Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Short Story: A Peak Experience, RWA Convention Reno

Strange things happen in life. It helps if we can laugh over them and move on. This is one of those experiences for me. I hope you enjoy mine and share one of yours with me and our fellow readers.

When I stepped into the tub/shower, my feet slipped from under me. It’s amazing what goes through your mind when airborne, especially when you’re over the hill. Oh, Lord, I’m a goner. Will the EMT’s have to lift me naked from the tub? What if I break something?

As my right hip hit the porcelain, the back of my head bounced off the tile wall. My conference buddies pounded on the bathroom door. “Are you all right?”

“I think so. Give me a minute.” I pushed up, didn’t feel any severe pain. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Other than considerable bruising, I was, but should’ve known then this trip was hexed. Evidently spending the night in Austin before our flight had been a bad idea.

The following morning, we boarded our Reno bound plane to attend the National RWA conference. Once there, we piled into the back seat of a cab, where we were thrown from one side to the other on the fast turns, but within minutes were at the hotel, registering, getting freebie bags, and eyeballing the slot machines.

The workshops were wonderful. If you’ve been to an RWA conference, you know you get oodles of free books. The year before, I came home with over a hundred.

In our free time we played the slots. Did you know that while gambling, drinks are free? I didn’t, but learn fast. I won two-hundred dollars, lost it all, and ended up twenty dollars in the hole. Not bad for a four day stay.

The morning we left, books packed in every pocket, carry on bag, suitcase – anywhere we could stash them, we left the room. Way overloaded – I had a large wheeled wardrobe, my foldable cart on wheels, a big book bag, and my purse – I decided to put my driver’s license in my pocket so I wouldn’t have trouble locating it while in line at the airport.

After checkout, I collected our key cards and dropped them in the key box on our way out. Huffing and puffing with overloaded bags, we entered the airport to join the long check-in line. When I reached in my pocket for my driver’s license, it wasn’t there. Sheer panic! I searched the floor all the way to the entrance. Could it have fallen out in the cab? Then it hit me. I’d dropped it in the room key box at the hotel.

How would I get on the plane? Would I miss the flight? When I got to the counter, I explained my situation.

The clerk asked. “Do you have another picture ID and a credit card in your name?”

Credit card, easy, but a picture ID…? Eureka! I whipped out my Sam’s card.

I was handed a boarding pass. “Be prepared to go through extra security.”

“No problem. As long as I get on that plane, I’m happy.” Of course, I didn’t have a clue what extra security meant.

I do now. Ever heard the expression, “Spread ‘um?”

Thanks for reading and don't forget to share one of your experiences with us. I'll be picking the lucky winner of an ebook on June 1st. You could be the lucky one.

Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.


  1. Hi Linda! I've never gone to RWA conferences. But on the other hand, I had some embarrasing experiences! The one that comes to mind is that I was on a panel with others who also had disabilites and we were talking answering questions. They had a break and I went into the bathroom. I always checked my appearance my face mostly and just before I left someone from the audience was in there and told me my back of my skirt was up just before I went out the door. I say thank goodness she told me but there were so many woman in there from the conference, it was still hard for me to make eye contact on that second half!

  2. Hi Linda - glad you were able to get your flight okay and hope you didn't have too much trouble getting back or replacing your license. Makes it hectic when things like that happen. I’ll share a couple of my tense travel moments. A few years ago I had gone on a boating trip with my DH, Dad and step mom. It was my Dad's boat and I really didn't think about documentation. Only problem was I had to get a flight out of Georgetown back to Florida. I had to have my kids locate and fax a copy of my birth certificate to the airline before I could get on the plane! More recently we had been in Cabo San Lucas, MX and DH bought a Tequila souvenir for our son-in-law. He didn’t want it to break so he wrapped it extra and put it into my carry bag....WRONG! Can’t carry liquids. So we had to rush back to our luggage (after thinking we were so smart to print our barding passes early etc.) and we were fortunate the staff were nice enough to let us get it tucked into the luggage.

  3. Oh, my goodness, Caffey, I've done that too. I'm glad you were stopped before rejoining the group. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Oh, my, was that before you had to have a passport? You were lucky someone was home to get it for you. Glad you got that tequila tucked away. It'd be a shame to have to leave that behind.

  5. OMG, Linda. I am literally laughing out loud. I love that story.

    My most embarrasing 'flying' experience was flying out of Denver one time. The wind delayed the plane by over three hours. When we finally took off, everyone was a bit grumpy, but I --a terrible flyer--was scared *&#^-less. Trembling and praying I boarded the plane, my seat was in-between to strangers of course since I was on a business trip by myself. About 20 min into the flight we hit a big patch of turbulance, and in that split second when I thought we were going down. I screamed at the top of my lungs and grabbed the leg of the guy next to me. The plane became silent, with everyone staring over their seats at me, expcept for the guy next to me. After almost jumping out his window, he was carefully peeling my fingers off his leg.

    I know somewhere in North Dakota there is a man walking around with my handprint still on his thigh.

  6. Sometimes we wish we stayed home. Hee hee. Good one.

    P.L. Parker

  7. Hi Linda,
    Sounds like the trip from hell, but as long as you had fun, it was worth all the pain and stress.

  8. LOL, Linda. I had a moment recently... I've had back surgery. Well, a month ago, I tripped walking through the back door that has a step up. I fell on all fours thinking this was it--another level of my back would need surgery. My big toe toenails broke from the impact! NOT GOOD. This implies lots of force. Well, I seem to be okay. But I do have those moments.

    All in all, going to National is always an experience worth treasuring. The good, the bad, and the funny! ;)

  9. Linda--I couldn't top that if I tried all day! One that comes to mind is actually my dh's story. In Denver, we were to board a plane for Calgary. He pulled our bags along--he had mine, too--and around a corner, there was a long conveyer belt that slanted up about 25 feet into...somewhere. the sign said, Place bags here. But I knew that was not meant for us. We had to check in first!!! But dh plopped them up there with me yelling, no, no, no!!! Away went our bags. Long story, but it took an act of congress to get our bags off the airplane bound for China. Dh had to ride in a runway bus with security to identify and retrieve our bags.Celia

  10. Hi, Linda! Great blog!

    Well, I've got one for ya.

    To set the scene: Midtown Manhattan. Rush hour.

    Four of us were in a cab leading from RWA conference headquarters at the Marriott Marquis to a Circle Line boat tour of the city. Fabulous. Well, in theory.

    Rain had just stopped, and the roads were slick. We were fighting time, and traffic, and - yep - an insane-driving NYC cab driver (guess there's a reason why cliches become cliches!) rear-ended the car ahead of us. We quickly dodged into another cab (how we found one I don't rightly recall - it was a haze to me in hindsight...) and made it to the boat tour on time.

    A few drinks later, the nerves *started* to return to normal!!

  11. LOL Spread 'em.

    Come on, Linda, as an ex-airline employee the only ones who do that is customs, and they'll even do a cavity search if they suspect you of carrying drugs or of being a terrorist.

    I loved the story. I have a few of my own, but I'm only telling in private. Grin

  12. Wow, what an experience. As for my story, when working in an office once upon a time, I decided rocking the chair just made the day go faster until the chair broke. The space between the desk and the wall was just enough for me to get stuck. I wore a skirt and everything below was exposed. Two workmen passing by helped me out and were kind enough to suppress their laughter. An embarrassed flush stayed with me for days.

  13. Love it, Lauri. It's my turn to laugh. Bet he had fun telling the story when he got home.

  14. Hi Patsy and Margaret. It was a fun trip. It's a good thing I don't live there or I'd be one with a daily pass. Love those slots.

  15. Oh my goodness, Skhye. That's terrible. And broken toenails hurt!!!

  16. Too funny, Celia. Sounds like something I'd do. Guess you're lucky your you didn't have to wait and take the next flight.

  17. Oh Marianne, Thank goodness for cocktails at Nationals. Thank goodness you didn't have luggage with you. I can just see you trying to transfer all that luggage in a traffic jam.

  18. Sandy, I have to tell you, I did have to stand in these two footprints on the floor, feet apart while a want was passed between my legs and up and down my body. A woman quickly patted me down. Than, they took another wand and stirred it around in my purse before putting it in a machine. I don't know if they were looking for drugs or explosives. Then, he went through my book bag. Of course it was full of all those bodice rippers and I coughed and laughing told him I'd been to a romance conference.

  19. Lol, Angelica and Zi, what a picture!!! I'm laughing my head off.

  20. Oh My GOD! What a trip, Linda! No pun intended. *grin* It's amazing how funny such situations can seem on the big screen or in retrospect. Not so much at the time though!

    Great post, my dear. Thanks for sharing your wacky adventures.

    Still chuckling,
    Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul:

  21. Thanks for stopping by, Chiron. It's good to be able to laugh at ourselves after situations like that.