Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Would Have Been More Scared Than Bored

A few days ago at the neighborhood cafĂ©, I heard a woman mention the name of a small town in New Mexico. I so wanted to butt in on the conversation, but I didn’t. Doing that would have been rude, and I was brought up to be nice.

Why, yes, I do have a story to tell about that place.

Way back in the Late Jurassic Period, Ken and I lived on a ranch in Arizona. Ken worked there, but the bookkeeping job I was supposed to get fell through. I could tolerate watching the soaps with the foreman’s wife for only so long. I spent most of my days moping about my present circumstances and wondering if I would ever get off the ranch and back to civilization and a job.

After a few months, Ken became discouraged with the rather chaotic management of the ranch. He thought we probably should move on. I wanted to move to Tucson, but Ken vetoed that idea. He wanted to move to a small town in New Mexico. He told me there were a lot of ranches in that area. He was sure he could get a job at one of them.

I had never heard of that town before, or if I had, I didn’t remember. Most of the small towns we previously traveled through in New Mexico were in shabby shape, with little to offer someone like me who bored easily and thus preferred city life. I thought we would be trading one ho-hum place for another.

I did not want to move to Roswell, New Mexico. And, as it turned out, we didn’t.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Yikes! Two Guys Thought I Was a What?

A recent Facebook comment about a questionable area in a Certain City reminded me of the times I was mistaken for a hooker.

Yes, it happened twice, and in different cities, the first time in 1983, and the second in 1992.

One Saturday, after breakfast at Ken’s favorite greasy spoon, I asked him to drop me off at the Tucson Mall. He said he would do that after he got a haircut. I didn’t want to wait for him, so I decided to take the bus.

I had dressed appropriately for a cold February morning on the desert. I was wearing a pair of old, comfy jeans and a turtle neck top worn under a bulky sweater. The heavy wool car coat I wore over everything else made me look like I weighed about 300 pounds.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of NOT standing next to the bus stop sign. I was standing about ten or twelve feet away when a man in a late model white car pulled up to the curb and parked in front of me.

At first, I thought he might be someone I knew from work or school, but when I made eye contact with him (which I probably shouldn’t have), I realized he wasn’t. I wondered what the heck the guy was waiting for. About two minutes later, it dawned on me.

Yikes! I was standing on the Miracle Mile, a road that people often referred to as Hooker Highway.

I forgot about going to the mall and fled to the barber shop. Ken walked out the door just as I got there. “Ken,” I shrieked, pointing back in the direction of the bus stop, “Some guy thinks I’m a hooker.”

Ken was not amused. I didn’t get to the mall that day, but I did get a lot of mileage out of that story. I often joked that I was going to have a T-shirt custom printed with the words: I am not a hooker.

I probably should have followed through on the T-Shirt idea. I could have worn it in January 1992, on the Sunday morning I walked Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. Hey, I was just doing a little amateur detective work.

I was minding my own business—well, more or less—when a man driving a beat-up blue car came along, slowed down, and stopped a couple of yards past me.

After my Tucson experience, I guess I should have expected that. I was a woman walking alone on Pacific Avenue, which, at that time, was Tacoma’s version of Tucson’s Miracle Mile.

But it was Sunday.

Oh, for gosh sakes, give it a rest.

This time, I didn’t hang around wondering what the man had in mind. I fled across the street to Denny’s restaurant, squeezed into the last available seat at the counter, and pulled a bus schedule out of my backpack. I sat there sipping really bad coffee for almost an hour until I could catch a bus that took me far away from that area.

In hindsight, perhaps I should consider staying out of cities with names that begin with the letter T.