But first, a story.
This is the longest I’ve gone in my life without stepping foot in my hometown. My parents moved from Florida to Missouri two years ago, which means that I’m spending my Christmases driving past empty corn fields instead of flying south.
Luckily, my hometown is a fairly popular vacation destination, so I’ve been able to help friends plan trips down there and live vicariously through them.
When I overheard two women discussing, by name, the famous hotel I could see out the window of the Dairy Queen at which I worked in high school, I saw yet another opportunity to humble brag about where I grew up.
“Sorry to interrupt,” I said, approaching the two women in their underwear. Oh, did I not mention this was in a locker room? That makes it a lot weirder? Yeah. Maybe I should have realized that at the time. “I’m from there! I just overheard you.”
“Oh, cool,” Half-Naked Lady #1 said. “How long has it been since you’ve been there?”
“A few years.”
“But, it’s a nice hotel?”
“Yeah!” I gave her a few details about it and compared it to another hotel in the area, which some people think is better.
After an awkward pause, Half-Naked Lady #2 cut in with some details about a hotel they visited in Palm Springs, California. I’m not really sure what to do now except try not to look at their underwear.
“Are you visiting there soon?” I offered, ready to jump in with my insider knowledge.
“No, we were just talking about it.”
The friend kept talking to her about places that had visited as I slowly came to the realization that this was all a terrible mistake. I started to back away slowly. Should I say goodbye? Should I just try to disappear into the sea of naked old women coming in from water aerobics?
I tried to split the difference and waved a feeble goodbye as I backed away. “Sorry!” I blurted before I could think better of it.
The woman half laughed, half grimaced and waved back at me.
And that’s how I realized that I needed a better outlet for my homesickness than accosting defenseless women in locker rooms.
Therefore, my third book, is set in my hometown, Saint Petersburg, Florida! I don’t have a title for it yet, but I will share as soon as I’ve figured it out. In the meantime, check out Observation or A Picture’s Worth, if you haven’t already!