Just TypiKel Momday Motivations – Session Three
Today I’m sharing a particular cringeworthy Just TypiKel experience that happened to me on one of our buying trips for the store. It’s one I’ve shared before, however now that we’re into December, the month of festive giving, I thought it suitable. I’m even treating you to the whole story, as a nod to folks who’ve read it before.
During the ten years that I worked alongside Francine in her Vancouver Asian antiques store (1983 -1993) we went on six overseas buying trips together. Each trip included stops in Hong Kong
This particular delight happened in Bangkok in 1986.
The Importance of Understanding Your Rape Alarm
You know how there are some gifts that you’ll always remember? Well, I shall never forget two items that were carefully tucked into my stocking that Christmas Eve of ’85, both lovingly wrapped in crisp red tissue. The first one, a bulky, squat package, set me a flutter as it just HAD to be clothing. Perhaps a silk scarf or a polyester blouse with shoulder pads and a bow. Or maybe even a pair of fancy unmentionables. Good old Santa, as I’d gotten older his gifts had gotten ever more sophisticated.
But no. It was actually a cardboard-stiff, boxy, black nylon mesh vest with enormous arm holes and three very wide lime green reflective strips running across the back and down the side. As an added bonus, there were two bright orange inch-wide velcro bands jutting out from the front as fasteners.
“Isn’t it grand, Kel? Now I won’t worry when you’re off running along foreign streets before dawn.” My mother, who’d never be caught dead in such a get-up, beamed.
In training for my first marathon, I was determined to keep my mileage up during our upcoming overseas trip. Not good with humidity, I thought it best to run before the sun came up and Santa must have somehow got the memo that Francine was worried about that.
The second package had me thinking of lipstick, mascara or perhaps perfume. But again, no.
“It’s a rape alarm, Kel! You can carry it with you as you run! Should anyone try anything, you simply whip it out and the sound will blast for miles.”
I seriously doubted that I’d even be able to hear it, it was so small.
Both items made the trip, although I tossed the alarm in my purse and forgot about it; the vest magically had folks coming to an abrupt halt when the luminous vision mysteriously floated by them in the night. While runners wear glow-in-the-dark, fitted jackets today, this particular vest was a true rarity back then and I doubt it was even on the radar of construction workers.
On the day of a luncheon with Thai friends I’d never met, our hotel doorman, outfitted in a gorgeous costume of gold-threaded voluminous pants and a tight-fitting jacket complete with winged shoulder pads, silently opened the passenger door closest to the curb upon their arrival. As our hosts turned and smiled sweetly from the front seat, Francine launched into introductions.
“Pilate and Anong! Lovely to see you again. This is my daughter Kel …” Francine was suddenly interrupted by a horrific ear-piercing howl.
As my hearing shut down in defense, my vision remarkably sharpened. Our hosts were frozen with their hands clamped firmly over their ears, while outside, Mr. Voluminous Pants was paralyzed, his face a mask of utter confusion. But my mother was all action. Grabbing at the door, she shrieked, “Thai Bees! It’s a swarm! They’ll sting us alive! OPEN THE DOORS!!!
As our gentle hosts watched in horror, she maniacally fanned open her door and the jolted doorman began running circles around the car, flapping his arms in an obvious attempt to wave away the nasty invasion.
But try as I might, I couldn’t spot one bee, let alone a swarm.
Then I looked down at my madly vibrating purse and all became clear. The forgotten rape alarm had involuntarily been activated. As my hands scrabbled to snatch up the offending item, more horror awaited. I didn’t have a clue about how to turn the damn thing off as Francine had never shared that particular tidbit.
To make matters worse, someone began to shriek most rudely.
“It’s my rape alarm. My rape alarm!”
Over the next five visits to their gracious country, Anong and Pilate never failed to remind me of the time I hurled my mother’s Christmas gift out the window of their car and very nearly took out the eye of the hotel doorman.
But enough about me and the importance of understanding your rape alarm. I’m curious about you. What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever been given? Have you ever trained for a marathon or worked construction? Better yet, ever nearly taken out an eye? If you’d care to share, I’d love to hear.