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Silver Spring Snafu

Adventures in BookCrossing Event Planning
by Melydia
October 14, 2010
One of my unofficial duties in BC in DC (the BookCrossers of greater Washington, DC, USA) is to plan the monthly meeting for the group. I'm not sure how this happened, but I can't say I mind. After all, I absolutely adore hanging out with other BookCrossers.

Planning meets for this group can be a little tricky. We're spread out across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, so we try to vary the location so no one has to travel far every single time. Due to Washington's notorious traffic, I usually make some effort to pick a place near a Metro (subway) station. Choosing a location can also be difficult because we want a place with adequate seating but not a nice sit-down place that doesn't accommodate stragglers showing up hours after the meeting starts. Thus, we usually end up at reliable chain cafes such as Panera Bread, La Madeleine, or Cosi.

In July we were due for another Maryland location, so I went exploring on Google Maps until I found a place in Silver Spring called the 'Tis Cafe. The prices were reasonable and there was a good variety of food available (our dietary needs as a group are complex, to say the least). I posted a suggested date and time (1:00 PM on Saturday, 17 July) to the group; there were no complaints, so we went with it. This is generally how a place is picked: I make a suggestion, and if no one asks for something different, it becomes the plan for that month.

I was running late that morning. I woke up plenty early, but ended up taking an unexpectedly long nap so I was still getting dressed at about 12:30 when I got a call from mdm139, who was carpooling with authorauthor. "We just got here. It looks like no one checked the hours for the 'Tis Cafe - it's not open on Saturdays!"

Well...poop. She said there was a Caribou Coffee across the street but she wasn't sure if it had food. I told her to go ahead and scope it out. A few minutes later I was on the road myself.

I was just getting on the interstate (I live nowhere near a Metro station) when mdm139 called again. They had moved to Mama Lucia, an Italian restaurant near 'Tis Cafe. I suggested they put a note there with directions to the new location, but mdm139 made the excellent point about it being private property. So I suggested she put a note on a book and leave it out front.

Well, they did more than that. Authorauthor and mdm139 not only put a note on one book, they left a trail of books from the 'Tis Cafe to Mama Lucia. And it worked. Squeakychu, florafloraflora, nat4lee, and even DC newcomer littlewhitebird made it without any problem, and there were no frantic emails to the group from anyone wondering where we'd gone.

The meeting went well, with plenty of discussion about the current auction and upcoming conventions. At the end, we all enjoyed a round of delicious gelatto.

I was saved by BookCrosser ingenuity. Next time, I'll check the hours a little more closely.

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