One of the comments my editor had about Dead Spaces, was that Hannah seemed “a little obsessed about parking.” I will admit that some of my New Orleans obsessions may have crept into the book.
Please understand, I grew up in a small town in Northern Wyoming. The only time parking got a bit challenging was during the yearly founding day parade. And the challenge was mostly about walking a whole block instead of a few feet. And even then, parking was always free.
So there was some culture shock for me in moving to the city where parking could be scarce and expensive. Whenever we planned a trip across the river (we lived on the West Bank which was East of the city), my first question was always, “Where will I park?” (Add a rising note of panic to this question when I got my jury summons and a few, but, but, but…)
Like the characters in my stories, the finances played a part. Spend too much on parking, have to cut back on delicious eating. And we know I love my eating.
I remember a period where I’d drive by a parking spot and think, “Ooohhhh, great parking spot. I wish I needed it.” Seriously. I’d have to resist the urge to park. I drove downtown one night to pick the hubs up when there was an event in the dome and this guy went nuts when I didn’t park in his lot. I kind of mimed to him, “It’s a great spot and great deal, but I don’t actually need to park. I need to drive.”
I’m not sure he got the message. My mime was never that good.
So yeah, I was parking obsessed pretty much the whole time we lived there and I could probably do a side post called Parking Tickets and The Dysfunctional Parking Bureau. (Luckily we moved before the red light cameras….)
Let’s move on to Obsession #2, which was: water.
And I include humidity IN there with water. Again, I come from a state with almost 0% humidity. And I moved to one that regularly went over 100%. I didn’t know that was possible. There were days I’d go outside and it felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, the air was so thick. And the heat…(my characters may go on a bit about the heat, too, but the humidity makes everything worse, including the cold, so we’ll just lump it all together.)
And then there’s the water we’re not breathing in.
When we found out we’d been transferred, we got our realtor to send us some sample listings to look at, just to get a feel for the area. I noticed that in altitude there were numbers like 1, 5, -5, -25. I asked the hubs, what does that code mean and he just looked at me. Finally he said, “That isn’t a code, that’s feet.”
“But this minus…ooooh…crap…”
We lived below sea level, so we’re either trying to keep it out of the house or trying to get it out of the house after it came in. There was that day when I was trying to sweep water out my backdoor, but had to pause to take water delivery at front door.
And #3? Well, that would be: directions. Not how you get them or give them, but north, south, east, and west. That’s right. The compass. It’s not that much help in New Orleans, not when you have parallel streets crossing each other. Oh yes, they do. Look on a map. It’s right there. South Carrolton intersects South Claiborne. And I think I mentioned that we had to drive due EAST across the bridge to get to the WEST bank?
For something like three years, I’d turn the wrong direction when I’d get off the bridge on my way to pick up the hubs from work. It felt WRONG to go the RIGHT direction. So wrong. Eventually I managed to kill of my sense of direction, but it was painful and embarrassing (and before Siri helping out, I might add).
One of the stories the hubs likes to tell on me goes something like this:
Me: I found the way to the Children’s Museum.
Hubs: Oh, how do you get there?
Me: You get off the bridge at the wrong exit. When you realize it is the wrong exit, you turn right and go two blocks. It’s right there.
Hubs says the scary part? That he knew what I meant.
I probably have more obsessions that will turn up in the series, but these are my top three. If you don’t count desserts as an obsession, which I don’t. So do you find yourself developing obsessions about where you live that might seem odd to the outsider?
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P.S. I would start uploading Dead Spaces right now, but I’m working on getting ready for the big Romantic Times convention in Dallas. But watch my newsletter and this space for breaking news!