Monday, August 04, 2008

Counting Down

The WorldCon departure countdown clock is ticking, and I'm at the point where I have a ton to do in one day. To a large extent, I'm pretty much ready to go. I'm mostly packed and have a detailed list of the things remaining to be packed. The laundry is done. I've worked out ground transport logistics. All the shopping is done. I even have one of the projects due this week done. But on the other hand, I have one major thing that needs to be done before I leave that I had planned to do way in advance, but I'm being hampered by someone else not quite feeling the urgency of my timetable, and I can't finish this project without that input.

That brings me to a minor rant: The word "no" is your friend. And although it may not feel like it, it's also a kindness to other people. When you say no to something because you either can't or don't really want to do it, that gives the other person the chance to make other plans. When you say yes, that creates an expectation that you will actually do what you said you'll do, when you said you'll do it. If you say yes and then realize that it won't work, you should say no as soon as possible. It doesn't work to say yes, and then give a long guilt-trip moaning about how crazy your life is when you don't do it in the time you said you would and the person nags you. After all, you were the one who said yes, knowing what your life was like. It only makes matters worse when you then promise you'll get to it (in spite of being offered an "if it's too much trouble, I still have time to find someone else" out) and then don't do it. So now I'm in the position of having to quickly find an emergency source to answer a few questions and then write an entire article at the last minute, all because someone three weeks ago said yes when she really should have said no. If she'd said no then, I could have found someone else and my article would be done now. Yeah, I'd have been mildly peeved to be turned down then, but not as incandescent with rage as I am now. I'd been planning to volunteer to help with this person's efforts, and this article was a first step toward helping them get the word out, but not anymore. By the way, while this applies to just about any circumstance, it's definitely something to keep in mind when you're working with a journalist of any kind and want to get any kind of publicity. Then if you say no up front but suggest someone else who might be able to help, you can make a good press contact, while if you say yes and then don't follow through, you've made an enemy. That's media training 101 (which I used to teach to executives at multinational corporations, so I'm extremely sensitive to this). Not that I'm a regular member of the press, just an occasional magazine contributor, but I contribute to magazines directly within the target this person's cause is trying to reach.

Ah, well, while I'm waiting for my emergency back-up source to respond, I guess I can tackle everything else on my to-do list. I'm finding myself extremely paranoid about my luggage weight. I'm fairly certain the weight restrictions haven't changed, just the amount they charge you for going over (which is ridiculous), and I know I've never been over the limit with this suitcase. I'm not sure you could even go over the limit with this suitcase without filling it with bricks, and I don't think I could lift it with one hand if it was more than 50 pounds. But still, I find myself trying to weigh my suitcase on the bathroom scale, just in case. I happen to think that in all fairness, they should just assign an overall weight for each passenger, and you can make up that weight however you want to -- with your body, your checked bags and your carry-ons. Of course, I think that because I'm rather small, so I could get away with a lot of baggage. But if it's all about fuel cost, then I should get to have the same amount of weight on board the plane as an NFL linebacker if I paid the same for my ticket, even if my weight is in shoes instead of muscles. (Yeah, I know, the linebacker is probably in first class and therefore did pay more for his ticket, but I was creating a strong visual instead of using a more generic "very large man.")

I'm taking the computer with me, and if I remember to pack the camera cord (next item on the to-do list), and if I remember to actually get out the camera and take pictures, I'll try to post updates and photos throughout the week.

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