Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Pantless in Palm Beach County
Pantless, I balanced on one leg in the gas station stall. I prayed my undies wouldn't drop into a puddle I hoped was only sloshed water from a filthy mop bucket in the corner. My blouse hung perilously from a hook missing a screw on the back of the door. A rusty faucet dripped, dripped, dripped into a sink with all the porcelain scrubbed off.
A tale of a sordid encounter from my dating days?
No, just a glimpse into the glamorous life of an author on the road.
I've only been doing this a few months, but already I've learned to keep a straight face when someone asks, "So, are they sending you anywhere exciting on your book tour?''
First of all, ''they'' is me. And while I'm grateful for any chance to talk about Mama Does Time, so far my ''tour'' has been less red carpet and luxury hotels, and more arriving in my pickup truck and crashing on the sofa beds of friends.
The gas station served as makeshift changing room as I sped from a book fest in Stuart, Fla., to speak to a book group a couple of hours south. My truck's cab was packed to the roof with clothes, books, and emergency rations. A bag of honeybell oranges I'd picked up at a flea market on the Dixie Highway spilled onto the passenger seat. I looked like the Joads heading west in Grapes of Wrath.
Still, once I'd made myself presentable, it was great to be welcomed into the Coral Springs home of Kerry Cerra. She combined two book clubs, twisted arms to get them to read Mama, and invited me by for a chat. Not only were the members funny and smart, Kerry dished up Mama's favorites, fried chicken and pie. (Coincidentally, the author's faves, too!) And, I got to drink beer while addressing a gathering of 20-some readers eager to talk about Mama.
Good food, fun gals, and beer? Okay, not glamorous, maybe. But definitely a glimpse into the great life of an author.
How about you? What's the weirdest place you've dressed? Ever tried to pull on pantyhose while driving? (Guys, if you answer yes to that one, not sure I want to hear about it).