“At Midnight, even bad days come to an end.” —MsMoem.com
Ninety-nine percent of the time I am not naked when I write my blogs. I guess that begs an explanation.
With meticulous detail, I dressed this morning, a new blouse, my cutest crème colored jacket with the cool belt that ties in the front, and my best Antonio Melani slacks. I took extra time with my eye makeup, careful to enhance my blue eyes. I even wore my best bra, not that anyone ever sees one of my bras, but I just wanted that extra confidence boost you have when you know the girls are up in the general vicinity where they belong.
When I arrived at the restaurant where I was meeting my manager for lunch, I jumped out of the car eager to be on time. The only parking place was on Sheridan Avenue, after all, it was Bricktown, Oklahoma City; there is never any parking. A man in a big truck squeezed into the last shaded spot; I inched into the last sunny spot.
Resigned to it, I dug into my purse for parking meter change, only three dimes. I searched every nook and cranny of my Jeep for anything shiny. One more dime, a gum wrapper, and part of an earring. I needed enough change for a two-hour meeting! The nearest store was five blocks down, but I drove there feverishly still thinking I could make it in time.
As I got back in the car I happened to glance down at my shoes and what did I see, my old worn, dirty, garden shoes! Evidently I made calls in them all morning, in spite of the fact that they are so flat my elegant Antonio Melani slacks drug the ground as I walked. Lovely. As I tore through my car to find a different pair of shoes, my manager texted me. He beat me there, just peachy. And, no alternate shoes.
When I arrived back, the parking place was still vacant, yea! I raced out of the car to the old school parking meter and began depositing my coins. I glanced at my car and noticed I had not pulled up far enough so I got back in to move my car forward. Nothing. I turned the key again. Nada. That car was as lifeless as my promise to stop eating cookies each night.
I raced back to the parking meter thinking “Deal with this after a nice lunch; get in there before he gets aggravated!” I still had a couple coins to deposit so I put one in and twisted the knob. It got stuck, and a huge red “VIOLATION” sign popped up. I was now going to get a ticket for not putting enough money in the meter because I could not move my car to another spot with a working meter. At this juncture, my typically cool exterior was feeling quite warm. My manager was still waiting. My face was as red as the sign.
Typically summer heat doesn’t bother me. I know I’m lucky. When everyone else is sweaty, smelly, red-faced, and hostile, I am comfortable, unflappable, and smell ok. My sister begrudgingly says that only once in a blue moon has she seen my body “glisten.” Genetic predisposition for it I suppose; I just love summer. Not so much, at this point.
Inside my manager was cheery, if a bit perturbed, because he too had a hard time parking. Our lunch and meeting were pleasant, except for interruptions to call for roadside assistance. I also called the dealership where I bought the car just nine months ago. No, they could not help me. No, the extended service warranty I purchased would not cover a new battery, and for that matter, it may need a new alternator. Even in the chilly restaurant, I was growing overheated.
My manager went on his way as I waited outside for my roadside rescue in ninety-seven-degree weather, which was not that bad. For a while.
Roadside Roger arrived, my car jump-started straightaway, he drove off. My car died again. I called again. He came back. This happened three times; each time I put the car in drive, it died. Roadside Roger called his tow truck.
I am on the road incessantly in my profession; stranded and weary I know well. I have had some interesting rides in tow trucks, (Like the last one, when the driver asked my niece Jessica on a date. Seriously.) but this was the oldest, most road worn, rusty tow truck known to man! Nothing on it worked. Nothing in it worked. The rear view mirror was gone. The tires were bald. The side mirrors so clouded they were worthless. The filthy sun visor dangled dangerously toward my crème jacket. The door handles had been replaced by big metal poles. The standard gear shift lever was about to shake off, fly across the truck, and impale me.
My car engine would not stay engaged long enough to shift from neutral to parking gear, so the Jeep had to ride in neutral with just the emergency brake on. I shuddered as my shiny, red, unscratched, relatively new, Jeep was tethered front and back onto the ancient creaking tow truck.
The now wet crème jacket and Antonio Melanie pants, which had become second skin, rode gingerly beside Roadside Roger in the greasy, sticky, steamy, smoky, ancient truck. The vehicle had absolutely no shocks, and I became nauseated, which lasted for what seemed like an eternity as the truck would only go twenty miles per hour. I kept looking back so I would at least know when my shiny red car rolled off and into oncoming traffic.
My face was red, my girls were wet, my feet sweaty in my garden shoes, which stuck to me. I was officially HOT and humorless. When we made it, I bowed my head and made the sign of the cross in gratitude, which did garner some odd looks by the auto service men.
When we finally pulled up at my house, my venomous mood focused on one thought, “I want two Motrin, a glass of wine, and out of these soggy, stinky clothes.” Once again, the mood muse reminded me not to take my day, or myself so seriously. As we pulled into the driveway, the auto garage driver commented, “Wow, that’s a cute mailbox; is that your last name on it? Letters? So I am writing naked today, and smiling.
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love