Incident in San Francisco (Chapter 9, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 9

Laura had been her usual efficient self in her hasty packing for the trip to San Francisco. The clothes in her closets were colorized within the 3 groups: work clothes, play clothes, and dress-up. She quickly selected matching sets of skirts and blouses for her three days of work. Although the course instructions had stressed that the atmosphere would be casual, Laura always felt more professional if she dressed for courses much as she did for the office, but she did decide against any suits because of the extra space they took up.

One bad experience with checked luggage which went astray and left her attending an important out-of-town meeting in the clothes she'd flown in had been enough. Laura had researched thoroughly the luggage market before making her final choice. She had first checked the offerings of the traditional manufacturers, but as she had expected, her search found success in the specialty catalogs instead. Brookstone, Land's End, The Sharper Image were where one found more innovative solutions to common problems, even if the expense was often greater. Here she had found a cleverly-designed garment bag which kept clothes relatively wrinkle-free, had small separate compartments for toiletries and underwear, yet could be fan-folded and strapped so that it met the requirements for carry-on and could be stowed in the overhead compartment on any plane.

While she had no problem in choosing her day wear, she did exhibit some unaccustomed indecisiveness when it came selecting clothes for her off-hours. The course agenda mentioned a cocktail hour from 5:30 to 6:30 on Wednesday night, hosted by the software manufacturer who was giving the course. Laura was going to the Grand National performance at 7:30 that night, but decided that she should show up early for the party and then leave early. From prior experience, she knew that such hosted happy hours usually led to many people forgetting their good intentions about studying the course material at night. Most were from out of town, on expense accounts, and especially in a city like San Francisco, would be inclined to follow the early happy hour with a tour of some of the more interesting places in the city. But the party was being held in the hotel where the courses were being given, and where most of the participants, including Laura, were staying. She knew that she could easily slip out around 6, change for the Grand National, and get to experience her first rodeo instead of accompanying a group of increasingly more-intoxicated classmates. She did, however, choose a simple black dress to wear to the party, one which showed off her figure but did not reveal so much that it would bring unwanted attention from men who became oafish after a few drinks.

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