It's about time I told you my most embarrassing moment ever. I know, you probably think you've already heard it. If you've read my book, you might think it was the time I walked down the hall from the bathroom at GE with the back of my dress tucked into my underwear. Or when I had a tearful meltdown on the couch of the dying lady I was supposed to be cheering up as a hospice volunteer.
If you've read my blog for a while, you might think my most embarrassing moment was when I fell out of my chair at work and got a rug burn. Or what could be more embarrassing than when B.H. changed the wallpaper photo on my laptop as a joke and the lunch crowd at Panera Bread got a look at me flashing my "twin peaks" at Mount Rushmore as I ordered my meal.
No, there's a moment much, much worse. I'll start from the beginning.
Back when I had my old apartment, I'd routinely open mi casa to strangers or near-strangers needing a place to crash in Vegas. My place was fabulous, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and so it was very comfortable for guests. A couple of times I put up out-of-town writers attending the Las Vegas Writer's Conference; once I struck up a conversation with a lovely Canadian woman in Borders who turned out to be a writer planning to attend a different writers' conference in a month or so. I insisted she stay with me and she welcomed the offer. In all cases, my hospitality resulted in lasting friendships, even if just through email and Facebook.
But before Facebook, there was MySpace, remember? With MySpace, it was easy to connect with people you didn't know, and I came to be virtual friends with a guy about 12 years younger than me who lived down in Phoenix. Remember how you could post blog entries on MySpace? Well, I'd read Bill's posts and think, man, this guy has it all together. He was an engaging writer, well-traveled and could perfectly blend sensitivity and sarcasm--just what I like.
Bill seemed like the coolest guy, and when I saw he was planning to attend the Burning Man festival on Labor Day weekend up near Reno, I said, "Hey, if you need a place to crash on the way, let me know." He graciously accepted my offer.
Now, a normal person might think I was crazy to open my apartment to a complete stranger I'd met online, but after reading his blog and exchanging witty comments for over a year, I felt confident he'd be fine.
"If I'm wrong about this, I will never be able to trust my instincts again," I told my friends, who invariably just shook their heads.
"What about your valuables?" one asked. Valuables? Like he's gonna walk off with my collection of fridge magnets?
Well, I was right; there was nothing to worry about. Bill was awesome, exactly as I had expected. Exactly. After he arrived, we chit-chatted in my apartment, enjoying some dark beer, and then after a while we headed over to the buffet at Green Valley Ranch casino.
((Shudder.)) This is where the embarrassing part comes in. After we ate, we were standing on the casino floor when I noticed he had a little remnant of barbecue sauce or something in the corner of his mouth. So what do I do, but... OMG, this is too painful to verbalize... I dab some saliva on my index finger and wipe it off! Yes, the germ freak that I am and suddenly I'm channeling my Nana and wiping someone's face with my freakin' spit. I should have pinched his cheeks, too.
I AM SUCH AN ASSHOLE!
To his credit, Bill just played along and probably said thanks because who really wants to walk around with crap in the corner of your mouth, but Jesus H, who the hell wants to be cleansed with someone's body fluids?
Sigh... We ended up having a great night. I took him to see my favorite classic rock tribute band, Yellow Brick Road, in the GVR showroom and the next morning he hit the road and made his way up to Burning Man. I didn't bother to lock my bedroom door that night as my friends had advised since quite honestly, if he wanted to rape me or stab me in the head I totally deserved it.
Like everyone else, Bill and I jumped the MySpace ship and have continued our friendship over the years on Facebook. He's still in Phoenix and is still a super-cool guy. Me, not so much; nothing cool about this one. And so, after all these years, I must finally extend an apology. Please forgive me, Bill. And if you ever want to stay in Vegas again, I'll just give you the key to my new one bedroom place, aka "Linda-land," and I'll stay with Mike. You won't need to go for painful innoculations before your visit like you're visiting a third world country.
OMG, I am such an asshole.