December 2, 2012
The Curse of the Santa Hat


It should be noted that I am refraining from all things cat-related even though Otis spent yesterday (and is spending to today) at the vet and returned to us wearing a red Ace bandage and a Cone of Shame.   I know on the surface I seem overly interested in my own cat, but that isn’t really what’s going on here—this is what’s going on:  For the money we have spent on him this year, John and I could’ve taken a vacation and then I would be writing about that.  So, when I write about Otis, I am really writing about two weeks in New York.

While Otis was spending all our hard-earned cash, we were at Costco where I was signing books for two hours.  The people were very nice and supplied me with nearly a dozen thin-tip black Sharpies, four more thin-tip colored Sharpies and, my favorite, an extensive rainbow of Sharpies with multiple shades of blues, pinks, oranges, greens, lavenders.  I was also given two bottles of water and a large bowl of chocolates that I was expected to share with other customers, most of whom came up to my waist.  They, it must be said, were not my readership which made sharing anything seem a tad unfair.  I was also across from a set of Motion Detection Lights that swiveled their blinding beams to and fro every time  someone walked by.  They were like the electric equivalent of the boyfriend of an old co-worker of mine who was a heroin addict/breast man.  The young employee who was helping me with the books made the mistake of walking over to the lights to see if they could be permanently turned from us, then looked directly into them as she tried to secure them herself, searing her retinas for several minutes.  Her nervous conversation bounced between “I’ll be okay” to “I really can’t see anything” and back to “I’m sure this will be fine,” while struggling to avoid walking into the table of books.  Blinded by her own merchandise—it really made me reconsider the hot dog I was thinking of eating when I was done at the book table.

There was a large poster with my author photo propped up on the table next to me.  A man asked me if “that was my daughter.”  Granted, I don’t think English was his first language, but being bilingual doesn’t make you blind (unlike Motion Detection lights).  I said, “Excuse me?”  I again heard the word “daughter.”  Then, when I said, “No.  That’s me,” he smiled the smile of linguistic confusion where he believes that only one of us isn’t getting it, and that one is the one who looks like her own mother.

Maybe it was the Santa hat, which I do realize can read “mature” but my photo is recent and not really touched just so I can avoid this sort of awkward misunderstanding.   Really, between this and being mistaken for an Ewok at a Halloween party last month (I was a cat), along with being the only person over the age of 34 at a recent Moth StorySlam (another story and one that ended in tears), I’m beginning to understand the siren call of the plastic surgeon, which could be possible if sea monkeys  Otis didn’t have all my money.