Because I’m supposed to be writing a blurb right now, and it’s giving me all kinds of trouble, I thought I’d share an object lesson in how sometimes, the way a person tells a story might make the person in the story sound like a total diva. And when this happens, my friends are total jerks. Because here are two stories they tell people about me that sound way worse than they actually are:
What my friends tell people: One time, Jenny was at the airport, and her limo didn’t show up on time, so she threw her cell phone in the bushes.
What really happened: After a trip to the Harlequin sales conference in Colorado Springs, my friend Bronwyn Green and I were returning home via plane. During the two days that we were there, I got altitude sickness and my throat swelled up like I had strep. I was miserable and running a fever, and I’d totally beefed it talking to the sales team the night before because I was so ill. Our first flight was delayed by an hour, and Bronwyn’s inhaler had been confiscated by a TSA agent who shouted in our faces. Bronwyn has insanely bad asthma, so when our plane landed in Chicago at O’Hare and we had to run for our connecting flight, she had a serious attack, with no inhaler.
As she gasped for air, I found a security guard with a CPR badge on her sleeve. I said, “I need help, my friend can’t breathe.” The guard shrugged and said, “I don’t know what to tell you. I’m on break. I guess I could find her a wheelchair.” So I was like, “Don’t strain yourself lady,” but she probably didn’t hear me because I was croaking like a frog with my giant, giant tonsils. Maybe she thought I said, “My friend can’t BREEZE,” as in, ” – through the airport and needs a fast mode of convenience. Were that the case, she was being super helpful.
Either way, I thought to myself, “You know who would care if a passenger died here today? The airline the passenger is flying on.”
O, what folly is hope or common sense where the airlines are concerned.
“Businesses care about customers,” I thought to myself as I raced through concourse C. I arrived at the gate, sweaty and out of breath, to find the flight attendant closing the door.
“Please help!” I begged him. “My friend can’t breathe.”
He goes, “Do you have a boarding pass for this flight?”
And I go, “Yeah, but that’s not the problem. My friend needs help, I need you to call security or something.”
He goes, “Ma’am, are you getting on this plane? Because I need to shut the door now.”
And I’m all, “Dude, you are not listening to me. I need help for my friend.” I’m in tears, I’m crying, I’m like, thinking I’m crazy because all of this is happening and I’ve been on a high-fever death march since about seven in the goddamned morning and I left one of my best friends back by the weirdly non-franchised sports bar and I think she’s probably dead by now.
And the guy says:
“Ma’am, if you don’t calm down, I’m going to call security and you are not getting on a plane today.”
Eventually it got worked out when Bronwyn miraculously appeared at the gate, gave the guy our boarding passes and marched down the little collapsible hallway thing with the most Beyonce hair toss I have ever seen from a person who is not Beyonce, and we flew into Grand Rapids, the worst part of our journey behind us.
But then we got to the airport, and there was no limo and I threw my cell phone in the bushes.
There was a good reason! Our flight was supposed to get in much later than we had expected, and we were so tired, and the whole day was just ass, so we were tired. And did I mention that because of our early flight time, Bronwyn should have gotten home in time for her son’s Arrow of Light ceremony with his scout troop? And now she was missing it? So, she’s exhausted and in tears, I’m exhausted and near tears, and I do the only thing I can think of: I call the person at Harlequin who set up the trip to get the number for the car company so we can get in touch with them. But my phone reception keeps going out and keeps going out, and I have to call her back three times to even get what I need across. Since my reception was so bad, she volunteered to call the company for us. There was a problem with scheduling, and they hadn’t assigned a driver, but a driver was coming to pick us up and he would call us to find out where we were. Fine, everything is solved.
But then the guy called, asked what part of the airport we were at, and as I answered… my phone battery died. it was totally drained from looking for service.
That was the last straw. I shouted and stamped my foot, and I threw my cell phone into the bushes.
So, you see how when you cut out a lot of details, it makes it sound really, really different than it actually was?
Sometimes, you can use close to the same amount of words to tell a story, but it’s the words you choose that make Jenny look like a diva:
What my husband tells people: Jenny was going to this Authors After Dark conference in New York, and Jill and I went along. We were going to go sight seeing while she had lunch in the city with her editor and her agent. But while I was there, I got really sick with swine flu. But Jenny still had to go into the city, so she made Jill and I go with her. Jill was sick, too. She wouldn’t ride the subway, because she’s scared of it, so we walked all over Central Park, we walked all the way from Penn Station to Central Park and walked all the way around the lake and around the fountain and the Alice in Wonderland and the castle bullshit, and we finally find Jenny at the Imagine thing and she’s like, “Oh, I had the most amazing lunch and everyone was really nice to me at Harlequin and my agency is so cool and I had duck confit.”
What Jill tells people: I was so sick and for some reason, Joe wouldn’t take the subway and we had to walk sooooo far.
What really happened: We went to Authors After Dark, i was going to meet my editor from Harlequin and my agent, Miriam, for lunch. Everyone at Harlequin and the agency were super nice, and it was so much fun meeting everybody. We went this really cool restaurant and I had duck confit. I knew Joe had been pretty sick two days before, but that morning he’d said that he was feeling a lot better. Jill was sneezing a lot, but she always sneezes because she has allergies the way other people have molecules. I tried to explain to my husband how the subway worked, but he really didn’t grasp the concept of switching trains or that he didn’t need to take a train anywhere to get from Penn Station to the Empire State Building, where they wanted to go sight-see. After lunch, I called Joe to ask where they were. They said, “We’re in Central Park. We’re lost. We don’t even know how to get to a road.” So I said, “Go up to someone ask them where the Imagine circle is, and head that way, and I’ll meet you there.” I took the subway, got off, headed to the Imagine thing, and waited. And waited. And waited. And then these two zombies come shambling up the hill, and I feel so guilty. I’m standing there, looking all cute because I’m dressed up and I’ve had this lovely autumn day in New York, and they were miserable. I tried to downplay how great my meeting was. “Yeah, the duck confit was okay. It was… probably only in the top five of all duck I’ve ever eaten. Ohhh, you guys had Papaya Dog? I am so jealous right now…” It totally didn’t work.
And it was only after we got home that we found out they had swine flu.
So, if someone who loves me tells you one of these stories about the time I was a super diva, they are soooo lying.
Now, if they tell you a story about me splitting the crotch out of my pants in a Yooper gas station bathroom… that one might be true.