Monday, February 13, 2012

Hitching a Ride & Writers Conference

Last Friday I attended LTUE, the 30th annual Life, The Universe & Everything symposium on writing was held at Utah Valley University this year. I could only attend one of the three days, but I think I picked a great day. My favorite part of the day was the keynote address by James Owen. I was so inspired by his story that I went out and bought his book, Drawing Out The Dragons, and then stood in line for him to sign it. It's remarkable.

I had a great time visiting with my writing buddies and making a few new ones. There were several great nuggets of wisdom, I picked up there to incorporate into my writing.

The funniest part was when I got ready to leave at about 7:15 that night. I had parked at the farthest lot (one of two that were free for conference attendees) and rode the shuttle over that morning. I wasn't sure if the shuttles were still running, so I thought I'd check. As I walked up to the bus stop, I noticed a man sitting there so I smiled, thinking if he was waiting, the shuttle must be running. I was about to say hello when I noticed the sign posted there stating that the shuttle stopped at 5pm on Fridays.
"I guess it isn't running then," I said aloud.
"It isn't?" the man asked and began studying the sign I pointed at. He hadn't noticed, so then he asked if I had a cell phone. He said he lived nearby and had left his phone home that day, but he would call and have someone come pick him up and drop me off at the parking lot.

I gave him my phone and he called his house. "I sure am glad you came by. I could have been waiting here another thirty minutes," he said after he handed me back my phone.
"I really can walk." I thought about the ride in on the shuttle and figured it was probably close to 3/4 mile from where I stood to the parking lot. The man insisted it was no problem, and while we were waiting another lady came walking up and frowned at the sign. I recognized her from another writers conference I attended and said hello. We found out we were parked in the same lot and she too was hoping for a ride on the bus. The man offered her a ride as well, but wasn't sure which vehicle his niece would be bringing to pick him up.

And that's how about five minutes later, I ended up in the back of a little 2-seater Ford pickup--the back as in, the man put the tailgate down so I could climb inside. He offered his seat to either my friend or I, and I told her to go ahead and sit up front. I'm a farm girl, so I figured I'd volunteer.

It was farther than I thought to the parking lot, maybe a mile, so I was glad for the ride and extremely glad I had carried my jacket around all day at the conference because that wind whipping across the back of the pickup was cold!

Moral of the story: Always carry your cell phone with you so when a random stranger asks to use it in return for a ride to the parking lot...wait, what about all that stranger danger stuff I tell my kids?

Do as I say, not as I do?


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