobby and joined the group of ten or twelve women. I introduced myself to a few of them, and we chatted. Jen was involved in a conversation with someone else the whole time I was there, and I didn't want to interrupt. I finished my wine and headed back upstairs because it was getting a little late, and I knew have other chances to meet her, so no big deal if it didn't happen then.

As I sat down in front of my computer for one last social media check, a message popped up from Jen.

“Are you coming down? We’re wrapping up here.”

I replied that I’d been there and had just gotten back to my room. I asked if she wanted me to come down, that I was still wearing regular clothes and so forth.

“Yes!” she said. I went down and we had a lovely chat about this and that. I assume I gave the impression I was a normal person. That wouldn't last.

Friday morning I was sitting in an almost-empty auditorium waiting for the first session to start. Two ladies a couple of rows back were discussing the upcoming parties (one on Friday night, one on Saturday night). They were a bit alarmed that we’d been given only two drink tickets at check in. Was that it for the weekend? Only two drinks? Of course I couldn’t help but overhear them, so I turned around and joined in their conversation.

“I think it’s a budget thing and it’s only two drinks tonight, but on Saturday it will be unlimited. I wasn’t here last year, so I’m not a hundred percent sure, but that’s what I’d guess. I mean, you know, don’t quote me or anything…”

One of the women began (jokingly) grilling me. “Yes, what’s your authority on this? I am going to quote you. What’s your name?”

I held out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Jen Mann.”

Since everyone at the conference knew who Jan Mann was, and I clearly was not Jen Mann, we all had a laugh at that.

Fast forward to the Friday night party. I found Jen and said, “Hey, Jen, can I tell you something funny?”

“Sure!” she said. I told her about my conversation with the women in the auditorium and that if she heard of anyone going around campus impersonating her, it was me. Thankfully, she thought it was funny.

The next morning the first session I attended was one Jen was teaching. Because I clearly have anxiety about stupid things, I got there early to get a seat. Jen and her lovely co-presenter JD Bailey (of Honest Mom) were getting ready. Brown nosey teacher’s pet that I am, I picked a seat in the front row. JD was doing something with the computer, so Jen had a free minute.

I said, “Hey, Jen, can I tell you something funny?”

“Sure!” she said.

And I proceeded to relate to her the exact story I told her at the party the night before. When I finished, she just looked at me without blinking for whole seconds (yes, seconds are short, but several seconds strung together are very, very long, especially when you’re sitting in front of a New York Times bestselling author whose next anthology you'd like to be in—trust me).

“You told me that story last night, and I laughed.”

Awesome.

I swear I wasn’t drunk, wasn’t stoned (I don’t even do that anymore), was completely in what’s left of my right mind. I just have a terrible memory at this point, which is why I write down anything I really need to remember. Apparently now I also need to start writing down things like, “Told funny story about impersonating her to Jen Mann at Friday night party. DO NOT TELL HER AGAIN.” Talk about embarrassing.

However, I will say this, I got a lot of mileage out of the How I Humiliated Myself in Front of Jen Mann story for the rest of the conference. And in another conversation, Jen mentioned that a few times she’s met people and said things like, “Great to meet you!” and they’ve said, “We’ve met before—we had lunch together last year” or something, then she feels sheepish for not remembering them. I don’t think that’s going to be my problem. I think  next year when we meet (assuming she doesn’t avoid me the way you avoid a hyper chatty semi-stalker who for all you know is a psychopath and can’t remember what they said twelve hours earlier), she’s going to say, “You’re not gonna tell me that fuckin’ story again, are you?”

She’s probably hoping I won’t even remember her. But I will. 

Because I wrote it down.


29 comments:

Cassandra said...

Ummm... you already told me that story. ;-)

Tracy said...

I knew I could count on you, Cassandra! :)

grassmonkey said...

This is my first time hearing this story and it's so uncomfortably hilarious!!This is the exact thing I normally do. I always do. I will continue to do. Am I doing it now? I feel like I'm doing it now. I had my own conversation with Jen and I kept it very short. Because I wanted to reduce the odds of me screwing everything all up. because I will. Just wait long enough.

Great post. You beat me to my BlogU recap.

Tracy said...

It was even more astonishingly uncomfortable to be on the other side of that look on her face. OMG. I think she actually asked me if I was drunk, or maybe my brain went, "OMG SHE'S TOTALLY GOING TO THINK I WAS DRUNK." Either way, it was clearly one of my finer moments.

Aussa Lorens said...

Ahhh hahahaha how did I NOT hear this story until just now?

Tracy said...

I don't know because if I came across anyone who was even remotely conscious, I told them about it. I think I even told the squirrel as he was lying there dying, because he was a captive audience.

Jocelyn Jane Cox said...

ha ha! So funny. Yup pretty much all of my interactions with people this weekend were awkward, but that was really just to stay with the awkward middle school theme... nonetheless it was great to meet you in person. And thank you again for your nudge nudge. My smooth moves w Jenn Mann? I sheepishly asked for her autograph.

The Shitastrophy said...

Man you were having quite a memory issue on Friday ;)

Linda Roy said...

Yep. Told me this story. And I laughed. I'm still laughing. Oy. Between this story and me telling Jen to "hit me up" for a flask of moonshine, we're golden for 2016!

Tracy said...

She's going to be like, "Clearly Tracy and Linda were smoking the same thing..." I guess birds of a feather really do flock together!

Jana said...

I was too socially awkward to introduce myself to Jen. However, now that you mentioned that she sometimes forgets meeting people, I will totally talk to her next year and pretend that we met and had a conversation this year.

PS - I'm so damn gullible that if you had told me that you were Jen, I would have been all gushy and school girl excited -- because I totally would have believed you. And then for the rest of the conference, I would be calling you Jen -- even after you had admitted that you were Tracy -- because my brain can only grasp and retain a limited amount of information.

Tracy said...

Jana, she is very nice and approachable. I'm sure she thinks I'm a complete freak because it's not enough that I practically stalked her at the conference and now I wrote this.

Stacey OneFunnyMotha said...

Too funny. I may be the only one you didn't tell that story to - not even once. I'm pretty sure next year Jen will say “You’re not gonna tell me that fuckin’ story again, are you?”

Tracy said...

Don't worry, next year I'll tell it to you three times to make up for it. And I'm pretty sure that's what she's going to say! And I can't blame her :)

kdcol said...

I tend to get all flustered in front of people I admire, celebrity type or not. So your story makes me feel a little better about my own feelings of awkwardness. Thank you for that. :-)

Tracy said...

What's funny is I wasn't really nervous because she's so very easygoing. She's friendly and puts you immediately at ease. I'm just a stupid forgetful cow.

Quirky Chrissy said...

OMG. I legit LOLed, and I don't think Brian was too pleased with me!

Tracy said...

I'm glad you my endless social awkwardness gave you pleasure ;) Great to meet you!!

Susanne/The Dusty Parachute said...

Okay, now I'm feeling guilty because I was the one chatting her up all Thursday night at the hotel. :) I love your story - I do that kind of thing all the time and start most of my stories now with, "Stop me if I've already told you this...."

Tracy said...

Oh no, Susanne! Don't feel bad! I had a wonderful time talking to everyone. I didn't go down there thinking, "Oh goody goody, this is when Jen Mann and I will become besties and share all our deepest secrets and forge a deep and enduring bond that we will cherish for all eternity!" I was just going down for a drink with the crowd to meet a few folks before everything started. If I'd gotten to meet Jen, that would have been a nice bonus. So don't feel guilty. Especially since I did get to meet her that night. :)

Liz said...

You are too funny! I did something similar to Meredith Spidel from Mom of the Year. She checked me in, then I went to dinner a while later, found myself sitting next to a person with wet hair and introduced myself. She said, I checked you in; it's just that I washed my hair. Whoops! We need to have a competition in quantity and quality over who was more mortified by their own behavior this weekend.

Tracy said...

I probably introduced my self three times to at least twelve people. The thing is, I DO this--seven years ago when I started this job, I introduced myself to the same guy three times in the first three meetings we were in together. Finally after the fourth introduction ("Hi, I'm Tracy!") he said, "Tracy, we've meet THREE times." I never forgot him again!

uncustomary said...

Hahahahhaha, this is so good. I love it so much. You should have just played it off and been like "Yeah. I heard that Jen Mann tells stories over and over. I'm just in character." It's so good. Anyway, I'm so glad you came and I hope to see you next year!

Uncustomary Art.

Tracy said...

Ha! That would have been excellent! Well, unless something untoward happens, you will! It was so useful and so much fun!

Throat Punch said...

Ahhh man, I promise I'm not a dick. I just had to tell you. It was too funny not too and deep down I knew it would be great blog fodder for you. I'm a giver. Wait until I introduce myself to you next year because you've changed your hair slightly and I don't recognize you anymore and you say, "I'm in your anthology, bitch!"

Tara @ Don't Lick the Deck said...

Haha - I was the one hogging her on Thursday night...well actually I wedged myself into her conversation with Dusty Parachute and trapped them both in the corner of the sectional couch. Sorry! I'll teach you how to trap people next year and you can teach me how to get into books ;)

Tracy said...

Jen - It was embarrassing, but since mine is a lifetime of awkward, I'm used to it. If I didn't laugh at myself, I'd be standing there watching everyone laughing at me. And I appreciate the material. We can all use more of that. It's all good. And don't worry. I'll just walk up to you and say, "Hey, Jen, can I tell you something funny?" and then tell you the story about how I impersonated you last year. In my blogger group, I won "Most Likely to Tell Jen Mann the Same Story from Last Year" award! I have to live up to it!

Tara - it's a deal :)

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms said...

I had not heard this story, BUT I WAS THERE FOR THE SQUIRREL! Now the bugger squirrel buddy that pushed the squirrel that hit your car was a psychopath. Remember how it came and visited the body?? Ellen

Tracy said...

I know, Ellen! I was so grateful you and Kerry were there. So awful! A murder--right in front of our very eyes!!