"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Avert your eyes

I run a pretty PG-rated blog here. If you don't count mammograms, I write pretty clean stuff, and truly, having your girls molded like Silly Putty before being flattened in a George Foreman Grill is not exactly stimulating, if you know what I mean. I don't want to put one of those "Are you 18?" filters on my blog because that's not what I'm about.

So I'm going to tell you a story today, but I'm going to use a few word substitutions in order to keep it clean. Think of it as the same way TV blurs certain body parts.

Back in February, I went to the Southern California Writer's Conference and had a whale of a good time. I hung out with friends, I learned a lot in workshops, and I even got an idea for a new book.

I also took a field trip. My friend, Tameri Etherton, has described this trip in her blog, but she left out a few things that I need to mention. Because the whole story is funny - but I'll keep it clean, I promise. Wink, wink, nod, nod.

Tameri writes fantasy. On Friday evening, she was talking about this evil character she is writing, one who is a Lipizzan but might be Bi-Coastal. This character uses Socks as a weapon, and is into Bandaids and Shadow Mannequins. Since Tameri is not a Bi-Coastal woman into Bandaids and Shadow Mannequins, she thought maybe she should visit a prone shop to get some information on the subject.

The bookseller  at the conference was happy to provide us with the name of a shop and general directions, so Tameri and I, along with our friend Linda made plans. As we left, Michael asked if we'd be at the bar later.

"Yes, we just have to visit the prone shop first," I told him.

"Can you pick me up some of those things that do this and that and play a little song?" he asked.

"Sure." I'm always happy to do a favor for a friend.

We spent a little time driving around blocks, looking for the shop. At one point, Tameri asked me to use my SmartPhone to find it. I tried, but finally had to admit my phone does not have a category for what we were looking for.

Finally we found it, then found a parking space, then entered The Store. I noticed on the way in, how jaunty and well-lit it looked from the street, and how covered and shady it was up close. Once inside, the lights were harshly bright. I guess they did not want any dark corners for anyone to do anything, um, unseemly.

As we first walked in, there was an entire wall to our right of DVDs for happy men. Very. Happy. Men. We were, thankfully, the only ones in the store, although I suppose the entire staff can now watch us on the security tapes and laugh at the three middle-aged gals with wide, Bambi-eyes, wandering around.

Tameri went immediately to the clerk, who was trying out for the role of Lisbeth Salamander's younger sister, and explained exactly what she wanted and exactly why she wanted it. ("I'm a writer. I'm doing research" - yeah, like they haven't heard that one before.)

Linda and I wandered, separately. I'm not certain what Linda was shopping for, but I was trying to read labels to figure out what things were used for, without looking like I was reading labels to figure out... Oh, well, you know. I don't know why I would want to appear hip and knowledgable in a prone shop, but there you go.

Sooner or later, Lisbeth Junior found a couple of Lipizzan DVDs for Tameri. As Tameri turned around to go to the counter and pay, she came face to face with an entire wall of the largest Waldos she (or I and possibly Linda) had ever seen. Her face looked just like this:

Of course, she screamed like a girl.

We had decided earlier that we must also get something for Michael, but what? It had to be funny without being crude. Not easy in this store. Tameri spotted the perfect thing at the counter. A box of Gummi candy, in the shape of... Globes, yes, that's it. Gummi Globes.

As the clerk processed Tameri's purchases, she asked, "Need lube?"

Tameri, of course, did not need her oil changed, so she declined. After one more query about a small pink octopus on the counter ("It's Very Vibrant," explained the clerk), we left.

Michael enjoyed his Globes, more than Tameri enjoyed her DVDs. But at least she learned something.

We all did. So many people wanted to come with us, next year, we're getting a bus.


Tameri Etherton said...

That is too funny. I love reading your side of the story since I was too flustered to know what you ladies were doing in there. Now we need Linda to 'fess up about her role in all of this.

A prone shop, bi-coastal, laughing my frikkin bottom off!

The Lusty Love Bus will be on a world tour next year, for all of you who want to come. Hehe, that makes me giggle.

Oh, and I really DID look like that cartoon! They were H.U.G.E.

Gayle Carline said...

They WERE huge - your eyes and the Waldos. I guess now we know where he is.

Yeah, I never heard Linda tell her side of the tale...

heddalyn said...

That is a very well worded account of it Gayle. Too funny!

Gordon Kirkland said...

I was asked to bring The Plight Before Christmas to a holiday sales event at a local bar. My table was stuck between tables of scented candles and sex toys. One made my eyes water and the other one was candles...

I was afraid to look to my right all night, especially after I saw the device that looked like one of those old flash lights that took 8 D-cell batteries.

The whole thing reminded me of the time MSG set me up to do an advance read of a seventy-something woman's work that contained a four page description of her favourite... uhh ... Waldo.

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