Friday, August 1, 2008

Dumb things I've done in public this week...

I'm not socially awkward. I just act like I am 90% of the time. Take the last two days, for example. I have been wandering among the ranks of dozens of New York Times bestselling authors and hundreds of wannabes---like me. Much like lipstick on a pig, I packed my cutest clothes, hottest shoes, coolest accessories, and MAC lip gloss. Lots of lip gloss. These things don't necessarily help but they make me feel better because I get to pretend like they do.

So I'm tottering around on red and white three inch stilettos (a gift from my husband on my birthday but I'm thinking they might have been a gift for him), and feeling pretty sassy. Then I got an itch. An itch located in an incovenient spot under my classy white cotton sheen jacket, just above my shoulder blade and below my shoulder. My designated itch scratchers, Kenny my Super Hot Boyfriend (actually, he's my husband but this whole post feels like a single career girl chick lit set up) and my eight year old son (okay, maybe not chick lit) are three subway stops away from being helpful with this minor irritation.

However, I am a good problem solver (I have job evaluations that say so, but I worked retail for a long time and most personnel issues were easily resolved with chocolate) so I came up with a fix. I reached into my big black patent leather bag, groped around the bottom, and came up with a fistful of pens. (I can't really model a chick lit heroine on myself anyway because they wouldn't hog free pens like I do: construction companies, bbq joints, banks...I'm not a snob). So there's the first tip off that I'm a dork. This is a three day conference. Even I can't lose twelve pens in three days. But I sorted through my fistful of Bic treasure and found the right tool for the itch. It was a broad, flat pen about an inch in width, tipped with a pink highlighter at one end. Good. More surface area to scratch with.

As I stood in line waiting to be admitted into the giant ballroom for lunch, I wiggled the pen under the collar of my blazer and scratched as contentedly as a dog going for the sweet spot right behind its ear. Success. After some vigorous itch therapy, I went to return the pen to my purse and discovered that the cap had come off. The cap on the side I was scratching with. In fact, my fingers were covered in pink highlighter now. There's dork tip off #2.

I said a swear word. Not a bad one, but I said it.

Then the line started moving and I scurried into a ballroom full of two thousand people I didn't know to find a seat. Food will always trump a pen crisis. I settled at a table full of women my age who struck up conversation with me. They were cool, all published except for one, in a bunch of different genres. I tried (screw up #3) to demonstrate my literary savvy by nodding like I had the faintest idea of what they were talking about, but I'm sure they all suspected I was Not One of Them when I reached for the butter and dragged my suit cuff through the salad dressing. (That's #4). I was saved from myself when the keynote speaker started in on her hilarious (no irony, she was totally funny) remarks. I excused myself about halfway through for a bathroom run and even navigated the perimeter of the ballroom so as not to draw undo attention to myself by wading through dozens of tables in a direct route to the door.

I was feeling pretty smart about that little stroke of mannerly genius when I arrived in the restroom and discovered that not only did I have pink highlighter all over my fingers, but I had it all over my white suit collar, my neck and my shirt. Number 5.

I wish I could shrug and say, "That's how I roll."

I wish I could say it rolled right off my back.

Instead, I slunk back to my table, hunched so as to hide the unsightly Glo-Brite tattoo on my neck and shoulder, and then proceeded to eat a roll that I had to tug on so hard to actually get a piece off, I overcompensated and my hand jerked and knocked over my water. Number 6.

And that was just yesterday. I still have four more chances to figure out what's going to come out in the top spot of my top ten list of stupid stuff I did in public, and a whole day to do it in. Although, a betting woman would place odds on the highlighter fiasco. I really don't want to top that.


Janette Rallison said...

But just think about how good all those experiences are going to sound once you put them in your novel.

And trust me, I'm published and can't go very many days without humiliating myself somehow. You're just one of us and you haven't realized it yet.

Kimberly said...

I knew there was something I liked about you.

I'm more the come home at the end, look in the mirror and realize I have a piece of dried snot on my cheek type.

I'm not inventing...that actually happened.

Annette Lyon said...

This is priceless! Hope you don't mind that I laughed my head off. Like Janette said, totally use it in a book sometime.

Ryan said...

I laughed. That was hilarious . . . I mean, in a "haha, I'm laughing with you, sort-of-way." Seriously, if only we could catch these things on video, you would be a youtube sensation overnight.

Don said...

Well shared. Being able to laugh at yourself, and share stories like this so the rest of us can laugh, is a skill that will take you far.

Elizabeth said...

oooo-oooo-oooo! i know this post is old but i had to read it when it was labeled "writer's conf"...I LOVE writer's confs. i've only been to 1 and it was so much fun...learned so much...great insight...had an agent 1-1 mtg. even though it wasn't a total success it was a great experience.

LOVE that you were hobnobbing w/ so many, i really want to go to another conf. are you going again? where? when? i'm really not a stalker!

Jacqui said...

I'm a new reader trying to connect with other wannabe writers, and am rolling with laughter at my dining room table. This is too darn funny. I love your candidness! And I love how you finished off the night with a wet table cloth, pink collar and oil-stained sleeve, but still could be so snarky about it all!