A friend returned from a trip to Florida, and her husband, an excellent photographer, took some great photos of the Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach that brought back some fond memories.
I used to attend a writers conference in Miami every February. The last time I was there, five of us (four authors and my former editor, who'd just left Berkley at the time) went out to dinner. Judy drove--and parked ten blocks from the restaurant. I think there was some confusion over the restaurant's address. So, rather than risk not finding another parking space, we set off on foot.
We hadn't gone far when it started to rain. It was a downpour. People were ducking under awnings and inside buildings to take refuge from the rain. We, however, were determined to press on--when I'm hungry, it's best to stay out of my way. We went into one building and talked the custodian out of five large garbage bags, into which we tore slits large enough for our faces, and off we went in our makeshift slickers! As we ran down the street, people stopped to stare at the strange characters in the trash bags. But that was nothing compared to the looks we got at the restaurant.
That was the same year I presented Damaris with an inflate-a-date. Actually, it was a life-size inflatable Chippendale dancer. I'd bought it just before I flew to Miami. During one trip to New York, she and I and another author had planned a girls' night out which was to include dinner at the Russian Tea Room, followed by an evening at Chippendales. Unfortunately, that was the one night of the week they were closed! So this was my way of making it up to her. Rather than blow him up (bad choice of words, I know) and buy him a seat on the plane, I sent him ahead via FedEx to my friend Sally, who said I could air him up there--there was supposed to be an air tank at the hotel to blow up balloons. Poor Sally was carrying the old boy through the hotel lobby when Leslie, another of my editors, stopped her."This isn't your style," Leslie decided. "Let me guess who he belongs to."
And she didn't need three guesses. My reputation had preceded me.Unfortunately, the air tank never arrived. I don't remember why. I only remember several of us trying to scrounge up a bicycle pump. Also a lost cause. I think we had Damaris worried. She couldn't figure out why we needed a bicycle pump for her mysterious gift. She ended up having to take the old boy back to New York in his box. I spoke to her on the phone the week after the conference. She was trying to blow him up and couldn't find the stem. Apparently, it garnered her some funny looks from a colleague passing her office at the time....