Saturday evening, the Contest Dinner was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown about four miles from my hotel. I drove downtown and parked in a parking ramp that is connected to the hotel and convention center by skywalks.
There was an "international festival" at the convention center, so after I parked my car, I found myself walking in a throng of people (mostly young adults and children) all dressed casually while I was in my LBD and heels.
As I walked the skywalk, a woman passed by and turned momentarily to check me out. My trans-radar blipped briefly, but I considered it an anomaly.
At the end of the skywalk, the woman held the door open for other people and as I passed by, she said (in a very deep, manly voice), "You have a lot of courage."
I turned back and asked, "What did you say?"
She repeated, "You have a lot of courage."
At that point, most of the throng turned left to go to the international festival, while I turned right to enter the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
My trans-radar was correct, but what did she mean by "You must have a lot of courage" statement.
She was dressed casually in a top and khaki slacks. She did not attend the Contest Dinner, so I assumed she went to the international festival. If she assumed I was attending the international festival, too, then her comment made sense because I would have been way overdressed for that event and would have stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.
Fashion Note: Saturday evening, I wore my Vee-neck empire "little black dress," nude hosiery, black patent 3-inch heel Mary-Janes, and black and silver disc earrings and necklace (see photo).
The Contest Dinner was similar to last year's because like last year, me and my dress were ogled by a lot by men (and a few women). Big difference this year was that I smiled a lot, made eye contact with the oglers, and found myself responding to an occasional "hello" even though I did not know a soul (although I did recognize some call signs).
I found a table with empty seats as close to the dais as possible; asked the five gents already seated there if I could join them. They were ok with my request, so I sat down and they ignored me.
After five or ten minutes, I introduced myself and they introduced themselves and then continued to ignore me.
Turned out that they were a group of expatriates from the same motherland and although they spoke English, they chatted amongst themselves in their native tongue. Two more expatriates joined them and the one who sat next to me was LOUD!
Actually, they were all loud and very rude talking so loudly during the speeches and presentations on the dais that people at other tables looked at our table wondering when they would shut up. They also ignored me the whole time.
I should have moved to another table, but I did not want to be rude! The meal and presentations were excellent, but I did not enjoy the company of that bunch.
The only positive thing related to that bunch was when a woman came over to our table and asked one of the guys where they were from. When he revealed the name of their motherland, she was impressed and wanted to know everyone's call sign. As the guy rattled off each call sign, he eventually got to me and said, "The lady is WA1---; she is not from our country."
Thank you for the "lady."
A Ride In An Elevator
After the Contest Dinner, I decided to check out the lounge on the roof of the hotel.
The elevator was full on the way up. I was standing with my back to the rear wall of the elevator. A man older than me stood right in front of me at a 90 degree angle. He turned his head and stared at me, then turned away and looked straight ahead. Then, he turned his head and stared at me again and again turned away and looked straight ahead. This happened three or four times.
Our faces were probably two feet apart and I was very uncomfortable, so I stared away from him until he got off one floor below the lounge.
I did not know what to make of him.
The lounge was quiet and I sat there about ten minutes without waitstaff coming around to take my order, so I left.
As I waited for the elevator with six other people, a man I know joined us. I go back over 35 years with this fellow. He used to sell ham radios locally and I bought one from him eons ago. We were also officers of the same radio club back then and I even attended a Rochester, NY ham radio convention with him riding in his van with three or four others. That was way back in the mid-1970s.
Since then, I have had one other encounter with him; about ten years ago at another ham radio convention.
We both know a lot of the same people in my neck of the woods and I am not prepared to be outed to them yet, so I worried that he would recognize me.
As the elevator ride began, he asked what floor I wanted and I told him in my best feminine voice, "Mezzanine." A couple of floors down, everyone got off except he and I. He did not say a word the rest of the way, but I could feel his eyes checking me out from head to toe.
He got off one floor above my floor without saying a word. I breathed a sigh of relief because I was sure he had not figured me out. (Knowing him, if he had recognized me, he would have said something, so I guess I passed.)