A weekend in Decatur…

We drove up to Decatur, Georgia, on Friday and settled into a Holiday Inn Express only to have our fears confirmed–they’d switched from waffles to pancakes. All along the drive we saw billboards advertising hotel breakfasts and they were all for waffles! Except Holiday Inn Express who seems to think a pancake machine is what travelers want.

My husband may never recover.

You see, the pancakes come out of the pancake machine decidedly flattened and rubbery, not fluffy and soft as they should be.

Bring back the waffle maker, Holiday Inn!

Anyway, we were up in Decatur for the fabulous Decatur Book Festival held every year on Labor Day weekend. Every morning the festival is opened with a parade (a dude drumming with kids and other festival goers following him around the streets). There’s music and food and celebrity authors and booths galore.

All the usual suspects were there, including yours truly with Wayward Cat Publishing. We did brisk sales on Saturday, not so brisk but satisfying sales on Sunday, and returned home with an aching back and a bruised brain. (Introvert exhaustion.)

Next door, however, was a new booth: Dianetics. We thought it was funny that they called the booth Dianetics instead of Scientology. But, as Dianetics is a book, after a fashion, and it was a book festival, we’ll cut them some slack.

And yet, the main draw to their booth, and the thing they were standing out in front of it trying to engage people with, was the infamous e-meter!

Hubs kept trying to get me to go next door and work Leah Remini’s name into conversation. But I’m just not that person. In person, anyway. In writing, well, that’s an entirely different story (and one might say, an entirely different Dianna).

So, here’s a shout out to my weekend neighbors: LEAH REMINI!

Seriously, though, I hope I didn’t get anyone into trouble. There was a dude there who was clearly in charge and he was having some “words” with one of the women tending the booth. And after we left and said good-bye to our new friends, I overheard him asking if she’d “tested” us (I think that was the word he used, but I’m not sure). She said, “No, but I…” and that was all I heard.

Religion just isn’t our thing. Cults, either.

There were plenty of passersby rolling their eyes and laughing at the e-metering. But they had plenty of people in the chairs having their stress levels tested. (That’s what they said they were doing–stress testing.) One woman laughed as they tested her son, leaned over to our booth and said, “What stress could he have? He’s eight.” Another man stood outside their booth and called them out on talking to kids without their parents present.

And one woman was at our booth trying to browse books but was so upset about what was happening next door she could barely contain herself. “I want to go rescue them!” she said of the testees.

I was handed a Quran as I passed by the Islam booth. (I swear this was not a religious festival. Just a little religion, that’s all.) And I opened my shiny new Quran and read all about how people who don’t believe in the god of Islam are sick in their hearts, liars, corrupt, fools, evil, completely in the dark, deaf, dumb, blind and will suffer painful punishment. (Right up front with the nonbeliever bashing!)

So now I need to find some use for this book, because it’s clearly not for me. Not. For. Me.

That’s the problem with handing stuff out to people whether they’re interested or not. What you’ve given them is almost certainly going to end up in the trash. They didn’t want it. They took it because they are polite.

Same thing with the hard sell. Most of the booths were like mine: people behind the table, more than happy to talk with you about their products if you’re interested. Come on by and browse.

But there are those few booths where the sellers are standing out front, trying to get your attention, they might even touch you! Pull you over and try to sell you something. They might sell something. And they might sell it to someone who actually wanted it. But the hard sell can backfire. Imagine being pressured into buying a book, getting it home and finding you don’t really like it!

Reading is a private thing–a personal endeavor. The hard sell just doesn’t make sense. Not only is it degrading and pushy, it blocks traffic!

Still, it was a fabulous festival, as usual. Lots of happy readers and book lovers.

I ventured outside our booth as often as possible with my camera and offer you some interesting sights around downtown Decatur. It occurs to me that I didn’t take any pictures of the actual festival. It’s pretty clear from my photos what draws me, isn’t it?

I found two small doors, for very small creatures, and suspect there are more about the downtown area. They were only about eight inches tall, so I imagine whatever lives there stayed inside to avoid being trampled during the festivities.

On Saturday evening, we had dinner at Raging Burrito. The burrito was huge! I could only eat about half of it. But it was very good. We got to visit with our oldest son and his wife. It must be awesome to live in the Atlanta area, with all its goings on all the time. DragonCon was happening that weekend as well.

At the festival, I spied a t-shirt that said, “Decatur: A Drinking Town with a Festival Problem.”

Sounds like a fabulous place to live!

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