Sunday, June 26, 2011

Biggest Road Trip "Oops" Yet!

by Sophie


I did a really dumb thing last week while Juliet and I were traveling all over creation to promote our new books.

A BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL and HEXES AND HEMLINES are brand spanking new, and we were full of excitement not just about new books but about visiting places we'd never been before. We started the tour in Crested Butte, Colorado and finished in Phoenix, Arizona and hit Texas in between. We set out to find stellar barbecue and glorious vistas and we were not disappointed.

(Check out my personal blog or Facebook page for pictures from the trip!)

me and juliet on the night of the big Ooops before we understood the horrors to follow

When we rolled into Phoenix Friday, we were starting to show the signs of wear. Like my red carryon suitcase (which I believe I bought for one of our first trips together, two years ago!) we were overtaxed, overstuffed, a bit dirty and worn around the edges. Also, it was 103 degrees. This was, in fact, an improvement over the 107 in Tucson the day before, and the humidity was far below sweltering Houston earlier in the week ("It's a dry heat!" everyone in AZ seems compelled to chortle at newcomers) but it was still a bit...shocking.

Juliet and I stopped by the grocery for provisions (by which we mean alcohol and potato chips, of course) and then headed for the beautiful Biltmore Hotel, where the Poisoned Pen Readers' Conference was to be held. We love this hotel - it's one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most stunning creations - but it has a very long, inconvenient parking lot from which one's room is about a ten-mile trek. Of course we didn't need assistance with our bags - we're young! (ish) - and Capable with a capital 'C'! So off we slogged, over the curbs and lawns and paths, threading between casitas and pools and tennis court, until at last we arrived at our lovely room.

Now comes the really dumb part. Keep in mind that i was toting my carryon, an enormous shoulder bag that weighed about 40 pounds before I put the jugs of wine in, a coffee, and snacks - and perhaps you'll understand why, when I dropped the rental car keys somewhere en route, I didn't notice.

Oh, heartless Fate. The next thirty-six hours rolled blissfully by as we did our thing, ignorant of the horrors to come. Saturday night, as we were heading from a bar "meeting" with some of our fellow authors, Juliet casually said "hey, we ought to find the keys before that 5am wakeup call."

And thank heavens she did, or we wouldn't have been able to spend
- 1 hour frantically searching the room
- 30 minutes trying to search around the car in the dark, unlighted parking lot, peering into the windows with only the iPhone for light to see if they were on the seats or floor
- 30 minutes on hold with the rental car's roadside assistance (truly, it ought to be renamed "roadside indifference") before giving up and spending
- 1 hour waiting for AAA locksmith who then spent
- 2 hours breaking into our car, dismantling most of it including pieces that were several feet apart in an effort to get to the lock mechanism, and attempting (and failing) to make a new key for us by which time it was

....2:30am, when a nice nighttime security lady came by to see what was up, called over to Lost&Found (the same one I'd called earlier only to be rebuffed) and discovered that they had the key.

Locked in a safe, which wasn't due to be opened until the 6am shift arrived.

At which time we were supposed to be at the airport.

awesome firepower in the locksmith's van...still not enough

People, I didn't cry. I can't believe it now, because that was a desperate moment, but Juliet kept reminding me that at least no one had been hurt and we weren't in an emergency room or something (she has the patience of a SAINT! Saint Juliet!), and somehow I just kept nodding and going "aahhhhuuuuhhh" which means something like "what the fuck do we do now." Can I just say that I love Security Lady Jamie? She told us to go to bed and she'd start trying to get her supervisor out of bed. We were skeptical - I was fully expecting to have to have the car towed to the airport (extra distance towing fees!) and pay the lost key charge ($208!) but somehow I managed to doze off for a couple of hours at which time -

Phone rings and nice man says Jamie's been knocking on our door but we weren't answering. We leap out of bed and there she is with our key!

So, anyway, we made it to the airport and even had time for a bagel and now here we are, back in our beloved bay area and already the horrors of the last night are beginning to fade away, turning gently into the kind of lore that we'll laugh about for years. But my heavens, did I feel ridiculous!!

So the Pens are going to be Oops'ing for the next two weeks, and I hope you readers will pop in with "oops" moments of your own in the comments - if only to make me feel a little better about all of this.

A final thought to leave you with, courtesy of a little bar we stumbled on in Tucson:


Rachael Herron said...

I can just hear you both. I can actually hear both your voices as you write this, and I almost feel like I was there (I wish I had been -- I would have contributed NOTHING but I would have done a good combo of AUGH-calm.) Welcome home!

Juliet Blackwell said...

Hahahhahahahahaha!!! Laughing already! Feels particularly funny with a good night's sleep under my belt ;-)
Miss you already!

L.G.C. Smith said...

See, now when these things happen to other people, they're endearingly human. Glad you're both back home. We missed you. :)

Mysti said...

yikes! glad you all made it home safe!

Once I locked the keys in the car--Dad and little bro and me on a lightning run from Nevada to Florida to pick up a glider trailer.

I can't remember how we got out of it. Just remembered feeling like I was going to up and die in the face of my dad's extreme...frustration. As an adult, I wonder, why was a 14 year old in charge of the car keys?

Lesa Holstine said...

Like Rachel, I can hear your voices, Sophie. It's a good thing the two of you travel well together. This would have been a disaster had it been my late husband and me, and, no matter who dropped the keys, it would have been MY fault.

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