Part 1: beforeThe ever-excellent Rhonda was ill, so she couldn't make it, although the equally excellent Howard did. Unfortunately, I was stupid enough to talk about this on my cell phone in front of the theatre. A few people tried to buy the spare ticket off me, and one woman was especially insistent, so I gave in. I should know better. A security guard appeared out of nowhere and said I wasn't allowed to scalp. I said I wasn't scalping, I only had the spare because my friend was sick (I should know better; some people can do these things, but I am not one of them). The guard explained that even if I did sell the ticket to the woman, she wouldn't be allowed in the theatre, because she was banned from the event. He knew her name, and that settled it for me.
I don't want to get into a lot of details about what happened next — confessing my own foolishness on the internet is one thing, but telling about someone else's is something else again. Let's just say that I get very uncomfortable when a stranger grabs my arm and starts pleading with me over something that an authority figure has put beyond my control. Howard and I had to escape into the theatre before the woman would go away.
Part 2: duringSomewhere on the internet, someone will do a much better job of telling about the "Evening with Neil Gaiman" than I ever will. Probably it will be Neil Gaiman himself. Mark Askwith did a lovely and witty job of moderating — perfect choice.
I will say that I was very glad I went.
Biggest take-away: Gaiman and Askwith both claimed that Askwith's wife always says "all men are idiots; all women are crazy." Amen.
Part 3: afterNeither Howard nor I collect autographs, so we left via a side exit a thoughtful theatre staff member opened for those who didn't want to join the very long queue in the lobby for the book-signings. We walked up Yonge Street and had a wonderful, peaceful, uninterrupted conversation.
Conclusion: sometimes fate pushes you over the edge. Sometimes it holds you back from it. And sometimes it dangles you by the neck of your shirt for a few moments before hoisting you back to safety.