Friday night, Son and I, along with what appeared to be a large percentage of the Utah population, made the pilgrimage to the bookstore for the release of the last Harry Potter book. I think I first realized that I had seriously underestimated the rabid nature, not to mention the sheer numbers of the fans in the county when we arrived and saw the line snaking from the front door, down the street and around the corner.
We arrived early, but not as early as those more dedicated than we. For example, I was not dedicated enough to show up with a sleeping bag, snacks and two gallons of drinking water. (Some might question the wisdom of bringing gallons of drinking water or bucket sized mugs of Diet Coke to a place where leaving to use the facilities could jeopardize one's place in line, but onward.)
Son took it in stride, I think. "Mom! We are NEVER EVER EVER GOING TO GET A BOOK! We will be here FOREVER!"
I thought he was exaggerating. Not by much, however. I was more than a bit concerned myself. You see, I don't really like lines. Mostly because lines very frequently involve people and people? Well, sometimes they bump into each other. This is a problem for me because, well, you know how most people require some degree of personal space? I kind of like having a bit more space than most people. In fact I'm most comfortable with, oh say, twelve feet in every direction. I know. I need help.
Anyhoo, I spent the next ten minutes reminding myself that having a panic attack would likely interfere with all the fun I was supposed to be having, especially if I passed out, hit my head on the sidewalk and not only embarrassed Son for life (which would have made it all worth it, really) but had to call Hubs to drive me home; Hubs who is still questioning my sanity in even going in the first place, because first, he has NO SENSE OF FUN and secondly, because, well, he knows how I feel about crowds. Still, I tried to be brave for Son's sake and pressed on.
Son and I kept each other entertained by asking each other Harry Potter trivia questions, which was kind of interesting because the questions he was asking were very detailed and difficult and I have a sneaking suspicion that some of them were based on other stories entirely. That is, unless I missed the chapter where Harry and Ron build a raft and sail it down the Mississippi River shortly before encountering Indian Joe in the Cupboard of the Temple of Doom.
Finally, the doors opened and the line started creeping forward. And then it happened--my own personal miracle. The nice lady (and yes, I know she was nice because she was dressed like Professor McGonagall) announced that everyone who had pre-ordered could just come into the store without waiting in line! And? I had PRE-ORDERED! So, feeling very much like Paris Hilton's parents on visiting day at the jail, Son and I breezed right past everyone who was in front of us and into the store where we were able to partake of the lovely refreshments provided. (Ho Ho's! Yummy AND the chocolate sticks to your teeth so you look like a mountain troll, which at most other times is somewhat embarrassing, but for this event? Awesome!)
And then? THEN! As Son and I were loitering casually near the registers we heard an announcement: "All pre-order customers please form a line by the middle register." And guess where we were? RIGHT NEXT TO THE MIDDLE REGISTER! There were two, TWO people in front of us. The clerk hovered over the box, box cutter in hand as everyone counted down the remaining seconds. And then it happened. The box was open and within seconds the first book was out of the box. Then the second book and then the third book, OUR BOOK was out of the box and in our hands.
I couldn't help noticing that Son was carrying the book in such a manner that ensured all could admire it as we made our way through the crowd. You know. So people could see that he was by far the coolest person in the whole store. Or at least the third coolest person.
Son started reading the book aloud by the light of my IPod on the drive home. (Yes, I'm still hearing about how foolish I was to dismiss his suggestion that we take a flashlight. Sigh.)
It took us a little over eight hours to finish the book. I was right about some things, wrong about others. I was happy with most of it and disappointed by very little. (And no, I'm not going to spoil anything here.) But mostly, when I put the book down I was overcome by that sensation I always had as a kid when I would scarf down my ice cream so fast I barely tasted it: (What? If you knew my brothers you, too, would learn to scarf it before they got to it.)
I was glad I finally got what I wanted, but I'm very sad that now it's all gone.