I stood talking to the police officer at the Palm Springs convention center repeating in my head, “You are so close to the end. You are so close to the end. Now is not the time to lose your shit.”
I was working this convention solo, and I had walked in that morning only to find that someone had stolen merchandise from me overnight. Not like entire boxes of tee shirts, but enough to make it messy and noticeable and to qualify one as a shitty thief.
So I, running on fumes from juggling 75 hour work weeks this month, went on a hell path to report this criminal in my best effort for justice over some tee shirts. It really was the principle of the matter (there seems to be a sense of community at these conventions, and the fact that someone working after hours would steal my stuff was a straight up violation of this unwritten code of Con-workers).
After three people told me they didn’t know who to go to, I finally got a policeman to come over to my booth, who told me that he had been busy filing reports with two other booths. I suppose because misery loves company that made me feel better. Or maybe it was that I now knew no one targeted me specifically that made it feel a tiny bit less hateful.
I texted my cousin, Andrea, “I just got fucking ROBBED at my booth. This is the worst.”
She texted back, “Don’t worry, only a few more hours until cousin time and everything will be better.”
Andrea was kind enough to be visiting me from San Diego, and I knew the cousin catch-up was exactly what I needed as motivation after days of non-stop hustling. She understands a busy schedule and juggling as much as humanly possible more than most people I know, which made it even nicer for her to drive 3 hours to get a little visit in while we were in the same vicinity.
She picked me up with all of my boxes of unsold goods, and we dropped them off and went straight to dinner at a place called Lulus. In our Uber, I asked the driver if we should go someplace else. He said, “No, I eat at Lulu’s multiple times a week. That’s definitely where you should go.”
So we sat down and drank two bottles of rosé with glass stoppers and caught up on life over some great food, which is quite possibly one of my favorite ways to unwind and spend my valuable free time: great company, great food, great wine.
Family and friends are two of the most important things to me, and I’m lucky enough to have several of those people who blur the lines between family and friends and Andrea is one of them. We share the Lauck blood bond, but I consider her a good friend of mine as well.
We pick up right where we left off. We’re both loud and outspoken and have no problem talking to strangers, so it wasn’t a shock when multiple waiters came over to our table to start talking to us as the other tables cleared out for the night.
We left the bar, feeling the relief from the 117 degree heat only slightly after the sun went down, and when we should have decided to go home, instead decided to go to a drag show at a bar called Toucan that we had heard about multiple times.
So we headed to Lulu’s and watched the end of the drag show sporting our glow stick necklaces that we grabbed at the door. Andrea went to go dance, and I was feeling the entire month and the booze catch up to me at the bar while chatting to a drag queen named Mimi.
It all gets hazy from there. I remember being too hot, too tired, having too much to drink, and telling Mimi I really needed to grab my cousin and leave.
Mimi, who I became fast friends with as she is planning on performing in Seattle in the near future (at least as far as I can remember), told me she had been keeping an eye on Andrea and she was out on the dance floor.
“I can’t see her,” I said.
“Hold on, honey, I’ve got you girls,” she said and floated away with her blue satin gloves and jewels.
The next morning Andrea would tell me she has a vivid moment of clarity of a drag queen walking up to her saying, “It’s time to go. Your cousin needs to get out of here.”
Mimi came in from out of town and had to drive home and told us she was going to drop us off at a hotel. Andrea and I both got in her car and she safely dropped us off at the door like our fairy dragmother and then drove off into the night.
The next morning was rough for both of us. When I woke up, I exclaimed that we were idiots for getting in a car with a stranger and clearly could have been abducted and both know better.
The only thing keeping me sane that night was the advice from a friend who once told me I’ve passed the prime age of when people would want to abduct me, which may sound hateful to the average person but is one of the most comforting things anyone has ever told me–if you don’t have a friend that gives you advice like that, in my opinion, you need to seriously rethink your inner circle.
But Mimi was looking out for both of us that night, and I was glad she had been there.
We stopped to get Mexican food before I headed to the airport, after way too quick of a visit, but quite the adventure. As we sat down at the table, the waiter came up to us and said, “Hello ladies, how are you?”
“Good,” we both muttered as convincingly as possible.
“You don’t remember me from last night?” he asked.
We both looked at each other in horror, thinking the worst, and looked back at him.
“You were at Lulu’s?” Andrea asked.
“Yes,” he laughed, and so did we, although partially out of relief and partially because this was the night that kept on going into the next day.
As we said our goodbyes at the airport, trying to come up with dates to cross paths again in the near future, we knew we would always share our fond Palm Spring memories with our fairy dragmother, Mimi.