#2 No No Senorita

In the early 70’s I worked at WNBC in New York and had already worked at three other New York stations. After starting in radio in Seattle, it was clear that the only way for a woman to get better jobs was to go to New York.

I ran a department, though still hadn’t broken my own glass ceiling. Just working at 30 Rockefeller Center was an adventure. I liked to talk to the elevator guys in the back of the building because they told me their inside showbiz stories.

In the winter every day there was a lady at the skating rink who seemed ancient. She was probably my age now. Legend had it that she had long ago been a Radio City Rockette. Now she posed in the center of the rink. She’d take a few little Sonja Henie steps and extend her arms in a pose. Then take a few steps in the other direction and extend and pose. If you watched long enough she’d skate gingerly off the ice and return in a different costume for the same routine.

There was the guy who played his drum sticks on West 56th Street, in the middle of traffic, on the pavement. There was Moon Doggie on Park Avenue dressed as a Viking. And the guy across the street from Saks, daily demonstrating for Men’s Lib.

Radio was a social business, and a pretty small world. Everyone went out for drinks at night and I worked on developing a taste for scotch. I didn’t make much money and worked with great people. But none of this is the story.

A girlfriend and I saved our money and went to Mexico. It was a typical tour. The magnificent history of Mexico City, where doe-eyed children constantly grabbed at us for money. Next, a silver mining city farther south.

Then we went to beautiful Acapulco with a pool on a cliff over the bay. I took scuba diving lessons which meant about an hour in shallow water to get used to the masks. A little Mexican man held me afloat and grabbed my breasts. I’d move his hand and he’d grab again. I’m sure that wasn’t in the brochure. Then supposedly we were ready for a dive. All I remember is standing at the bottom of the bay in water that was so filthy I couldn’t see a thing. I pictured Dustin Hoffman at the bottom of the swimming pool in The Graduate. They finally rescued me from my first and last scuba experience.

My next adventure was parasailing. I had barely gotten through two years of Spanish but surprisingly I managed to shop or get what I wanted to eat. I even understood the instructions for my flight over the bay. But High School Spanish never taught the word for goggles.

I wore contact lenses back then and was legally blind in some states. I had removed the lenses thinking the wind might blow them away. So wearing the goggles, I stood in the sand prepared with my instructions to pull on one rope as soon as I saw them wave a red flag. That tug would bring me back into the beach.

With a jerk, up I went over the bay. It was exhilarating. Even blind, it was a glorious experience. I had been a student pilot in Seattle, but this was just me flying.

Then I saw what I thought was a red flag. I pulled the cord, yanking me to the right over the beach.

“No, no Senorita. No, no,” I heard from the ground. I nearly crashed into a hotel balcony startling a man holding a drink. I was so close I could have grabbed the glass if I hadn’t been gripping the rope. The driver of the boat saw my near splat and sped back out to sea. Eventually they brought me down, away from any buildings. The very embarrassed Senorita, too vain to wear her glasses.

2 Comments on “#2 No No Senorita”

  1. Be glad this took place in the days when your adventures would have ended up on YouTube!

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