No seriously…I am a walking, taking public service announcement for how not to do something. These are tales of writing excursions gone very, very wrong.
For example, there’s the time I was at one of the last Autumn Authors conferences near Chicago and for some reason Jen Armintrout and I were in a hotel elevator singing songs from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The elevator doors slid open while we were mid-verse (complete with hand motions) and who’s standing there but one of the conference guests – an editor who had my manuscript and who Jen had to pitch to later in the day. He looked at us with an expression of absolute horror, put his hands up as though we were about to attack him, took a giant step back and said, “I’ll…uh…I’ll just wait for the next one.” Yes indeed, Jen and I know how to impress. Please note…he did not buy my manuscript. Or Jen's. He did however purchase the book of the only non-singing occupant of the elevator. Coincidence? Perhaps. Nah…probably not.
Then there was the time I took a ten week long Citizens Police Academy course for research. Totally fascinating…and also very, very awkward. You see, about ten years ago, one of my brothers was a dumbass. Said brother had a dumbass girlfriend. One night, dumbass brother and dumbass girlfriend very stupidly got drunk and dumbass girlfriend decided to drive with the lights off – you know…so as to be inconspicuous. (She was a clever one, that girl.) Long story short, they got pulled over (right near my house where they apparently thought they could hide out – did I mention the dumbass part?) and then the fun started. Dumbass girlfriend was arrested for drunk driving and being a minor. She was cuffed and put in a state police cruiser while the cop talked to dumbass brother – who was free to go if he could get a ride. Only dumbass girlfriend slips her cuffs, climbs over the backseat and steals the police car. Dumbass brother laughs and says, “Dude, she’s stealing your car.” Bad things happen – girl totals several cars and her tires eventually get shot out, both dumbasses go to jail and the dashboard camera catches it all. You can see an abbreviated version here. In fact, you can even see my house go by too – and believe it or not, we slept through the whole thing.
Fast forward to me sitting in cop class with some friends and it’s time to learn about traffic stops. Out comes the non-abbreviated video, because you see, dumbass brother and dumbass girlfriend have become a cautionary tale of their own. This footage is shown to all police academy recruits as a learning tool - not to mention around the country on those cop car chase shows. So I’m watching this thing and my friend says to the class, “Hey! That’s Bronwyn’s brother.” Much hilarity and awkwardness ensued. I’m pleased to report dumbass brother is no longer a dumbass and no longer dating dumbass girlfriend. Actually, it pretty much ended that night. The cop I went on a ride along with at the culmination of my class made sure I got to meet the cop who shot out the tires of the car dumbass girlfriend stole. More awkwardness.
And lastly there’s my tale of subway drama. Brynn and I were in NYC at the RWA National Conference in 2004. We'd gone out to dinner with some chapter members and some of the women said they wanted to ride the subway, but were afraid to do it on their own. So Brynn, her dh and I, who'd been riding the trains all week, went with her and decided to ride the F train since it was on the way back to our hotel. That's when things started to go awry.
There were these handy automated ticket machines. Put in two bucks and it would spit out a ticket, then you went to the turnstile slipped the ticket into the reader, the machine clicked and you pushed open the turnstile...at least that's how it's supposed to work.
Unfortunately, it was a full body turnstile instead of the waist ones I was used to. Having used my last two dollars, I stood in line behind my friends and waited my turn. I fed the machine my ticket and tried to walk through. It didn't work. Brynn patiently stood on the other side of the turnstile and passed me two dollars and told me to get another ticket...so I did. Same thing. Brynn, slightly less patiently, handed me another two dollars. Same thing. By now, I've got about 20 New Yorkers standing behind me trying to give me advice on how to get through.
"Just go real, slow, girl and then push - real slow...then push."
"Okay, what ya hafta to do is push and walk, push and walk."
"You can do it, girl. You can do it."
I think we went through this scenario two more times. I'm laughing so hard at this point I've got tears rolling down my face and I can hardly stand up. There was a little old woman who kept asking Brynn if her friend was okay - as though I was some sort of escapee from a mental hospital.
Brynn sent me back for one more ticket wearing the expression she usually saves for her errant children. The very nice people in line let me through again and I fed the ticket into the machine. Before I could touch the gate, Brynn finally said, "Don't. Touch. Anything. Just. Walk." She then proceeded to pull the gate toward her and of course I can walk right through.
We got through in time to make the train where many of the poor souls who had been standing behind me were already seated. When I entered
the car, several of the people clapped and cheered. One guy yelled like, "You GO girl. I knew you could do it. I just knew it."
I guess the message here is, if you want to point and laugh, I’m a good person to hang out with. If you’re easily embarrassed, you probably want to keep your distance – who knows what’ll happen?!