Don’t Take No Shortcuts
That above quote is from an 1847 letter written by one of the young women who survived the terrible ordeal of what is now called “the Donner party,” not to be confused with the dinner party …
You should always beware anyone who knows a short cut. But the nice young author was from Tucson. The lovely folks who’d driven us had lost their car keys. It was late, past ten, but a nice night, and Christina Baker Kline (a pal and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Orphan Train,’), a very supple woman, said, “Come on!” She was undaunted by her high heels. We decided to take the short cut.
More than an hour later, Christina was daunted, thirsty, annoyed, and ready to call the taxi App Uber – although Mr. Shortcut, kept on trucking in his Merrells. I was barefoot, on a dark urban street, trying to avoid broken glass, embraced by shame that the shoes I had to remove were just flats, although very cruel flats.
“I know the hotel is right around here,” said Merrell man.
“As in … Arizona?” muttered another of the writers.
Finally, we got there. I surveyed my blisters, the size and shape of Thin Mints. I called my son, Rob. Heat a small knife, he said, cut them open, then stuff them with Neosporin and layer on big Band Aids. All I had was a coffee swizzle stick and a safety pin. I ran the safety pin through the coffee machine until it was … warm.
Lancing blisters is fun in a grisly way.
After that forced march, I deserved a little fun.
Then I fell into bed, both soles pulsing.
When I woke up, I nearly threw up, those blisters shouting with pain and twice as big.
My friend Victoria, the creator of the reading event Women’s Voices, called to caution me to be on time. Considering canceling, I said, frostily, “I am never late.” I tried not to think of whatever else had happened on the carpet of that hotel hall as I toe-walked to beg for Band-Aids. Plastering them on, I failed to notice the open water bottle on the bed next to me. I was already fully dressed in my only outfit when suddenly, I was sitting in a pool of cool.
Don’t picture me standing on my toes using a curling iron on my hair with one hand and a blow dryer not on my hair with the other hand.
I admitted I couldn’t walk.
If I had been a Civil War solider, my commander would have shot me. I wouldn’t have cared.
As it was, I tried to avoid the gaze of those who made way for the golf cart. I knew they were thinking the thing you think when you see a group of fat, perfectly healthy people being ferried through O’Hare on a trolley. They were thinking, big old lazy sissy loser.
Don’t take no shortcuts.