Saturday, July 16, 2005

A new tide of HP-crazed fanatics

Today's quote: These are my sleeping socks. My feet like a little air at night.

Alright. I admit it. I was at Barnes & Nobles with the rest of the crazies last night, waiting to buy the newest Harry Potter book, because I wanted to read it too. After having a mild sense of loneliness and feeling that Iowa City was somewhat deserted over the summer, it was quite a shock to enter B&N at 11:20pm and see the masses of people crowded around, dressed in various HP dress. Literally, there was hardly any room to maneuver anywhere. So I picked up my wristband (the one for those who had reserved a copy in advance) and gaped in dismay at my number: 358. Apparently people had come as early as 6pm to get their wristbands. I cursed myself, wondering why I hadn't treated this like an opening night at the movies (where I go the day before to buy tickets, and then show up 45 minutes before the movie is due to let in to stand in line to make sure I get good seats). Whatever. I wandered around for about 20 minutes trying to find a spot on the floor somewhere in the store where I could sit. I found a corner of the store, conveniently in front of the copies of Digital Fortress, and proceeded to camp out and glare at anyone who tried to encroach on my territory.

The unveiling happened at midnight sharp, whereupon the staff told us we'd be called in groups of 50 according to the numbers on our wristbands to buy. Stupid me, I fell for it again. I am always the one who follows the rules. I stop for stoplights at 3am, even when there are no other cars on the street. I'm the one who will wait to have my seat numbers called on the airplane even if there's no one else waiting to board. It's not like I want to always abide by the rules, but it seems that the one time I try to slip by, I get reprimanded sharply at the least, or publicly yelled at and humiliated at the worst. Case in point: I got a ticket from a cop because I crossed against the Don't Walk sign, when someone else had done it about 6 feet in front of me. And the ticket was $91!!! So I actually waited an hour, and finally started to get impatient. That's when I asked a staff member how long it would be until they called the 300's, only to have her stare at me as if I was daft. She couldn't believe that I'd actually waited my turn, and told me to go get a copy. Apparently even people who hadn't reserved a copy had gotten theirs before me. It made me think of every moment I had stood in line to get waited on at a cashier's, only to have them dash away to answer a phone for another 15 minutes for a customer who hadn't even bothered to make the trip to the actual place like I did. I had a moment of feeling angry, and then shrugged. So what if I'm not totally cutthroat and ready to get what's "mine"? I finally got my copy and left. However, what came to mind was one question: why should I bother following the rules if even the people who made them don't follow them?