Keep Calm, Carry On: How To Survive An Encounter With...Me / by LD

There's a book in our guest bathroom, the sole reading material for a room practically begging that you hurry along and try not to linger (the plumbing's a bit temperamental). It's the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, a book seemingly written with me in mind. In it are practical step-by-step instructions for avoiding death under a litany of circumstances, including (but not limited to) bear attack, quicksand, and sinking car (all of which pique my interest because I'm convinced I might actually use this information in those specific scenarios someday). I'm thankful for these lifelines, naturally, because in the most-likely event that I encounter a bear face to face (perhaps walking to my car in my Long Beach neighborhood, for example, or trolling the aisles at BevMo in search of liquor, or - even more immanently - sitting in the passenger seat of my car after I fill up with gas), I'd be crippled with indecision about whether to fight, flight, or hug. Thank goodness this book exists, otherwise I might have a mangled face!

Whew. Really dodged a bullet there. Apparently, you roar and snarl ferociously, and failing that, you pretend you're dead - which, let's face it, is a last resort anyway because most bears I know would probably just fall over laughing at the sight of me giving my best bear impression. Bears are funny like that. 

But even after I've mentally downloaded the contents of those pages three times each (roll down the windows. Equalize the pressure. Suck out the venom. Check. No, wait - crap, there's an app for this, right?), I still can't seem to find an entry that might save the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, if not half-dozens of people. The missing entry, of course, is How To Survive An Encounter With Me (Laurel Dailey, Though This Should Be Obvious To You By Now, And If It Isn't, You've Already Made Your First Critical Error And Should Probably Start Running). Herewith, some practical advice. 

If you encounter me in person, check to make sure I'm wearing my glasses. Usually I don't wear my glasses. So if I'm not wearing them, then I probably can't see you very well. This will bode well for your livelihood, as it enables you to either walk quickly in the opposite direction without making eye contact or to brush past me and ignore me. In either case, you've successfully averted an opportunity for conversation or death. However, if I am wearing my glasses, then your best option is to smile, say hello, and try to avoid making inane small talk after the initial greetings have been made. If we're merely acquaintances and you can't remember my name, don't (I repeat do not) make a stab at it. Calling me Laura or Lauren will send me into a blind rage, and you'll probably end up dead or dismembered. 

If you encounter me at a concert and you are a stranger, it's best to ignore me, stay out of my way, and enjoy the show while respectfully coexisting. Like bees and humans, when I'm not irritated we can be in each other's vicinities without incident. However, if you encounter me at a concert because you are a male and you are tall and you have just shimmied in front of me and blocked my view, then your best bet is to fall to the ground immediately and play dead. Otherwise I will fly into a blind rage and you'll probably end up dead anyway, so it'd be best to just pretend like you are so you can still enjoy the show from the comfort of the concrete floor. 

If you encounter me because you are an officer of the law or a cog in the city's parking enforcement machine, back away very slowly while saying the following in calm, hushed tones: "I'm very sorry, Ms. Dailey, I am not going to give you a ticket, Ms. Dailey. Your hair looks pretty today. Good-bye." Then give me your little notepad of tickets so I can write hate mail to City Hall on them and forge your signature at the bottom. 

If you encounter me on Facebook (and the likelihood of this is very high, especially if we are friends on The Good Book), ensure that all encounters are relegated to wall posts, messages, or photo comments. Poking will be the end of you. Inviting me to an event at which you are the administrator and have chosen to invite every single person on your friend list (a dead giveaway when the event is in another state or country than where I am currently residing [which is Long Beach and you should know that]) will also secure your swift demise. Asking, inviting, inferring, or outright begging for my fan-dom for any of your ventures, be they personal or professional, will result in certain doom. As well as wailing and gnashing of teeth. 

Whiskey, beer, or wine is an excellent deterrent in inciting my rage. Veganism is not. I can be subdued effectively with high fives and sarcasm, though hugs work just fine, too. But avoid sit-down/stand-up hugs, as those will end in your neck being broken.