Dear Man at Winco: I’m Sorry :(

Dear handsome man in the tight pants at Winco,

I’m sorry.

I really am.

In retrospect, I don’t blame you for shooting me a weird look and walking away.  I would have walked away, too.  I even feel a little sorry for you.  I mean, you were obviously about to buy some kind of meat.  I noticed you pondering the choices out of the corner of my eye as I walked up to stand beside you.

I wonder, were you going to buy a steak?  Maybe you were going to enjoy one of the dwindling days of summer and grill it up on your BBQ? Maybe you were going to buy some stew meat, and make something in your crockpot the next day?

I’ll never know, and I guess neither will you, since I chased you away.

It wasn’t my intention at all.  Really.  I’m doing so much better than I used to.  Please, you gotta believe me.  It’s just….

I mean, have you ever seen ground beef packaged like that?  I haven’t. Usually you only see it in those three pound sausage-casings of ground beef, you know?  But this was, like, the mother of all ground beef packages.  It was crazy.  I can’t remember the exact weight, but it was, like, somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds of ground beef.  I didn’t even realize that they could sell that much ground beef at one time.

And have you noticed that the price of beef skyrocketed this year?  It’s crazy, isn’t it?  When I inquired about price-per-pound at my local fair, did you know I found out that all the beef had already been sold ahead of time?  People were getting the same price for their beef cattle without “dressing them out” on grain as they did for “finished beef” last year.  I wonder why it’s so expensive this year?

But you know, I’ll never know how you feel about that, because I chased you away from the meat section of Winco.  I chased you away, and you left empty-handed, and for that I’m really sorry.

It’s just… dude.  Had you ever seen a tube of ground beef that was so big?  It was insane!  It was, like, almost too big for me to carry with two hands.  Like, I couldn’t even wrap both hands around it, and the packaging had to have been about 2 feet long.  Who needs that much ground beef at one time?

And the price was discounted!  They’d dropped the price from $31 to $21!  At that price, it was almost cheaper than chicken.  What the heck happens to ground beef to make it that cheap?  Would I give us all food poisoning if I bought it?  Was it worth it?

And so, mesmerized by the price per pound, I approached the meat display area beside you. And at first… you know, it was okay.  You were standing there, doing your thing.  I was standing there, doing my thing…

And then I started talking out loud.  To myself.  I know, I know.  It’s a horrible habit, and I really need to quit it.

“Wow.  That is just a really impressive tube of meat.  It’s just so… so thick!  Look at it.  Wow, it’s so big. That’s a lot of meat.  Wow.  Look at the… circumference?  What an impressive tube of meat – just a big, huge, hunk of impressive meat.  I bet I couldn’t even wrap my hands around it, it’s so thick.  That is just really impressive.”

And I don’t blame you for the look you gave me before you walked away.  I really don’t.  I know there are a lot of off-color stereotype jokes about black Americans, but I assure you, I really was just looking at the ground beef.  I mean, I would hope that if I were actually flirting with you I’d do a better job than that… but yeah, I get it.

Just… can I ask you a favor?

Can you never go to that particular Winco, ever again?  I think it’s best if we never see each other, ever again.

And again… sorry 😦

Porn: It’s Not What It Used To Be

I wanted to call the first section “Porn for 15-Year-Olds”, because then it would have been a perfect 10 year gap between each of the ages, but…well….. yeah.  No.

Anyways.


Porn for 19-year-olds:


And then McStudface Handsomepants pulled Falina BigBosom into his strongly muscled arms, sliding a hand down the taut curve of her waist as his mouth trapped hers.  Desire exploded between them, passion igniting their flesh as they molded their bodies together. Despite the fact they dangled from harnesses hundreds of feet in the air and wind tore at their clothes as the rescue helicopter flew them to safety, they were so c
aught up in the feel of each other they were unaware of anything else. Neither of them noticed as last of the bombs exploded in the distance,  decimating the entire village of evil politicians and complacent, materialistic adults.

Falina BigBosom had always known she was born for something special, but she’d never dreamed she would single-handedly cure cancer by ridding the world of every bad guy ever born… there would be peace on earth now.  The word was finally saved, not that she was thinking about her heroism right then… all that mattered was the feel of the McStudFace Handomepants pressed against her and the way his touch lit her body on  fire….





Porn for 25-year-olds:

And then I found a one bedroom apartment for the same price as my old studio, and it allows pets with no deposit… oh, yeah…. no deposits, and no breed or size restrictions.  Yeah, baby, that’s right… this means I can work less hours and still have savings.

I’m just gonna say that again, with a little heavier breathing..  Lean over and let me whisper it into your ear.  Saaaaaviiiiiiiingggs.  Oh, yeaaaah….Mmmm.

I’m gonna take it even further….the apartment comes with a parking space and a built-in washer and dryer, right there in the house… Mmmmm, No parking tickets, and dat washer/dryer right in the house….. any time I need to, I can just wash my clothes in the comfort and safety of my own apartment… oh, yeah.    I’m gonna wash them… I’m gonna wash those dirty clothes so hard….




Porn for 35-year-olds:

Wait… what?  You’re switching our insurance plan over to government benefits?  $10 emergency room copays, and that’s all it will ever cost us?   WHAT?  The benefits include a vision, dental, and one of those sweet retirement plans where they force you to retire early but keep paying you a salary anyways? AND you’re giving me a promotion and a raise?  AND you’re going to pay for me and the whole family to do a 6 month tour of South America, Europe and Asia, just to get a better feel for the international side of the business?  




Porn for Moms:

The afternoon breeze lifts the sheer curtains, bringing with it the scent of salt and sea.  The french doors are open, the veranda overlooking an empty stretch of beach – deserted stretches of sand, sea and the occasional palm tree, as far as the eye could see.  The island is empty, and it should have been lonely, but the dull crash of the crystalline waves against the sandy shore is soothing in the near silence. 

I step back into my room, my body aching from the hours of early morning swimming, my skin tingling from the hours I spent in the sun – hours that magically tanned my skin without giving me any wrinkles or skin cancer.  I’m clean – scrubbed with expensive bath products I’ve never used before, so my hair is doing that soft, frizzless thing that it only does when I take a shower at someone else’s house.  Silky strands slip around my bare shoulders as I pull on a comfortable tank top… a tank top that doesn’t need a bra but still manages to hold up my boobs so they don’t sag and make me feel gross . Despite the heat of the day the room is cool – minimalist in nature, yet still opulent.  The floors are clean, the walls are clean, everything is clean, and I didn’t have to lift a single finger to make it that way.   A wide-bladed fan rotates lazily over a giant, double king size bed with cool, white sheets and a cool white comforter.  There must be an air conditioner, not that I can hear it over the steady sound of the waves and soothing silence – how else would the room be so cold?

I slip into bed, goose bumps dancing over my arms at the initial chill as I huddle beneath the blankets. What time is it?  What day is it?  I don’t know.  I can sleep as late, and as long as I want, because somewhere, in some magical laboratory, some scientist has linked how much I rest with with how intelligent and well-behaved my children will be.  How many days in a row have I napped?  I have no idea, but at this rate, my boys are going to be the Mother Theresas of the Mensa Society.  And as my eyelids close and I slip into sleep, my last thought is of nothing – nothing at all.  There is only the dim, clean room, the afternoon breeze, and the sound of the sea in my dreams.




By request:

Porn for Women with Grown Children:

The dress hugs my body, clinging tightly to my slim hips and tight rear.  I crane my neck as I twist to see myself in the mirror.  The scoop back dips low, almost too low, exposing the smooth skin of my shoulder blades and the firm curve of my  waist, but it stops short of impropriety.  The material is silky and thin, sliding over my skin.  I run a hand down the side of my hip, and twist the other way, making sure everything is just right before I step into my heels.  As I do so, I breathe a sigh of relief. My feet hurt after the six days of camping and hiking I just finished – sure, I slept great on my thin sleeping bag spread over the ground, and I awoke refreshed each night with my neck and back feeling like I’d just finished an hour with a masseuse…. but in retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have gone backpacking in the Mongolian wilderness the day after I earned a new personal record at the Ironman Triathalon.  I know I have endless amounts of energy and almost no need for sleep, but still.  Even I have limits.

I wiggle my toes and give a happy little moan.  My feet feel incredible in these heels.  What would I do without my orthotic heels, that both massage your feet even as they tone your legs and remove cellulite?  The longer you wore them, the higher the heel, the more toned your legs and butt became and the better your feet felt… if there was a downside, I hadn’t found one.  I glance at myself in the mirror again, at the way the silky dress hugs my skin, hiding nothing – not that there’s anything to hide.  I shake my head in awe.

When the company my children founded discovered how to manipulate genes and create an anti-aging serum…. well, I’d say the information was priceless, but since I had bought stock in the very beginning, as a gazillionaire I can definitely assure you it had a price.  It was amazing to have my teenage body back – all that energy, supple joints and smooth, perfect skin.  I’d missed the feeling of joints that weren’t tired, of being able to hop out of bed without any aches or pains straight onto feet that didn’t feel like there were needles being shoved through them.  It was just a shame, really, that the drug only seemed to work for women, and only women who had begun to experience pre-menopause symptoms. Hot flashes were now a cause for celebration, and something you looked forward to with all the excitement of a child waiting for Disneyland to open.  It was a shame it didn’t work on men, … but honestly, after decades of menstrual cycles and the “joy” of pregnancy and childbirth, it seemed only fair.

I glanced at my watch and bit back a yelp.  Crap!  If I didn’t leave right now I was going to be late to the ceremony for my daughter, and how embarrassing would that be?  After all, they only award the Nobel Peace Prize once a year….

I Love You, Bean. And You Love Me, Too?

I love you, Bean.

You’re very handsome.

And sexy.

I don’t tell you that nearly enough.  Seriously.  You’re really handsome, and really sexy, and my favorite thing about you is how your eyes manage to be soft and intelligent at the same time.  It’s a rare thing.  Usually, when people are extremely intelligent, you can see it snapping and crackling behind their eyes, like they’re lit by an internal fire.

Yours do that.

But for some reason, when people are very, very smart, the ferocity of the intelligence in their eyes burns away all the warmth.

Your eyes are not like that.  They’re just… they’re just warm.  And kind.  And intelligent.  All at once.  It’s amazing how kind your eyes are, especially when you consider some of the people you’ve encountered after 10+ years selling cars.

Also, your stubble is sexy.  I’ve always had a thing – a really, really big thing for guys that grow sexy 5 o’clock shadows.  And you do, every single day.  If you take two days off of shaving, you look like every “dangerous bad guy who is sexy” that Hollywood ever casts.  Have you ever noticed that I invent reasons to touch your face, whenever you get that sexy stubble going?  No?  Well, I do.

Anyways, I love you.

And you love me too, right?

Because I really, really, really meant to just go to the store and get apple juice, some baby powder, and some gloves.

For reals.  I did.

Except, except there was this sign, you see?  It was this big, creepy wooden sign, and somebody had spray painted on it, and it had a big arrow trying to lure innocent people down an alley.

And I thought to myself:  OMG.  Every single CSI or Law & Order show I’ve ever seen starts just like this.  Someone drives down the alley with the creepy wooden sign and the arrow luring them down, and then they die.

FREE KITTENS…, the sign said.  FREE KITTENS…. except there was no ellipsis.  Instead, the letters just kind of trailed off, like the font they use in spooky Halloween movies.

And as I looked at that creepy wooden sign with the spooky letters, my instincts surged inside me, and I thought, “Dude.  I’m either going to get raped and die, or I am going to end up with the coolest free kitten ever.”

So I turned down that gravel road, and there was a house at the end of it… and this guy kind of came out, and I thought… well, here goes nothing.

“So,” I said, as I stepped out of my car.  “So… do you have any free kittens?” Because, obviously, I have no survival skills, and I totally would have gotten into the windowless van that said “Free puppy” if I were a kid.  And I’m sorry that the mother of your children is so dumb, but at least she makes good mashed potatoes, right?

Anyways, there’s good news!  Bean, he totally had kittens.  It wasn’t a trap.  And he totally didn’t rape and kill me. And can’t we both agree that, really, doesn’t this story have the best possible ending?

Because, no lying, I really told myself I wasn’t going to take a free kitten unless it was some kind of amazing cat.  I had gone out for apple juice, and baby powder, and gloves.  There was no point in grabbing a kitten just because someone put the word “free” in front of it, no matter how much that makes my greedy little heart thump wildly.

But, Bean?  Bean, he scooted a box to the side with his foot, and right there crawling around beside a bunch of car parts just sitting down on the ground, there was a kitten or two.  And they were just mediocre-looking kittens, and you would have been so proud, because I wasn’t going to take them, even though I did like the look of them.

But then he moved this other box and he pulled out this one kitten, and I was like, “Yup.  Yup, this is why my instincts told me to come down this road.”

And I grabbed the kitten, flipped up the tail, and yup.  Yup, it was totally a boy.  It was a boy, and it was calm, and it was a kitten color I’ve never seen before in my entire life, and everything just kind of felt right.

And I was like, “Okay, thanks for the free kitten!”  and not raping and killing me.  “Have a great day!”… and I got in my car and drove out of their before anything worse could happen.

And… and I love you?  I’m sorry.  I really honestly never intend on bringing home animals every time I turn around.  But… but I have a good feeling about this kitty?  And I’m calling him Bad Decision, but you can totally name him when you come home.

And this is what he looks like now:

And this is possibly the color he’s going to grow up into (he’s more brown than he looks in the photos, so he looks like a chocolate smoke, but he could be a black smoke?)

(Black smoke cat)
(Chocolate smoke cat – although I think the kitten will probably be the color up above.)

Bean, you know that Coyote is lonely since Bubbles died.  And you know that Fat Cat isn’t going to live forever.  And I’m sorry that I once again just kind of added to our family without consulting you first.  Despite how it appears, I’m not  actually trying to turn us into a some kind of crazy animal circus .  It’s just… I just know you really want a cat that sleeps on your side of the bed, and Coyote only ever lays with me, and the house was just calmer and happier when Bubbles was here….

And my first thought when I drove away was, “Man, I really suck at this being an adult thing.”  But then I realized… actually, no.  No, I’m pretty sure this is adulting done right.

And I really am sorry I didn’t consult you first, but it was either untimely  death or kitten, and I chose kitten.

And….and I love you?

And you love me?  Right?

I’m friends with Diana Gabaldon’s Behind

A couple of months ago a local writer, Sharon Hughson, reached out to me and asked if I wanted to go to the Willamette Writer’s Conference with her.
A writer’s conference?  Sure?  Why not?  It sounded like fun.  It also sounded expensive…. but I had months to save up.  How hard would it be?

You know what?  Let’s fast forward past all of the unimportant parts.

Let’s fast forward past Sharon and I meeting weeks ahead of time and planning out which workshops we wanted to attend.

Well, I say “us meeting” and “planning out” – but I mean it in the sense that I agreed to meet her for a lunch she arranged, and even then she had to print out two schedules because I waited last minute and couldn’t get my printer to work.  Also, after we decided which ones suited us best, she slid the paperwork into a folder, put the folder in her little briefcase thingie, and then input the circled workshops on her smartphone calendar.

I, on the other hand, dropped the my paperwork on the floorboard of my car, stepped on them, spilled some coffee on them, shook them out, and then wadded them up into the glove box until the morning of the conference.

Let’s fast forward past me not saving a dime ahead of time, and borrowing money last-minute from my mom, because at 33 I still suck at being an adult.

Let’s also fast forward past Sharon arriving two minutes early to pick me up in beautiful, clean vehicle only to find me waving at her frantically from the porch, saying, “One moment please!” while I searched for a semi-clean bra in the wad of “sort-of-needs-to-be-washed-but-can-be-worn-last-minute” laundry that was stacked on the treadmill.

I mean, everyone keeps that mound of dirty laundry separate from the “dude-don’t-even-think-of-walking-on-this-barefoot-or-you’ll-get-foot-leprosy-or-something” laundry pile…..right?

Please don’t answer that.

Let’s fast forward past my realization that Sharon and I were essentially the Odd Couple, and why had this poor woman agreed to hang around me, and for that matter, if we were the Odd Couple then that made me me Walter Matthau, and it was only six in the morning, and that was just waaaaay too early to feel like Walter Matthau.

Sharon, I’m sorry I made you sit on a towel when it was my day to carpool because I haven’t vacuumed my car in months.  Also, I’m sorry I didn’t print out directions and made you tell me how to get to the hotel, even though I had a smart phone right beside me.  

You know what?  Let’s just fast forward past all that stuff, and let’s just jump right to the best part…. or, maybe the worst part.  I haven’t quite decided yet.

The keynote speaker at the Saturday evening  party (which I didn’t attend, because holy crap, I’d already dropped $319 on a ticket, and while it was worth it, it was still $319 for a two-day conference) was none other than Diana Gabaldon.

Look, I know that there are some of you out there who don’t know who she is (COUGH.  THE BEAN.  COUGH.), so let me explain:

Diana Gabaldon wrote a book called Outlander, and that book has been my favorite book since I was 19 years old.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to hold the #1 book spot for 14 years straight?  I read two or so books a week – back before I had kids, that number was closer to 3 or 4 books a week.  Admittedly, sometimes I’m rereading a book I’ve already read, but still… fourteen years, and not one book has ever come close to knocking Outlander off of its perch.

I still vividly remember the first time I read it I was 19 years old.   My parents had taken me on a three day Mexican cruise – Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, and invited me along.

I’m sure they thought it would be terribly romantic, that their college-age daughter would be able to interact with others and maybe make a few friends, but instead, I trailed after them like a lost puppy dog the entire time.  Oh, sure – the food was delicious…. but if I am socially inept now, it was even worse when I was younger.  For the first day and a half, I just trailed along after my mom, eyeballing the laughing, relaxed people, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and feeling desperately out of place.

Eventually, after more than 24 hours of my constant shadowing, my parents kicked me out of our shared cruise room suite.

“Get out, Becky.  Go meet some people.”

“I’m fine,” I said, sinking down onto my cot to look at them- the little cot which faced their bed and gave them zero privacy.

“No, really,” said my mom, with a very pointed stare…. a very pointed stare which went right over my head, because I was dense like that.  “We are just going to take a nap, so you should head out – it’s too early for you to go to bed.  Go out, make some friends – I don’t want to see you back here before 11 tonight.”  And then she essentially had to shove me out of the room and lock the door behind me.

In retrospect – dude.  I’m sorry, Mom.  I think it’s a teensy bit possible you didn’t actually want to just nap at 8:30 in the evening, and I’m sorry I suck at hints.

So… I left.  I wandered around the cruise ship for nearly an hour, trying to figure out what to do with myself.  I was never one to party, I was stuffed to the gills on food, and my bathing suit was back in the cabin.  So, I just meandered around, past the all-you can eat buffet and the magician with the bawdy jokes, past the dancing couples grinding together to the beat of the bass, past the  flirting 30-somethings, and the late night musicians, and the slot machines, and the library, and the…

Wait.  THE LIBRARY?  I threw on the brakes and back-tracked so hard it was amazing I didn’t leave burned-out skid marks on the ornate carpeting.

The library was a work of art – all gleaming wood, and backlit bookcases and curving couches.  As soon as I walked through the doorway I felt at home, despite how empty it was… or maybe because it was so empty? The scent of book pages mixed with the scent of wood cleaner, and I felt a smile spread over my face.  Something about the lateness of the hour made it feel like my own, personal library. I walked along the shelves for a long time, running my fingertips over the tops of the books, trying to figure out what I wanted to read.  Having no responsibilities and a bookcase full of unread books is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and even at 19 I understood this kind of opportunity wouldn’t repeat itself very often. I wanted a good book – one I hadn’t read before, and with as many books as I read, that was starting to be tough.

On impulse, I tilted back a thick book to better look at it – the front looked interesting, so I pulled it all the way off the shelf.  Also, for the record, if you think you can’t judge a book by its cover… well, then I say you haven’t read enough books:

I ran my fingers over the embossed jacket, and then flipped it open and read the synopsis on the inside.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with 
her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the
 ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

And that was it.  I was gone.

I don’t remember much about the rest of the cruise.  I remember opening the book and reading the first few pages as I stood by the bookcase.

After about twenty-five minutes I realized, very dimly, that my legs hurt and I needed to sit down.  I felt my way over to the couch by the window with my toes, staggering with the roll of the ship but unwilling to drag my eyes away from the pages long enough to walk a straight path.  I collapsed on the crushed velvet seating, kicking off my shoes and tucking one leg under the other, and let myself be sucked under completely.

Several hours later a full bladder forced me to surface back to reality.  When I glanced at the clock, I was horrified.  3:30 am?  Holy crap.  I glanced around, looking for a way to check out the book, but I couldn’t see one.  Was I allowed to bring it back?  What if I put it on the shelf, and then someone got up early the next morning and started reading it?   I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take a book back to my room or not… but I sure as heck wasn’t putting it down.  Glancing around to make sure nobody saw me, I shoved the book down the front of my pants and hunched my shoulders so the front of the shirt hung loose.  There.  Perfect. Nobody could see the outline of the book.

Feeling pleased with myself, I waddled back to the room, stepping pigeon-toed so the book didn’t jostle loose and fall down my pants leg.  I hated when that happened.  At the time, I felt pretty smug with my ingenuity.

In retrospect…

Great job, 19 year old Becky.  Great job.  I’m sure you looked totally normal, shuffle-stepping down that hallway, practically bent in half, arms dangling forward lest your shirt pull tight across your stomach and show the outline of the book.

Oh, yeah. That’s much less conspicuous than, you know, just holding the book in your hand and walking back to your room.  You rock, you criminal mastermind, you.

Anyways, I remember sneaking into the cabin, feeling relief that my parents weren’t upset that I had stayed out so late, and then hiding in that ridiculously tiny bathroom until 4am because it was the only source of light I had.

I remember my parents waking up at 7 or 8, and whispering to each other.

“She’s still asleep – how late was she out?”
“I don’t know… it was really late, though.  Two?  Three?  I wonder where she went?”
“Dancing?  Probably not the bar – she’s too young.”
“That’s wonderful – she must have met some people.  I’m glad she finally got out.”

I remember waiting for the door to close and then pouncing on the book I’d hidden under my pillow, and delving right back into the world of Jamie and Claire.

I remember moving from the cabin to the top of the ship around 1pm, and being annoyed when I had to put down the book for dinner that night.

I remember finishing it about four hours before the cruise was over, and spending those next few hours, walking around in a daze.  Where was I?  Who was I?  What country was I in?  I felt awkwardly uncomfortable, trapped in my body, instead of living in Claire’s head.

Once I was back on land it took me almost a week to track down a used copy of the book…. but it was just as good the second time through.

And the third.

And the fourteenth.

And, well, let’s just say that one of the reasons I was excited to finally got a Nook was because, just like Shogun and Lonesome Dove, I was sick of buying new copies of the paperback book because the spine kept breaking in the middle every couple of years.

It’s hard to say how many times I’ve read that book, because I know it so well I tend to just leaf through it and read my favorite parts when I’m in the mood.  I bought each new book the moment they came out.  Heck, when I lived in the mountains I once drove five hours roundtrip to the nearest bookstore, just so I could get the next book in the series.

AND THEN I WENT TO A CONFERENCE, AND DIANA GABALDON WAS THE MAIN SPEAKER.

Guys, this was hands-down the most humiliating experience of my life.  Well, if I’m being honest, it probably wasn’t… but it’s the most humiliating experience I can think of right now.

It was Saturday evening at the conference, and I had just gotten out of a workshop, and I turned around, and THERE SHE WAS.  DIANA GABALDON.  THE WOMAN WHO WROTE OUTLANDER.  AND SHE LOOKED JUST LIKE SHE DOES ON HER PICTURES ON THE INTERNET, EXCEPT MAYBE PRETTIER, AND SHE WAS WEARING THIS GORGEOUS FLOWING SKIRT, AND…

And I got so overwhelmed I ducked behind a doorway and hid from her.

I wish I was joking.  I really, really wish I was just over-exaggerating at this point.  I’m not.  I got so overwhelmed at seeing the author of my favorite book that I literally darted behind a solid object so I could stare at her without her seeing me.

And look, when you’re a little kid doing something like that – hiding behind a door and peeking shyly around the corner, it’s cute.

But when you’re 5’8 in your bare feet, and have red hair, and are close to 200 pounds – it’s not cute.  It’s just weird.

AND THEN SHE WENT AROUND THE CORNER, AND I COULDN’T SEE HER ANYMORE…. and I snuck from my hiding place and followed her.  Literally.  I stayed about 20 feet away, and I followed her from hallway to hallway, because I obviously need medication and should not be allowed in public.

Diana, I’m sorry.  You really need to have bodyguards who follow you around and protect you from weirdos like me.  You should be able to go to a writer conference and not have giant red-haired women sneaking around corners and following you all over the place.  I understand you’re just a normal person.  You’re just a writer, the same as any other writer, and you’re just a normal woman, like me, except you have great hair and exceptional fashion sense.  I know this, on a cerebral level.

And yet…

And yet I totally followed you around for, like, ten minutes, and I was horrified while I was doing it, but I couldn’t help myself.

And then someone stopped you, and started talking to you, and you were just SO NICE TO THEM.  So I thought, DO IT, BECKY.  GO TALK TO HER.  DO IT.  YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET THIS IF YOU DON’T.

And so I went and waited in line behind the totally sane person who had the guts to approach Diana first.

And by waited in line I mean that I stood about five feet away from the two of them and bounced my weight from foot to foot, like a toddler that has to pee, trying to rehearse in my head what I was going to say.

“Diana,” I’d say,  “Diana, I know you’re busy, and I don’t want to take up your time.  I just wanted to say that Outlander has been my favorite book since I was 19 years old, and considering I read about 2-3 books a week, give or take,  fourteen years straight in the #1 position is really saying something.  I respect you as an author, and having followed your blog for some time, I respect you as a person, and I really appreciate your ability to create complex characters with real faults…. thank you so much for the joy your books have given me.”

That’s what I was going to say.  That’s exactly what I was going to say, guys.  I rehearsed it in my head.  And it sounded great, and it was going to be so perfect….

Except when the lady in front of me stopped talking, I jumped in before Diana could leave, and just as I opened my mouth to speak I realized – they weren’t done talking.  The lady was reaching for her camera, so they could take a selfie.  And I was interrupting this lady’s chance for a selfie with Diana, and wait, we could take pictures with her?  WHERE WAS MY CELL PHONE?  Did I leave it in my backpack?  Wait… where was my backpack?  And holy crap, focus Becky, because they are both staring at you, waiting for you to say something since you just leapt between them with all the grace of a hyperactive elephant, and….

“Diana I read your books. A lot.  And I still like them, which is something, considering since I first read your book sixteen.  Wait… I meant I was 19.  Wait, I don’t mean I still like them, I mean I’ve read two to three books and yours is still my favorite, and the joy and respect  you have for me.. I mean, I for you… I mean, I’ve read more than 3 books, I meant three a year… wait, a week.  Two to three books a week… and what I’m trying to say is you’re complex, and thank you.”

And then I turned around and pretty much literally ran away from them, because not only did my rehearsed speech not come out right, it wasn’t even English.

And as I left, with my face turning so red it was throbbing, I  heard her murmur something very gracious about, “Well thank you, very much,” which I’m sure meant, “Thank you very much for not asking to touch me, or lick me, or anything creepy like that, because that’s obviously the kind of crazy you seem to be.”

And then I spent the next five minutes wandering around, trying to erase the memory of just how embarrassing that interaction was.

Eventually I met up with Sharon, and it all came spilling out.  “Sharon, I saw Diana.  DIANA GABALDON.  And I tried to talk to her, but when I opened my mouth, it just came out gibberish, and I really don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my entire life…. and not only did I just make a fool of myself with my favorite author of all time, I didn’t even get a picture with her.”

“Well, why don’t you go back and ask her for a picture?”  Sharon’s a reasonable sort like that.

“I can’t.  I can’t.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to call the hotel cops on me if I approach her again.” Nobody has ever accused me of being reasonable.

“I’m sure it’s not a big deal – she probably gets asked all the time.”

“I can’t!  It’s too weird!”

“Nonsense- there’s someone taking a picture with her right now.  Just do it, Becky.”

“I caaaaaaaan’t.  I’ve ruined it, foreeeeeeever.  And now I’ll never have a picture with her, ever, and…”  And I spent the next five minutes forcing Sharon to listen to me whine about how I wanted a picture with Diana, but I couuuuuuldn’t…. because apparently the only difference between me and a screaming Justin Bieber fan is that Diana doesn’t have concerts I can attend.

Since the workshops were done for the day, Sharon and I decided to grab a bite to eat and socialize at the buffet table before heading home.

And that’s when it happened – I turned around to look for some water, and….

There.

She.

WAS.

“Quick!”  I hissed at Sharon.  “Get out your camera!  Take a picture!”

“What?”

“It’s Diana!  Quick!  Get out your cell phone!  Mine has a dead battery!  Get a picture of me with her!”

“Now?”  She asked.  “Don’t you want to ask her to turn around?  Or maybe let her finish filling her plate?”

“No! Don’t say anything!  Just… just quick!  Take a picture!”

And I’m here to tell you, you have never known fear until you’ve crept up behind someone you really, really, REALLY admire in order to take a picture of  their butt.

What this picture doesn’t capture is just how quickly I bolted the opposite direction as soon as Sharon snapped the photo – I was horrified that Diana was going to turn around and see me there.  I’m not sure how you explain something like that.  “Oh, don’t mind me.  I’m just deliberately approaching you while you’re vulnerable, so I can take pictures of your back end.”

But she didn’t turn around, and I got the photo, and so as horribly embarrassing as everything was, I now have a picture of me and Diana G., and that’s pretty awesome.

When I showed the picture to The Bean and tried to explain it he just looked at me in confusion and said, “Who is Diane?”

And you know what?  I don’t even care.  I mean, we all know Jamie wouldn’t say something like that… but who am I kidding?  Jamie Fraser may have said the perfect thing, but then again, Claire Randall wouldn’t have been skulking around hotel hallways to take pictures with people’s butt, so I guess it all works out.

And besides – it was all worth it.

Because now I have a photo of me.

Me and Diana’s shapely behind.

Eat your heart out, Internet.

(I’m sorry, Diana.  I’m really, truly sorry you can’t go through a buffet line without having 
people like me demand pictures with your butt.  If I ever see you again, I promise
 to stick to hiding behind doorways to stare at you while you eat your dinner in peace.)