How To Be a Tourist In Your Own Town: Say Yes To The Mess
I’m trying to adopt a philosophy of saying “yes” whenever I can. Even when that “yes” leads to several pie tins’ worth of whipped cream in the face.
In the spirit of Natalie Goldberg’s essay “A Tourist In Your Own Town,” I’ve been exploring Spokane, my new hometown, as a tourist destination. As regular WanderChic readers know, I’m also aiming to be one of those writers who offers tips.
So, here’s my tip, perhaps more of a theory: Whenever possible, accept invitations. At the risk of sounding all hippie woo-woo: open yourself to adventure.
I was invited a few weeks ago to take part in a Pie A Professor fundraiser on campus. Of course, it’s easy to ignore an email invitation. But when a freshman sits in your office and vents her dismay at recruiting profs, well, it’s harder to look away. Yes, I said, I can sit in the pie booth for half an hour.
The fundraiser was part of SpringFest, an annual event on campus that I likely would have skipped it if I hadn’t agreed to those pies. Several dorms and clubs had booths where you could pet puppies, shoulder some duct tape armor for live action role play, and scale a climbing wall. There was fish pong.
There were rubber duckies you could liberate from a tupperware pond and win candy. There was even a mysterious phone booth looking contraption. Was this the TARDIS? (I’ve only dabbled in the Dr. Who series, but last fall I read an essay about my school’s lively society of Whovians).
Would anyone pie me? I wondered, too, about the gender dynamics. Were students less likely to pie a lady prof?
The answers were yes and no. Some pie-throwing highlights: A young redheaded boy put the most muscle into his pie throwing while his mom took a video of the whole thing. The final pie thrower, a female student, had the best reaction. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” she said, as she wiped some of the cream from my eyes. “It’s OK,” I said. “You did fine. Enjoy it.” I wanted to tell her that guilt cost extra.
Here’s another tip when you’re a tourist in your own town: bring extra sunscreen. After the first pie or two, I wanted to believe that the whipped topping was moisturizing. After washing and toweling off a couple of times, though, my skin felt exposed. My eyelashes were glommy. My hair was crunchy and unspeakable.
One more thing: consider the weight-bearing potential of your protective cape. I wore a trash bag with a hole in the top for my head. “It’s like getting your hair cut, but different,” I said. But with two pies in quick succession, the cape gave way, and I had not only a face full but a lap of whipped cream. Crap. After ladylike swabbing of the deck and a fresh trash bag, I was back in business.3 comments