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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Houston, we have a problem. And it’s all our own fault.

Okay.  So the previous posts were about conference advice, right?  Well here’s a quiz question: What is the number one article of clothing you should bring to any and every conference.  If you answered “comfortable shoes” you get a lolly.

Today’s Theme Is: Not taking your own advice.

Pre-conference there are many things to do so I scouted locations, saw the city, and even stopped by the American Museum of History to note their pop-up book exhibit.  Here’s a sample of what I saw:

Caption reads: The French philosopher, mathematician and scientist Rene Descartes (1596-1650) used intricate flap mechanisms to take his readers inside the human heart.”

(I came this close to naming this post “Pat hurls himself at the maniac Weasel.”)

Pertinent, no?  I had every intention of making my way to the Library of Congress as well to see their new children’s center too.  But what’s the rush?  It’s only Friday and my bus doesn’t take off until Monday.  There’s plenty of time to see that room and also do ALA correctly, right?

Funny thing about the weather right now.  It’s hot.  Hot and humid with a sun that simply won’t let up.  Resident husband and I are traversing the Washington Mall when we see that the reflecting pool that faces Congress is completely dry.  Symbolic gesture or too obvious allegory?  You be the judge.  We want to get to Congress.  The empty pool is in the way.

If this were a silent film I would expect you all to be shouting out something along the lines of, “NO!  Don’t!  Are you out of your friggin’ mind?”

Because, faithful readers, I am wearing nice wedge sandals.  I love these shoes.  They are Aerosoles.  They give comfort and look pretty.  One could walk a whole conference in them.  One was intending to until one decided that the best way to traverse the reflecting pool was to hop into it.

Hop would be one word for it.  Fall poorly onto the right ankle might be another.

So now I am laid up, in a sense.  My foot is bound, crutches are at my bedside, and my ankle is sprained.  But do we give up?  NO!  We will be on that conference floor tomorrow, you betcha.  You just see if I’m not.

P.S. The great irony is that I made a kind of How to Attend an ALA Conference video a year or two ago that even makes a joke about this very thing.  Note the shoe I hold up.  Note the shoes on my feet too.  They’re the same suckers I wore today.  Live and learn.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Ouch! So sorry to hear about the ankle sprain, Betsy. Don’t over-do it while crutching around the convention tomorrow.

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read you’d hurt yourself is that, in a parallel universe, I would’ve been in DC right now (failed family trip; the boy half of the family is there now), I would’ve been at the reflecting pool, I would’ve noticed you before you hopped into said pool, and I would’ve run up to you to introduce myself and then we would’ve become best friends because I saved you from a sprained ankle. OK, that sounded very strange and kinda stalker-ish. My apologies. I guess I’m a bit tired and my brain is frazzled. Sometimes I should probably think before I type.

    Anyway, take care of yourself, rest up, and enjoy ALA as much as you can!

  2. Oh, lamb. But you DID wear comfortable shoes — you just didn’t wear hiking/leaping/hopping boots. (Ask the conference center if they have a wheelchair. Bet they have several.)

  3. oh no, but now maybe I will meet FUSE #8 on an elevator :)

  4. Oh, man!! You might fare better with a cane, crutches are so unwieldy. I am coming from home tomorrow, if I still have my cane from when I broke my big toe, I will stash it in my van. Are you attending the Harper Picture Book breakfast?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Thanks all! Fortunately I’ve my husband nearby to take care of my crushless needs. He’s off finding me sensible shoes at the moment. And Paula, I was at the Harper breakfast today, but I’m not going to any others, alas. Thanks for the offer! And Yucaree, that just sounds lovely. Not stalkerish in the least.

  5. Ow! Hope this mishap, while it certainly adds to the narrative of your ALA journey, doesn’t keep you from enjoying ALA to the fullest! (DAMN those waterless reflecting pools.)

  6. Ouch! Sorry to hear about that.
    But, this might be a good time to look into replacing that old ankle with a cool robot one! I’m just sayin’.

  7. That’s quite an impressive apparatus you’re sporting on the ankle. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  8. feel better soon, betsy’s ankle. and those really are cute shoes. (scant consolation after they TRIED TO KILL YOU, i know.)

  9. Chris VA says:

    Enjoyed meeting you and your foot briefly today, Betsy, in the ALA store. I’m not positive, but it’s just possible that if there were no signs posted by the empty reflecting pool warning visitors NOT to jump into the waterless abyss (especially with wedges on)… well you just might have a legal case and the Supreme Court just happens to be up the street a piece.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Ha ha! Nice seeing you too, Chris. And as much fun as it might be to sue the government for my $50 co-pay, I think I’ll let ’em off the hook this time. Next time I decide to attempt further bodily harm with a federal landmark, they won’t be so lucky.

  10. Oh my gosh, that looks awful! At least ALA is a GREAT, fun place to sprain your ankle. 😉


  1. […] Learned ~ Yes, with every conference you learn something new. As none other than Fuse 8 (aka Betsy Bird) will attest, comfortable practical shoes are a must. Thanks to my incomparable roommate Julia, I learned that I […]