Friday, March 21, 2008

Truck Stuck/Tire Flat--it seems appropriate

Did I mention that I got a flat tire going to the book signing at the Maple Street Book Shop in New Orleans? There is more to the story than that. My cousin Becky had offered to pick me up at my hotel and drive me to the signing. We had allowed extra time and Becky arrived bright and early. I was still trying on clothes. I settled on an outfit and hurried downstairs to meet her. I hopped in the car and off we went. I was staying in the French Quarter and Maple Street Books is out near Tulane Unviersity (I think.) Beyond the garden district. Beyond Becky's yoga studio,(Audubon Yoga Studio),beyond where I had eaten the night before--some fabulous restaurant. We were almost at the bookstore when I realized I had forgotten my suitcase full of trucks. When I do a reading I bring along visual aides. Well, we seemed to have time enough, so we turned around and started zipping down St. Charles St. We were making good time and were about 6 blocks from my hotel when BANG!, a tire blew. Since Katrina and all the construction going on and no money or crews to repair the streets there are all kinds of hazards such as pot holes and nails. Becky's tire wasn't just flat, it was ruined. (She said it was about the 6th tire she'd blown since Katrina.)

We looked at each other. "Now what do we do?" asked Becky. "I've never changed a flat before."

"Do you have AAA?" I asked. She did. "Why don't you call them to help you with the car and I'll catch a taxi back to the hotel and then to the bookstore. We can meet up there."

So I abandoned Becky to her flat tire and set out to flag down a cab when a trolley car rolled down the tracks that had probably caused our flat. I hopped on board knowing I would end up just two blocks from the hotel. From there I high-tailed it to my room, grabbed my suitcase full of trucks, the one the TSA inspectors had had to search, and hailed a cab. The driver did not know where Maple Street was so I told him to drive out St. Charles St. and said that I was in a hurry. "I'm not rushing for anyone," he said. "You can take another cab if you want." But we kept going. I got on my phone and called the bookstore. The owner answered and seemed to take it in stride that I would be arriving late. She gave me directions (straight out St. Charles St. to Broadway, right on Broadway two blocks and left on Maple and you are practically there.)

It turned out that I was only about ten minutes late and so was everyone else showing up, but in the end I read to a nice crowd and Becky arrived about an hour later. Her boyfriend had come to her rescue. She knew that would be faster than AAA. Alls well that ends well. And what could be more appropriate than a flat tire for the writer of Truck Stuck?

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