Last Friday I went to the Romantic Times Convention in Los Angeles. The convention is geared toward romance readers and writers, and was a great time for someone like me who considers myself both. Anyway, on the way there I had a little, mini déjà vu. As many of you know, I don’t like to drive freeways, and rarely venture more than 10 miles beyond my home alone….which has expanded greatly from the 2 ½ mile radius of my pre-Wyoming years. So, instead of taking my car, I saved on gas (currently $4.19 a gallon for regular in my neighborhood, and saved parking fees $45 at the hotel hosting the convention, or $37 for the parking lot across the street, and rode the bus….something I’ve only done in Los Angeles once before.
And there’s where my story begins, about 15 years ago. We had been living in Palmdale, just north of Los Angeles, and moved back to Torrance, in the Los Angeles South Bay. A group of my Palmdale girlfriends had planned a weekend in Laughlin, Nevada and despite the fact that I had always declined these girl get always, they invited me along. This still remains the only girl get away that I’ve taken in 23 years.
Too afraid to drive the approximately seventy miles to Palmdale and back home alone, I decided to take the Amtrak, which required a bus ride to Union Station in Los Angeles, where I would catch the train.
I was more than a little nervous about the entire trip. I’d packed my things, dressed, dropped off the kids at school on Friday morning, and off I was to catch the bus. I didn’t have internet service yet, so this trip was planned using bus and train schedules. I caught the bus, standing room only, carrying my bag and purse, and clutching my bus schedules, but about halfway through the ride when the driver announced stops, I realized I was on the wrong bus!! Apparently the panic was obvious to those looking at me because the tall, young man standing across from me asked if I needed help.
“I think I’m on the wrong bus. I need to get to Union Station to catch a train.”
“No problem,” he said, and after giving me instructions for getting to Union Station he asked me “Where do you live?”
“Torrance,” I answered.
He shook his head. “You really need to get out more.”
Luckily, he knew how to get where I was going, and I arrived on time to catch my train. (Thank you young man, whereever you are!)
Relieved, I found a seat, made myself comfortable, and pulled a book from my purse. But it wasn’t long before a voice a couple of seats over had caught my attention. I no longer remember what the conversation was about, only that I found it hysterically amusing.
After a couple of train stops, the speaker who had captured my attention must have lost her audience, because suddenly, she had moved, and was sitting in front of me. A large woman with long, stringy blonde hair, fair skin……and a certain amount of beard stubble began telling me her life story. She was on her way to Acton to have her hair done at the same salon where Marcia Brady gets her hair done….yes, I know her real name is Maureen McCormick, but the lady in front of me referred to her only as Marcia Brady. After ten or fifteen minutes of rather intimate conversation….and by that I mean her talking to me, me listening, she says “I have a secret, and I bet you won’t guess what it is.”
I would have guessed, but I didn’t think she would have liked it, so I just agreed. “I don’t have a clue.”
She pulls her driver’s license out of her purse and hands it to me. The name on her license was ‘Marcia Brady’. “Wow!” I exclaimed….not thinking ‘Wow, what a coincidence,’ but actually thinking….’Wow, not the secret I expected!’
But, I was not to be disappointed, as the secret continued.
“Yes, it’s my legal name,” she elaborated. “I had it changed when I had my sex change operation!” There it was, although because of the stubble, and some other telling signs, I thought she was actually a transvestite, not transgender.
We approached her stop, and as she exited, I found myself laughing. I leaned over to hide my laughter thinking, ‘Only in L.A.!’ and as I leaned forward, I caught sight of my shoes. I was wearing two different shoes, one blue and one black, exactly the same style, but from two different pairs. In my nervousness and the early morning darkness, I obviously didn’t notice, but here I am trying to hide my laughter about Marcia, and I have traveled all through Los Angeles with two different shoes, and not one person has said a word.
Of course my girlfriends didn’t miss it when they picked me up at the train station!
So back to my déjà vu…… Last Friday, as I said, I two took buses to Los Angeles. I got on the first bus….no problem. I texted my husband, Paul to let him know I’d gotten off to a safe start, adding in the text “and both of my shoes match.” I change buses, and send him another text joking “And Marcia Brady is nowhere in sight!” I arrive at my destination, and as I enter the hotel, I feel something soft and unusual in my left pant leg, and it drops to me knee. First stop the ladies room, where I find that in my nervousness getting ready that morning, I apparently grabbed a pair of jeans out of the laundry basket and somehow didn’t notice the pair of underwear still inside them…..Thankfully, they didn’t fall out of my pant leg on one of the buses, or as I entered the Bonaventure Hotel….or while I was shaking hands with an editor or agent at the convention!!
So needles to say, the next time I have to travel through Los Angeles on buses…or trains, I’m having someone dress me for the trip, clearly this is something I can’t handle on my own.
After I told Paul the story, he decided that I shouldn’t be riding the bus home alone, and picked me up from the hotel that evening.
Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised by this little story, and for those of you who don’t….this will give you some insight into who I am.
So what about you? What’s your most embarrassing moment???