@neilhimself and geekiness and what one is willing to do about it

I guess it’s official: I’ve become a writing geek. I don’t know any other kind of person who would keep themselves awake until all hours just to nab tickets to see a writer talk.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that Neil Gaiman was going to speak at the Carnegie Music Hall at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh nine days after my birthday. My reaction involved many, many exclamation points which, I’ve learned, real writers are expected to avoid.

To add to the overuse of punctuation, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures were also going to have a post-lecture party where you could actually meet Neil and he would sign a book for you. (Oh! Get out!) The problem was, you had to buy a VIP ticket to get in, and the Music Hall isn’t all that big (1,950 seats total), and there would be a limited number of VIP tickets for sale, and they were expected to go fast, and they were $55 each.

When I explained all of this to my lovely husband, he said, “I think you need to get the VIP tickets.” And, being the lovely husband that he is, agreed to go with me and give me the tickets for my birthday! (How do you finish that sentence without using an exclamation point?)

The tickets were to go on sale at 12:01 AM, August 27. That was wonderful, except that I’m brain dead by 10 PM, and can’t remember the last time I willfully stayed awake until midnight. But it was imperative that I did.

I had the site up by 11:30 just to get a feel for what I would have to do, which in the end didn’t really help much. When my computer clock hit 12:01, I hit “Reload” on my page and went to work. I picked “Best seats available” and “2” tickets and “VIP” and clicked to go to the next page, and a little ticker up in the right-hand corner started counting down the amount of time I had to finish the sale before the tickets would go back in the pool.

No pressure or anything.

O.K. 14 minutes.

But the next page asked for my login information. That’s when the panic started to set in. I had lost my hard drive a few months ago where I used to keep a .doc file with all my user names and passwords listed. I’ve been slowly building the file back up from scratch, but I hadn’t bought tickets from Pgh Arts & Lectures since the hard drive funeral, and I had no idea what my login information used to be. I had the bright idea that I could just register a new account, and when I typed my email in and made up a new password, the site informed me that I already had an account.

13 minutes. 12 minutes.

I decided to have them reset my password, but that meant they had to email me a link to do that.

11 minutes. 10 minutes. 9 minutes.

(Yes, I was feeling the sweat, too.)

With my password reset, I double-checked my order (quickly) and gave them my credit card number.

8 minutes. Ugh!

But one final click and happy ending! The beautiful bundle arrived in the mail a few days ago:

And you see that staple up the left-hand side? That means something very special was attached to the back of the ticket.

Something very, very special.