I think someone is playing a cruel, cruel joke on me. Why? I have no idea why. Oh, you mean "Why do you suspect someone would go to all the trouble to find you in Houston and hire someone to torment you? Whatever in the world makes you think that?" Is that what you meant?
Well. Let me tell you the story. Go get a beer. I'll wait. I don't personally drink beer, but if someone were going to tell me this story, I think I'd want to have one at hand. Or maybe not. Maybe you should hear it on an empty stomach. That might be better for all concerned.
We got here-that would be Houston, Texas, home of the International Quilt Show (or one venue (I said "venue!") for it) last night in time for the Fabulous Bernina Fashion Show. I went to it last year and sat up in the Nosebleed Section, where all I could see was specks of color and sparkle (the Bernina Fashion show is heavy on the Swarovski crystals and metallic thread--hooray!). But this year, Kim Andert (I cannot find a website for her) couldn't attend to see her garment come down the aisle and so sent me her VIP tickets. Thank you, Kim! And where is your website?
So, after checking into our hotel--which is NOT the hotel we usually stay in, given that all of the La Quinta Inns and Suites in Houston are closed until Sunday, being full, apparently, of Galveston Hurricane Refugees--we had to stay here, right on Highway 59, where a steady stream of traffic passes just yards from our one tiny, tiny window. But that's OK--it's clean, and it's cheap, and Highway 59 will take us right to the George Brown Coliseum, where the quilt show has set up quarters.
Anyway--so we got to the fashion show last night, just a tiny bit late--meaning that they had started with the talking but now with the showing, and we got good seats at the end of the second row and settled in. All was well--it wasn't even too horribly cold. And, honeys, let me tell you: the quilt show every year is the very coldest I EVER get. I never, ever allow myself to get that cold at any other time. Last year I wore two skirts, two tank tops, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. And froze my butt off. This year I'm wearing jeans and a turtleneck. Yes: me in a turtleneck. I'll choke all day long, but at least maybe the freezing air can't blow down the back of my neck.
ANYWAY--so we settle in, and just as the show begins, this woman--This Woman--comes in and sits in front of us. She comes in and pulls the "Reserved" sign off the chair and peers at it over the top of her glasses, turning it this way and that as if it's some archaeological artifact. She's wearing nondescript pants and a sweater and has lank, greasy-looking hair, and when she finally drops the paper in the floor and sits down, I kind of cringe. If she were a man, I'd think she was some pervert lurker person. I'm sorry. That's horrible, isn't it? And I may not have ever even thought of that if what came next hadn't come next.
We're watching the show, admiring Kim's fabulous dress and all the other fabulous garments, and the woman sneezes. And I think, "Oh, great. Germs." Because she didn't have a tissue and just sort of wiped at her nose with her hand. Ick. But then. But then! She started making all these snorting and snarfing noises, and I looked to see what she was doing, and she blew her nose INTO HER FINGERS--no tissue!--and as I gasped and recoiled in horror, SHE LICKED AND SUCKED HER FINGERS. And then cleaned something out from under her fingernail with her tooth.
I'm thinking, "Oh, hell no." and not believing what I just saw. But. Yes, she did.
I am not imagining this. I am not making this up. I am not exaggerating or embellishing. This is the complete truth. It pains me to have to tell you about it. And, lest you pity this nasty woman, let me assure you: this wasn't "Omigod, I don't have a tissue and I'm so fascinated by this fashion show that I dare not get up and go get some from the many, many restrooms surrounding this room, lest I miss something fabulous" kind of desperation. No. She did it as if it were the natural way of things, eating your own snot. Because, honeys, she did it pretty much CONSTANTLY the whole hour and a half she sat in front of us. Except near the end, when she--get this!--took out her car keys and proceeded to clean her ears, wiping the key on her fingers. Maybe to give a little texture to the snot. Who knows?
You're wondering--I know you are--"Did she eat that, too?" I have no idea, because by that time I was hiding behind the program--The EGE, who was alternately laughing at me and struggling to stay awake (it was a Fashion Show, after all; and his interest in all this stuff extends only so far), would hear her blow her nose and hold his program up over my face. There was nowhere to move. I was trapped. I couldn't relax and enjoy the show fully because I was terrified that she was going to do something even MORE hideous. Although what would be more hideous than constantly sucking snot off your fingers (with smacking noises! which is why I began to suspect someone who knows me had paid her to be there), I do not even WANT to contemplate.
Now, you've got to keep in mind that this was not someone sitting under an overpass in a ragged trench coat with all her worldly belongings in a rusty shopping cart, having been booted into the street during Reagan's little snit in the 80's. No. This was a woman who was sitting in a chair at the Bernina Fashion Show, dammit, where one would expect a certain level of sophistication in the way of personal hygiene.
Well. That's the beginning of our quilt weekend. We're getting ready to head over to the actual quilt show, waiting until the bulk of the attendees--and I do mean bulk: although I know some skinny quilters, most of the women at this show are large. Some are very, very large. For years, they allowed the attendees to have those little suitcases on wheels, since there is a LOT of shopping being done. But finally someone realized that when you have a quarter million large women with lots and lots of hips, maybe extra luggage is just not the best idea.
So I didn't try to get breakfast this morning--I went down to the lobby and took one look at the line for waffles and realized it was best to just back away quietly.
So we'll be heading out soon. Meeting friends, schmoozing, shopping, looking and looking and looking, taking photographs and making notes. And keeping a wary eye out for a lurking woman with crusty fingers. . . .
[I read this to The Ever-Gorgeous Earl, and he says, "I'm Earl Zachery, and I approve this post."]
9 hours ago