Last weekend I was able to attend the ALA/SCBWI drink night in D.C. It was a terrific experience to mix and mingle with some great names in the industry, including authors, agents and editors.
Remember those wonderful Lyle the Crocodile stories? I met the illustrator's daughter, Paulis Waber, who has now taken the lead on the artistry. What a wonderful, humble lady. I even got a book mark. Sa-weet.
Not only did I chat with some other fabulous authors, but I met 2 of my co-authors from the group blog I contribute to, From the Mixed-Up Files. It was like seeing a long-lost friend! Yay!
But honestly the fun began before my friend and I even entered the restaurant. After a 1 and 1/2 hour drive from our bo-dink country town in Virgina into the booming metropolis that is our nation's capitol, and missing our exit (just once, but it did require a multiple exit, no u-turn, 3 light adventure to get back on the highway we were supposed to be on for the previous 20 minutes....ah-hem...my navigator is FIRED! next time I use GPS)we finally found our destination. But alas, the great metroplis of D.C. requires parallel parking (which, btw, I failed on my drivers test the first time and only passed by an inch the second time and haven't been able to do since my neck surgery in 2008). The other option: parking garages. GASP. (must control rapid breathing to prevent hyperventaliation from phobias)
Well, if I thought I had my phobias (which I do - and there are many of them....however we will NOT discuss them here. EVER.) my friend is worse. Much. Worse.
As I pulled into the parking garage I realized that my minivan (it's really the batmobile in disguise...shhhh....don't tell) was on an adventure on a life-size screw. That's right. I had to drive my car around a center cylinder, spiraling down 5 levels before reaching the parking garage.
This would not have been so bad had it not been for my friend, gripping onto the dashboard and the car door screaming, "YOU'RE GOING TO HIT THE POLE! OH! WE'RE GOING TO DIE! YOU'RE GOING TO HIT THE POLE!" Every. Single. Time. I went around a curve.
At first I thought she was joking because well, she's funny like that. Sometimes.
But after about the, uh, I don't know....the 16th time...she said it, I realized that she was quite serious. Of course, I'm kind of a nervous driver to begin with, so I wouldn't take my eyes off the ramp once...because I thought, "Gosh, maybe she's right. Maybe I am going to hit a pole. I better be really careful."
When we finally reached the parking garage, she pointed at every spot and instructed me to park in it. Once I decided on the perfect spot, I did park the car. At which point my friend threw her head back, let out the longest sigh I've ever heard in my life, promptly threw open the door and got out of the car.
Needless to say, I don't think she'll ever ride with me again. Even if I was driving her to sign a contract with a major publishing house for a significant deal.