Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Maui Writer's Conference...getting there and back...

While the following posts have nothing to do in the immediate sense with getting my book published...I look for serendipity and humor everywhere I go...and usually find it...so they are indirectly related to my writing career since they occured on the flights to and from the Maui Writer's Conference...at which I pitched my book so much even I got sick of myself and my own story. And the pic is the screensaver I returned to find on my computer monitor (practical jokes abound in my office)...a Thelma-and-Louise type of shot of me and the office's summer intern, my buddy Cathleen. Rather appropriate.

Flying high...

So recently I went to Maui for the annual writer's conference and had a blast...But getting there was definitely NOT half the fun...

Since I have trouble sleeping on planes I popped a few Tylenol PMs and boarded for my 13 hour flight figuring I'd be passed out by the time we were airborne.

However...suddenly there were guys in orange vests running around on the tarmac (never a good sign) and the pilot came over the intercom to inform us that the plane had a 'slight fuel gauge problem' and we would all have to disembark and reboard another plane as soon as they could find one for us.

So after a 5-hour delay (during which they must've been cruising eBay for plane parts) I tried to counteract the effects of the Tylenol with some java and felt essentially like a wired zombie...And this was all after the obstacle course to board the plane in the first place...

"Put the lotion in the basket Clarrrriiiice....And the gel, and mascara, tweezers, nail clippers, nose clippers, cellphone, laptop, doodads, doohickeys, thingamajigs, keys and your pen.

Please remove your shoes ma'am (which is worse---taking off your shoes or being called ma'am?) and step against the wall. Now bend over and touch your toes. A female officer (named BettyLou of course) will now conduct the full-body cavity search for contraband."

You cannot bring that water aboard the aircraft, ma'am...violates section 1234548376352BDFGHJK of the Homeland Security Random Humiliation to Fight Terrorism Code."

Not only are the Founding Fathers rolling in their graves, they are also rolling their eyes and shaking their heads and wondering where it all went so woefully wrong.

"But I'm just going to Maui.....Where's my complimentary cocktail, grass skirt and cabana boy?"

I don't care what the Homeland Security folks tell you...powdered Mai Tais are just not the same....

Heading back home:

As I was leaving Maui airport I had to go to through two agricultural checkpoints and then still had about 20 minutes to spare before the flight started boarding so I, of course, hit the gift shop.

Well....I found a great sarong...in turquoise and purple...It has pineapples and plumeria flowers on it. As I was leaving this Amazon girl---seriously she must have been about 6'2 and weighed about 130....says "ALOHA---come play the ALOHA GAME and get a CULTURED PEARL"

Ladies and any random gents who may be reading this, if any of you know my taste in jewelry then....you know me and pearls. To me, they more often than not scream "Barbara Bush"... So I was gonna wave her off but she had this plastic bin thing that turned around with all of these little slips of paper in it and it kinda reminded me of Bingo and it looked fun so I figured---what the hell?

So I spun the thing three times---each spin she makes me yell "ALOHA" and I'm feeling like an idiot cuz people are walking by and whatever and she's clearly just the most ridiculously happy person on earth.

But I started getting caught up in her contagious enthusiasm.

So she tells me to pick one of the slips and I do and she says I can pick one of these mangy looking oysters in a bowl of water and get my VERY OWN pearl (seriously---the Orbitz chick has nothing on this girl) for only TWO DOLLARS AND NINETY FIVE CENTS!!!!!!! Did I mention that Ms. Exclamation Point! has a bit of a volume thing happening?

So I pick the mangiest looking one cuz she tells me to and she tells me to wish for what color pearl I want.

And I swear to Christ the first color that came into my head was PINK...I was thinking it would be so cool to have a pink pearl. This is on the heels of totally making fun of my friend Lisa that morning for her threat to put her bridesmaids someday in preppy pink and green...think a Lilly Pullitzer theme. And if you don't know Lilly---she makes these Bar Harbor-esque sheath dresses in neon pink and green with palm trees embroidered all over them. To my friend---they scream taste and the Vineyard and money. To me---it just looks like you're wearing some kid's wallpaper on your bod. So I had ripped on her telling her that pink was so cheesy, so eighties, etc. So why pink popped into my head as the color PEARL I wanted (don't even like the little buggers, remember?) I have no idea....

So Amazon pearl pusher opens the thing up and digs around in the oyster and unearths a beautiful, pink pearl...

Which is apparently pretty rare because she claims (and who knows if this is true or not) that mostly the pearls are white and hardly ever are pink. And then she says...sometimes these oysters have twin pearls and "I DON'T WANT TO GET YOUR HOPES UP, COURTNEY, but maybe there is another little friend in here...LET'S TAKE A LOOK"...

And sure enough there was. She seemed genuinely thrown by that---or was putting it on---who knows? So now everyone in the store is gushing over how lucky I am and the employees are all coming over to see the pink pearls blah, blah...they've got the act down I think....but I was still beaming over my bargain of the century. Felt like I just solved the puzzle on Wheel of Gift Shop Fortune.

So me and my twin pink cultured pearls...(worth about $200 and purchased for less than 3 bucks) will hopefully have a long and prosperous life together. The catch? She wanted me to buy settings for them on the spot. So she cleaned them off all nice and pretty...starts telling me that pink is the color of romance and health and would I like to see the white gold posts with diamonds or the yellow gold posts with diamonds?

Um, neither thanks...told her I have a jeweler back home I like. :)

But she did give me a good story and quite a few laughs and the main one being this...I have always wanted twins...Careful what you wish for...the universe has a wacky sense of humor.

At the very least...It was a very nice way to end my vacation.


Blogger Dani Nordin said...

I love these stories... I'd love to hear more stories from your trip!

9:39 AM  

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