Woot Woot! I get to attend the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop again, virtually. Looking forward to some laughs. 🙂
It’s been two years since I lasted posted. Two tumultuous years. To say some shit has gone down would be an understatement. Some things have been good, but there has been enough bad to cast a grey cloud over it. And then the year 2020 kicked into high gear and sent us all into a tailspin. Like a lot of people, I’m a bit flustered with the state of things right now. Flustered, frustrated, frightened, and f’ing pissed off. Frankly, just down and out. I had the highest of hopes for the year 2020. The greatest of expectations. I should have known from experience though, that the quickest way to be let down is to have high expectations. Or maybe any expectations at all.
Hoping for the best always reminds me of Snorkel Bob’s on Maui, where a very stoned employee once suggested we choose the mid-priced rental gear, “…which SHOULD work fine, brah. Just hope for the best!”
The good news is none of us drowned that year. Although that has more to do with the beaches being subsequently shut down due to a fatal shark attack, than being in possession of adequate snorkeling equipment. Good times.
I’d have to say my biggest loss during this time has been the loss of my sense of humor. My humor was usually what got me through the true tests of life (the passing of friends and pets, health struggles of my own and others, work/life balance, family matters, etc.). But it’s elusive right now. My sense of humor, that is. Only on the rarest of occasions do I feel it peaks out to remind me it’s there somewhere, buried under life’s heaviness. My humor going MIA has left me feeling mostly empty. Which in turn leaves me feeling flustered, frustrated, frightened, and f’ing pissed off.
Like Stella, I’ve lost my groove. And I guess, when you feel like this, the best thing to do is take the advice of Snorkel Bob and hope for the best. Or maybe just get stoned and wait for this to pass.
I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office waiting for my daughter, reading, and minding my own business. A mountain of an elderly woman squeezed herself into the chair on my left. Her caretaker (?) daughter (?) took the chair on my right. They began a conversation across my lap. Next thing I knew, they were passing an oversized handbag across me. And then an inhaler. And then the handbag again. I closed my iPad.
Mountain Woman took a long drag off her inhaler, while Caretaker-Daughter asked me about my iPad. After a quick Apple endorsement, the conversation dwindled. Caretaker-Daughter leaned around me and asked Mountain Woman if Xavier had gone back to sleep.
I looked around. What had I missed? Was there a kid somewhere? What the…?
Mountain Woman pulled the neckline of her blouse away from her chest and looked down at her enormous bosom. She nodded, confirming that Xavier had indeed gone back to sleep.
My jaw fell. Clearly baffled, I looked back and forth from woman to woman.
“Wanna see?” Mountain Woman inquired.
Um, well…of course I do. Or do I? Do I have to peek into your shirt? Are other people watching this? “Sure,” I said cautiously.
Mountain Woman reached between her twin peaks and extracted a furry creature. She held it out to me. “Want to pet it?”
“It’s a Sugar Glider.” Exclaimed Caretaker-Daughter. “It goes everywhere with her.”
I have to take a second here and remind the reader that we were in a doctor’s office. Although I will be the first to admit that I kiss my dog on the lips, I found myself questioning whether or not this was sanitary.
The little mouse-guy sat on Mountain Woman’s out stretched palm and peered at me with huge, admittedly sweet eyes. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I rubbed the top of his tiny head with my finger and wondered how clean he could possibly be. I love animals, but this rodent had emerged from a stranger’s bra. What other sorts of things were going on in there?
As if to answer my question, Xavier turned around and did his business on Mountain Woman’s hand. Then he scampered up her arm and nestled back down into her cleavage.
“Oopsie,” said Caretaker-Daughter, “let me get a Kleenex.”
And maybe hand sanitizer? My daughter emerged from the exam area and beckoned she was ready to go. “Well, it’s been fun,” I murmured to the women with a quick wave.
After explaining the exchange to my teenage daughter (whose first reaction was: “Why didn’t you ask her to let ME pet it?”), I pulled out my iPad and researched the Sugar Glider. First of all, I learned they are marsupials, not rodents. And they don’t do their business in places where they sleep, which are usually cages or people’s pockets. I assume this may apply to bras. They are cute and apparently make great pets.
I have mixed emotions. Are bra dwelling marsupials unsanitary? Cute as they are, would I want one living in my shirt? My daughter said she’d take one, but was worried that her chest wasn’t big enough to comfortably host it, which would mean she’d have to constantly wear a hoodie with pockets and that went against her stylish fashion sense. Thank goodness.
Having been made aware of the existence of bra dwelling marsupials, I now find myself compelled to look at all heavyset women and wonder what they might have living in their brassieres.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW) in Dayton, Ohio. It was fantastic. The only way I can sum up the experience in less than 500 words is to compile a list. These are the top nine bits of insight that I took away from the workshop and the one unfortunate thing I did not come away with.
9. Writers are approachable. The ones at this conference were sweet, funny, and personable. In fact, if you ran into a rather notable one in the elevator and started stammering, she may have complemented your toenail polish just to calm you down. Writers can be gracious like that.
8. Just write. Get it on the page, even if it is crap. It can be beautified afterwards. Usually. And if not, that is ok too. Practice is good.
7. Memoir writing isn’t therapy. Don’t use it as revenge. Be kind to yourself and others. Erma would want it that way.
6. Take classes and continue to go to conferences. There is always more to learn.
5. Join and stay involved with writing and critique groups.
4. When you win an Erma centerpiece, it is a sign that you MUST write. Erma would say so.
3. All writers, successful or not, believe at one time or another and repeatedly, that they are imposters. I am in good company.
2. Write. Quit making excuses and do it. You can write. So do it. At least a little bit, every day. All the presenters were very adamant about this. Pushy, really.
1. It is imperative to have at least one friend with no agenda. I was very fortunate to have found a fabulous Agendaless Forever Friend (AFF) in Dayton. She doesn’t particularly like dogs, but her great taste in shoes more than makes up for it.
The one thing I did not get from this conference: The Erma Flu! Not sure how I was lucky enough to avoid it, especially considering my new AFF went home with a horrible case of it, as did so many of the others we met. This brings to mind one last thing:
- Don’t play Duck, Duck, Goose with the Flu. Travel with hand sanitizer. I think Erma would agree.
I called FedEx in regards to a lost package.
Me: It says the package was delivered, but it wasn’t. A different one came.
Nice FedEx Guy: So you got a package, but not the right package.
FedEx Guy: I need to ask what was in the package.
Me: Which one?
FedEx Guy: The missing one.
Me: A weighted hula hoop.
Me: I know, it’s not the end of the world, but…
FedEx Guy: …but you paid for it.
FedEx Guy: So you did not get the hula hoop?
Me: No, just the whale tail.
Me: I swear this isn’t as weird as it sounds.
FedEx Guy: I’m sure it isn’t, ma’am.