This past weekend my friend stayed over at my apartment, she came to participate in my ArmChair Workshop. Typically, people who stay over usually come on Friday and leave out on Sunday a.m., but this time my friend was staying over until Monday afternoon.
It was a bright early Monday morning and I was stirred from my drugged state of physical exhaustion caused by my busy weekend. All I could think of was coffee, and lots of it. I got out of bed with that one thought. I hobbled out of my bedroom on feet screaming obscenities at me for walking and standing for hours at the event-, they hated that, and were having their revenge on me in this early hour. I believe when I crawled into bed and I was 51 but with every step I take – I was starting to believe I had to be 80! With each step it was followed by an “Ouch”, I entered the living room and that is when it hit me – like a bucket full of ice water.
Oh MY GOD! It’s Monday! My hands flew in the air, my hair stood on end and I felt my blood pressure hit into my head. I went to run to the door then stopped and turned back toward the hallway that led to the bedrooms. But I said, NO! And stopped once again and turned back to the door – I was doing a poor imitation of the Curly’s, Three Stooges, trademark circle dance. I was panicked, I couldn’t think about anything but, “HER CAR WAS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!
As I was doing my Curly Dance, I kept sayings “WHERE’S HER KEYS???? WHERE IS HER KEYS????? SHOULD I WAKE HER, NO! DON’T WAKE HER, WHERE’S HER KEYS???? I HAVE TO WAKE HER???
I ran to the guest room – threw open the door! And screamed, “CAROLYN, WHERE’S YOUR KEYS??? THEY ARE GOING TO TOW YOUR CAR! WHERE’S YOUR KEYS!!!! You would have thought she was a cat the way she jumped up to the ceiling! She stumbled around saying “I haven’t seen them since Friday!”
It was like a scene in a Three Stooges movie! She was doing her imitation of Larry – (where was Moe, he usually has a plan!) I was trying to think, was it 7am or 7:30am? Where are my shoes, do I have time to find my shoes? I threw open the hall closet door and pulled out the first shoes I found. They were the electric green clompers my sister Traci swears if she ever sees me in public wearing them- I will be one sister short! I put them on anyway!
By the grace of God, the wayward keys were found in what seemed like slow motion, I grab them from her like it was my favorite toy, I ran to the elevator and started beating the hell out of the old elevator buttons. Please God, don’t let them tow. Please God don’t let them tow……PLEASE…what the hell is wrong with this elevator! I heard it coming, why do four floors take so long. It finally got to my floor, I ripped open the elevator door and got in – and had to wait till the outer door closed….it is the longest process ever, this elevator has a mind of it’s own and will not be rushed . I watched in agony as the outer door slipped its metal locking system into place and I swore under my breath that I would get back at this elevator if it were the cause of the car being towed!
However, I stopped in mid revenge thought; I remembered that this elevator is much more powerful then me! This old elaborate elevator has controlled the center of power in this apartment building since the 1920’s. It has seen people come and go, yet it has endured. However, it is getting old and crotchety; it has a breakdown at least monthly and some times – weekly! Since I have lived here, it has broken down five times and it seems to be having an on running dispute with the oldest resident of the building. She is a 79 yr. old woman who lives next door! In four of the five breakdowns, this fiery old woman has been trapped between floors! The firefighters have to be called and the process of extracting her begins. I remember all this while I am in this moving tin can and I pray that it is not having a bad day and traps me in midstream. So instead of thinking of ways to find revenge on this elevator, I whispering sweet words of encouragement that it will safely take me down the 3 levels….please, please, please.
Again, a miracle has happened and I arrive safely to the first floor lobby. She has allowed me safe passage, but as a little reminder that she certainly does control us- she did not line up with the lobby floor and I am lower then the lobby is – I forget to look and I trip into the lobby. I catch myself as I race to the front doors hoping that I made it.
I cannot see down the street from the main entrance, I try to run but these frecken plastic shoes make that impossible. I am feeling in my 80’s as I try to jump the three levels of stairs that I have to maneuver to get to the street…..I race to the white car in front of me.
I almost snap my head off as looked up and down the street to spy the Lakewood cop car and the evil tow truck driver starting to upset the lives of the apartment dwellers- those second-class citizens of Lakewood Ohio. But I don’t see them? Where are they? Did I get the times wrong? OH, my GOD, did I get the times wrong? I run to the driver’s side of the car, I look up to see the sign – it is towing at 7AM – It is 7:07am, what happened? They are like sharks in the water waiting for the click of the 7am chime, what happened?
I am at the beginning of the row of apartment buildings on this road. Only the apartments park on the street, the big houses on this street all have their cars parked safely in their big yards- only us lowly renters have to be constantly concerned with TIME – what time is it, and what side of the street can I be on at this hour? The traffic hour of going into Downtown is the reason for this daily dilemma – this is not a main throughway, we have rights! I have to protest this unfair hardship!
I was then slapped back to reality; my guides yelled, “Get in the car!” I focused back on my quest and the thought hits me like a brick- “OH SHIT, DOES SHE HAVE AN ALARM? Let’s hope not! I frantically tried three different keys in the door panicking as if a chainsaw yielding masked man was coming for me and finally I got one to work. I threw open the door only to find I had to wedge my girth into the lowest, tiny car seat I have ever been in and with one eye on the look out for the dratted Lakewood police, and one on finding the whole to stick the key, I started her up!
I pulled away from the curb as if it had cooties! Pulled in the a driveway and turned around and pulled into a spot on the “allowed” side of the street just as the police pulled up with is flashing lights (on the other side) right behind where I was parked and the process began..
I put the car in park; my heart racing as if I had had just done a triathlon. I had to un-wedge myself from the seat (I know what a sardine feels like) and I shut the door and clasped against the car. I felt the roar of triumph slam into my throat. I DID IT! They didn’t get me this time! They got me once before when my friend Helen stayed over. It cost me $150.00 bucks and 3 hours of jumping through hoops to locate the car and get her safely inside it. Nevertheless, they did not get me this time! I WON! They got no more money from me! I won!
I sat there basking in my glory. I watched as the cop car sat diagonally behind the poor soul that was not in tune enough with his guides to have been warned about his error. I was feeling AMAZING.
Then I noticed that the cars driving past were not celebrating in my victory – they were looking at me with a quizzical look…Why were they looking at me like that? Usually people are like drones, and they look at the flashing lights of the cop car, but they were not, they were all squarely looking at me! Why? What was so compelling about me that I got their attention?
I looked down and was horrified OH NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!
I was standing on a busy morning commute street with my huge electric green plastic shoes, my navy blue, not flattering shorts with legs that have not seen the light of day in over a century and my favorite teal Trading Spaces shirt. That was bad enough…..but I realized in my haste I must of pulled the one and only working button on my shirt open and my girls were hanging out for the world to see!
OH, MY …IS THIS DAY OVER YET?