Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Duck Umbrella

So this morning when I got up, I was pretty calm about my radio interview--until breakfast where, my sister—familiar with the interviewing style of the broadcaster I’d be chatting with—began to throw out potential questions.

He might say such-and-such, she’d say, “what would you say to that?”

I took it as a bad sign when she frowned and shook her head frantically.

I became rattled and printed out my downloadable press kit to take along as my own personal 911 system. I figured, worse come to worse, I’d just start reading and hit on something.

I sweated through my original outfit, suddenly quite happy that this wasn’t TV.

My dad picked me up and we went for coffee. “So, Cindy”, he said, Broadcaster L might say such-and-such. “What would you say to that?”

I began to say things like blah-blah-mumble-blah. My 911 notes were in the car, and I began to question if I could read anymore, anyway.

Back in the car, my dad behind the wheel, I turned to the backseat and bean rifling through bags, searching for a pen to write down some good material my dad threw out in the coffee shop.
I frantically grabbed a pen from the bag under my mom’s duck head umbrella. As later events would reveal, this was an important point to note. My mom’s relationship with ducks is similar to the one the Press Enterprise reports I have with tigers—she’s frequently sighted with random duck memorabilia.

In the lobby of the radio station I realize I still have my iced coffee, which was now sweating worse than I was. I decided it might be poor form to bring the dripping beverage into the studio.
I went back to the car, deposited the drink, and went back to the lobby. A few minutes later, a staffer came through the door, carrying an object to the receptionist’s desk for examination. “It was in my car,” she said.

“Is it cold?” the receptionist asked, puzzled.

“Yes….must be some sort of joke…”

They murmured at the desk even as a realization swelled within.

“It was me!” I blurted, in the split second before she waved the half-empty, dripping beverage aloft. In my haste, I’d stashed my cup in the wrong taupe sedan.

My own perspiration keeping pace with the cup, I was ushered into the studio…and had a wonderful time.

Broadcaster L didn’t ask anything I wasn’t prepared to answer. I felt confident, happy…relaxed.

It wasn’t worth the sweat.

What I should have been worrying about was the fact that I evidently have no idea what my father’s car actually looks like.

I borrowed it later to get a salad from the grocery store. I returned to the parking lot only to realize that I had no idea which car I drove there.

Now, if this were one of my stories, I’d just go for it. My character would confidently toss her salad into a car and drive off, only to be pulled over for grand theft auto in rush hour--but in real life, I was stymied.

Until I remembered the duck umbrella.

With that great icon to guide me, I quickly identified my father’s vehicle and drove off, unpursued.

Which only goes to show that having a personal mascot isn’t a bad idea. I think I’m going to go with this tiger thing after all.

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