Dressed, prepped and ready to pitch my books to a sea of eager literary agents at ThrillerFest 2012, I marched confidently from my hotel room, down the narrow corridor towards the elevator bank. With my mind still rehearsing one sentence novel pitches, I barely noticed the quiet man waiting next to me. That was until the unthinkable happened. My loaded tote bag suddenly dropped from my shoulder and as I twisted to catch it, I heard an sharp tearing noise. A velcro sounding rip. I froze. Stood completely still. In no time at all, the strap on my dress uncoiled, snapped like a rubber band and then slapped against the cheek of the man to my left. Startled by the lash, he twitched and glared painstakingly into my eyes. “Ouch,” he hissed, massaging his reddened skin. Shocked by what just happened myself, I did what I do best in uncomfortable situations. I started to laugh. Howl actually. So hysterically, in fact, that the minute the elevator arrived, the man with a thin switch marked face hustled onto the lift without uttering another word. Mortified, I hobbled back down the hall to my room, securing an untethered strap in one hand, the heavy tote in the other. Gingerly, I limped down the hall. (Oh, did I mention I also have a broken toe–Traveling injury, a story for another time. After five weeks, one that still requires a very unsightly, however quite comfortable orthopedic boot.) Rounding the corner I whispered to myself that it’s not just me, these types of accidents happen to everyone. Irrational as it might be, I secretly hoped my coaching was actually true.
There I stood. Back in my room. In front of the full length mirror. Thick elastic strap dangling, bright blue velcro boot steady and determined a speedy repair was out of the question. After all, learning to sew is a low priority on my perpetual to do list. Still on a tight schedule, I reached in my bag, retrieved a back up frock, slid it over my head and straightened the slit skirt. After a quick glance at my reflection I realized my second option, my go to dress, didn’t fit anymore. So much for being prepared. Now what? I thought, slouching slightly defeated in a shapeless potato sack sheath. Now out of time, I revert to the last piece of clothing hanging in the closet. The maxi I’d had worn traveling for twelve hours the day before. Without a second thought, I sprayed two shots of deodorant, stepped into the leopard print fabric, shook out the wrinkles and stormed out the door.
I’m happy to report the agent pitching went well, absent any further wardrobe malfunctions and inadvertent injuries to unsuspecting bystanders. Slap strangers no more. So fantastic in fact, that as I write this post, an additional twenty-four hours later, I’m still sporting the proven animal print maxi-dress.
E. L. Chappel author of Risk/Spirit Dance
In the fashion capital of the US in a three day worn dress.
aka The Glamorous/Scented Wife