Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to Be at AWP

One human alone has the capacity to be slightly-to-medium gross and make a small-to-medium mess (unless they're really trying). If you multiply that by thousands, we have the capacity to be very gross and make a huge mess without any intention of doing so. I saw this happen at AWP in Chicago last year, so what follows is a brief and basic guide to doing what you do at AWP in Boston without making extra work for the people who work in the spaces you're using. 

If you're sleeping in a hotel, leave a tip for the person who will clean your room. $2 per day per bed, at the end of your stay, seems to be the standard. (There are also guidelines at that link for how to leave the money so that it will be clear it's for that person.)

If you use the bathrooms in the hotel or convention center, and you get pee on the seat, wipe it off.  If you use tampons, don't flush them. Get your paper towels, if any, all the way into the garbage.

If you're working a book fair table, walk your trash to the garbage can -- don't leave it underneath.

If you currently work a "hospitality" or "service" job, or once did, act the way you wish customers would act. If you need something from someone who works in the hotel, ask politely. If you take a cab, tip the driver. If you buy food or drink, be civil to the person who hands it to you.

At an event like this, you're not acting in isolation; if you do something mildly repulsive or disrespectful, you will be part of a huge wave of increased difficulty for people who have very hard jobs. Interactions between a customer and a service worker, especially in a fast-moving and high-stress situation, often bring out the worst in the customer. I've been the customer/asshole in that situation and I don't want to be again, so this reminder is also for me.

I know there are many people for whom this reminder is unnecessary. But I also know that when we're tired, jet-lagged, overstimulated, anxious and/or hungover, we are not at our best, and if we have any latent racism and or/class prejudice and/or entitlement and/or plain spitefulness, that's when we let it show.

Make an effort, while you're at AWP, not to make anyone's day harder than it already is.

1 comment:

  1. There's a slow burn to this post. I'm still thinking about it, referring to it, quoting and citing it.