There are a few bloggers that I keep up with, but there are a couple that serve as my muses….and I’ve been trying to meet both for a while. I met Vitamin Q a couple of months ago (difficult not because he’s local but because he’s reclusive), but I have yet to pin down Luvvie Ajayi. If you are one of the five people on the planet without Internet access who are not familiar with the creator of Awesomely Luvvie and Awesomely Techie, she is also the author of the upcoming release I’m Judging You, and the Mistress of Side Eye. Since Luvvie is based in Chicago and jetting off to some gorgeous locale or other every few days, my chances of running into her are slim and slimmer. Then last year, McDonald’s tapped her to be their 365Black Ambassador for last year’s Essence Festival here in my hometown….
A chance to meet Luvvie.
For free. FA-REE.
Universe, you have my attention.
Since she was basically posting her every move under the McDonald’s banner on every social media channel imaginable, I at least had a general idea of where to find her. And, since I was going early for the workout session anyway, I figured I’d have plenty of time to meet her before I had to leave to get ready for work. Yeah….I kinda forgot about the concept of New Orleans time–where a scheduled time can be anything from 10 to 45 minutes after what’s listed. But I’m a determined soldier, so I wait like the awkward, antisocial stalker I’m sure I looked like, scanning my quickly dying phone for updates and Luvvie sightings until my personal window of time closes. I leave disappointed into the oppressive summer heat and head back to my car, upon which I plug in my phone and find this tweet as soon as I get in:
Damn you, fate!
So, fast forward to this year where I’m again going for the fitness session (wanted to ask Shaun T. in person at what point he lost his mind), when Luvvie takes to social media with this nugget:
As I’m researching and plotting, I get a notification that nearly rendered me unconscious:
Oh HELLS YEAH I’m going!
Well, this year I had ALL DAY, and only one other presentation I really wanted to see, so I figured between my friend and I we could track her down, make my life, and still have time to see Misty Copeland and Oprah Winfrey. I was even prepared technologically, as I had my wall charger and a fully charged power bank to keep tabs in the communications black hole that is the Convention Center. (Special props to sponsors like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s for having charging stations set up for visitor use–that gave me a few extra minutes.)
Missed her again. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. She had just finished taping a presentation (according to her Instagram), so at least I knew what she was wearing. Saw a couple of seminars that fit her MO but conflicted with other things (it’s very small comfort that I missed Todrick Hall, too). I walked by one of those stages going back to wait for Misty, and my friend and I took tag team seat breaks to stretch legs, charge phones and take care of other necessaries. But, as it happens, I fell victim to that New Orleans Time scheduling again, and as seats were filling up four seminars early for Oprah, I was kind of captive where I was. But I thought at the very least, if there’s one place I might stand a chance of spotting her, it was in the same room with Oprah. I grossly underestimated exactly how many people were willing to smash themselves into a ballroom just to see Oprah’s first appearance at Essence Fest. I’m lucky I saw my friend, and he was sitting right next to me. Looked for her after amongst the rest of the celebrities but no luck. And by the time Oprah finished, building security was herding everyone towards the nearest exit, and as my friend managed to score a free ticket to the concert that night, I had to get him home post haste.
Upon stalking social media after I got home, that cruel butch named Irony dealt me a couple of blows–first, Luvvie DID have a presentation in the grand room at the very stage I’d intended to stop and wait at earlier. Second, apparently one of those stretch breaks my friend took turned into a walkabout that found him a couple of celebrities and took him past that very stage. And the cruelest of all, Luvvie was in the Superlounges with the artists I’d have gone to see had I had a ticket….and less social anxiety.
A family obligation kept me from renewing the search on Sunday, and an early Monday morning flight crushed the last of my hopes. I probably would have babbled like an idiot anyway…still, the fact that I’ve come thisclose TWICE and come up empty is just frustrating.
Oh well…..at least there’s a book tour coming. And we friends now, so we go together for LIFE.