Listen, young children, to my tale of farcical woe.
On Monday I got to go to the ball - or one of the nearest things to a ball in a writers’ life. (Writers’ lives are more about sweatshirts than ball gowns.) I put one of my two nice dresses and my one pair of heels in a grocery bag, bagged off my dayjob a bit early, and hopped the Greyhound to Toronto to attend the Scholastic Authors and Illustrators dinner.
And it was lovely. I caught up with lots of people, talked to Jean Little, who is one of my heros and I think might easily be a friend, and heard a delightful speech from Maggie Steivatter. (She liked Plain Kate! Yeah!) I had so much fun that I missed the 9:30 Greyhound, and ended up on the 11:30 one - the last milk run of the night.
It was 1:17 by the time I staggered off the ‘Hound at the glamourous downtown Kitchener buss terminal, with my dress-in-a-grocery-bag, my bag of books and swag, my computer bag, my brand new French copy of Simplement Kate. My water bottle was leaking down my leg and my coat was slipping from one shoulder. On the way to the taxi stand I discovered what was missing from that list: my purse. I went back to the platform by the bus had already left the station.
So I caught a taxi and called my hubby and said: “please put on your bathrobe and come pay the taxi,” and he did — but in the meantime the taxi driver and I hatched a plan. The taxi driver knew that Greyhound makes one last stop in Kitchener, at the University of Waterloo. I would try to catch up with it there.
So I got home, kissed poor sleepy hubby on the curbside, dumped stuff on the floor, and hopped in my car. I drove to the University and circled the ring road — just in time to see the bus pull out of the University and off into the wilds of Waterloo.
So of course I chased it. I mean, what else? I thought it might stop at Laurier or perhaps go back to the station. Waterloo, by the way, is not a city that never sleeps. At 1:30 on a Monday morning, Waterloo is taxi drivers and barfing students and police looking for people to pull over.
And me chasing a bus.
It kept running lights and I was afraid too - those bored cops! What was I going to tell them: “My driver’s liscence is on that bus!” So several times I watched it pull away and turn onto a darkened street. But eventually I caught up with it again. I was debating honking and waving and making a fuss - maybe cutting it off with a huge drifting stop, like in the movies! - when it stopped at a Tim Hortons.
And, lo, the bus driver had found my purse! Every twoonie intact. I could have HUGGED him, he was so sweet, and I was so punchy. I bought him a coffee and drove home (not getting stopped by the roving, bored cops) and that’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in my writing life in years.