Heather Lende's Day Off
When I told the Pandemonium bookstore & cafe in Wasilla I could only sign books there this afternoon if they gave me a ride to and from UAA here in Anchorage, ( a 45 minute highway drive to the 'burbs where the big sprawl of Wasilla is) I had no idea I'd be speeding there along the Glenn Highway in a deep blue Porsche Carrera convertible with the top down. My driver, Cecil (red hair, Georgia accent, 25 or so) works at the store. The car belongs to his boss, who is out of town. I kind of wondered if my new friend was supposed to take the Porsche for the trip, or if this was a Ferris Bueller's Day Off scenario. But I loved the car. A screen writer told me that when someone comes inside through the door, that is an entrance, but if he climbs in through a window, then we have a situation. Well, a Subaru station wagon with a big dog named Stash in the back is a ride to a bookstore. A Porsche with the top down and a bright-eyed southern boy driving it is the first line of a novel. Cecil seemed like an upstanding young man, though, not the type to take a Porsche without permission. He told me about his charismatic evangelical church, his childhood in Bethel, his wedding in Hawaii, and other things; like how his father, a nurse, found a ring with a metal detector on the beach before the ceremony, and since Cecil hadn't bought a ring yet, they used that one. He still wears it. There is a wave pattern in the stainless steel. He showed it to me on the way back to UAA. There were heavy storm clouds, and a few sprinkles hit the gray leather seats, but we kept the top down anyway as we sped alongside the forested roadside below the snow-patched mountains. That car is designed so well that the wind did not whip our hair. What a way to end my summer book tour. In a Porsche with the top down driving into Anchorage from Pandemonium in Wasilla. It felt more like a beginning.