New York Stories #1: Encounter at Comic Con

It’s both my first New York Comic-Con– surprisingly lacking in truly special costume sightings, suffering from a glut of Deadpools and Rick Sanchezes– and my first day at a new job, working at a booth on behalf of the local bookstore that just hired me. After a few hours, my manager asks me to come help out in a different building nearby, where the adjacent BookCon was winding down. I’d also been in this building last night, at a release party for an anthology, published by Hachette, to which I had contributed.

A security person takes me to a special, sectioned-off area with another author. I tell the author I’m Nate, still assuming things are going according to plan but dreading my employer might have set me up to entertain some author I knew nothing about without telling me. The author seems like she was expecting me, then realizes something.

“You’re not Nathan Hill,” the author says.

Lady, you’re tellin’ me!

I realize this is all a misunderstanding and find my manager. I spend a couple hours breaking down boxes with an unfamiliar staff and no knowledge of their closing procedures. Last night I had been an author in this building; today I am cleaning up in it. As I’m getting paid out, right next to that special author area, I can hear a voice I’m familiar with from listening to hours of his podcast: that of humorist John Hodgman, disembodied to me now in the same room as it always is in my earbuds.

I leave but forget my tote bag, and on my way back up I encounter Mr. Hodgman at the elevator doors and tell him I’m a huge fan.

“How do you do,” he says. “I’m John.”