Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chutzpah, Redefined

El Snob De Musica has a story to tell and it reminded me of one of my own misadventures. Not that I hang out with transvestites at 4 in the morning or anything like that, in spite of what Coyote, Taco, Fett and Blue may tell you. Lies, Damn Lies and Politics, I tell ya!! Tim insists that the story be told, so here goes...

Back in 1986, before I was old, chubby and lazy, which is to say before I learned to drive, I used to run on bicycle tours in the summers between sessions at the University. I rode my bike everywhere back then, and I had a metabolism to support my feeding habits; sadly, I still have the feeding habits but not the metabolism. Or the bike. Traded up to a motorcycle in '89 and never looked back.

Our '86 summer tour started off at the Old City section of the Twin Cities (same location The Skating Gnu managed to make a slapshot that pinged both pipes and scooted crosswise behind the goalie without scoring - read all about it here- needless to say she was PISSED about missing that shot) and went down towards the coast to Myrtle Beach (Home of the Myrtle Beach Open, another story for another time!) then along the coastline through the Frances Marion National Forest, a stopover at Sullivan's Island and then on into Old Charleston. Five days at about 75 miles per day. Good times.

We had great weather all the way down until we got to the coast. Something was brewing offshore. While we were pedaling through the National Forest, we were sheltered from whatever it was until we reached Sullivan's Island. By then we could tell it was gonna be a wild ride into the city. We had no idea how wild until we topped the Cooper River Bridge and came to a complete standstill, thanks to a steady 50 mph headwind. Turns out we came into Charleston from the North and Hurricane Charley spun in from the Southwest. Not much of a hurricane at that point, but it was rain enough for us, and the wind did actually stop us in our tracks.

By the time we reached our accommodations in the Old City (First Scots Presbyterian Church) we were completely soaked. The city was getting more rain than it could handle, and we were actually paddling in two-foot flooding the last leg. We looked liked drowned rats, and felt worse.

Nevertheless, a quick shower and a dryer full of fresh clothes did the trick and after the rain stopped we were out on the town to take in the sights. Down by Battery Row, one of my comrades and I were poking in and out of open homes, shops, and eateries. We came up on one grand home on East Bay Street where a whole bunch of people were streaming in and out. Thinking it was an open house, we just strode right in...

Right into a SEA OF TUXEDOS!!!

Imagine if you will, two bikers in bandannas, cutoff jean shorts, torn shirts, docksiders and no socks facing off against a house full of James Bond stunt doubles. We looked at them, they looked at us, both sides in complete surprise. We'd walked all the way inside, and there was no turning back.

A pair of gorgeous girls in antebellum dress walked up to us, winked at each other and asked us for our invitations. Before I could think of an honourable exit strategy, my buddy pats his pockets down, points right at me and says, "He's got 'em!" They turn to face me with gracious smiles and expectant stares.

I quietly explained that we were sorry to intrude, that we thought this was an open tour or something, please don't arrest us, etc. One of the girls, smiled and replied in that deliciously sweet Southern accent that only a young lady of good breeding can do, "That's okay, come on in, have some refreshments and shake hands with the next Lieutenant Governor of the Great State of South Carolina!"

Somehow we'd managed to crash the kickoff party for Tom Hartnett's election campaign for Lt. Governor! Too late to cut and run, we walked in with every ounce of pride we could muster and had ourselves a grand time. Our second time through the hors d'oeuvre line we got to schmooze with the host himself, with a flock of penguins turning green with envy looking on.

Nice guy, by the way. Got to shake his hand, still have the campaign button he gave me.


The Taco Prophet said...

Random aside: on the battery in Charleston there's a statue of a naked man. They made it "safe" for public viewing by having him hold a shield in front of his junk. A good friend of mine found this so funny and commented on how ridiculous it was so many times over the years, that when he died, they scattered some of his ashes on the statue. :)

Tim said...

The mental image of you standing amid the sea of suits, and the awkward silence has made me giggle a couple times today.

E. S. Collins said...

Let's do that same thing the next time I'm down there. It'll be awesome!

Also, I find your politics strange. Lt. Governor's are picked as running mates here. They only campaign on behalf of the governor. Speaking of, the current governor of Maryland, my beloved home state, once mocked me and a big group of friends in an Irish pub once and we loved it.