When PAYA's organizer, Skyanne, first asked me if I was coming to this year's festival, I think I told her, "I'll be there, barring a natural disaster." You know, natural disasters, like earthquakes and hurricanes. That happen in places like California and Florida. Not Pennsylvania. Because when was the last time you heard the word "natural disaster" and "Pennsylvania" together in a sentence? In PA, a natural disaster is a herd of deer eating your prized petunias.
So, there was this:
I do not remember Skyanne inviting some chick named Irene to PAYA, but there she was, in all her soggy, stormy glory, wanting a copy of Witch Eyes before it was out in stores.
So my best bud Aine and I were like this:
To go or not to go? Stay at home or risk a hurricane? Heck yeah, we braved the wrath of Mother Nature for books. Is your signing in the crater of an active volcano? In the middle of a blizzard on K2? We're there.
False bravado aside, I don't mess with storms. I've been through 4-5 hurricanes in my life (all Category 2 or less) and I know how dangerous they can be. Aine and I didn't make a final decision on whether or not to go until the morning of the festival. We checked the weather forecasts, carefully reviewed our travel routes, and came up with a couple of back-up plans in case the storm picked up strength faster than predicted. Thanks to Aine's iPad, we were able to transform her car into a mobile weather center. While she drove, I followed the track of the hurricane on the Doppler radar and via a variety of weather sites. We always had a good sense of where the storm was and what it was up to.
It's about a 3-hour trip to West Chester, PA, where PAYA was being held. With many thanks to the Weather Gods, we got there pretty much on time, and with hardly a single drop of rain. Of course we knew the trip back would be the tough part.
PS-I'd like to note that this year, I woke up before Aine. Woohoo! Carlton dance!
Next: The PAYA Saga continues with Part 2: The Turtle Is Mine.