When my boy started kingergarten, both of us were pleased to find new groups of playmates. His posse was all about two-square and monkey bars. Mine was more about martinis and 80s cover bands. It was a great start to some great friendships that I treasure! My boy once said of Mary: "she has a really strong laugh." And she does - Mary's laugh is the stuff of legends, it really is the sound of true happiness! Mary is up for anything, she is the original rock star, and one of those friends that you just know will always be there for a laugh or a gripe or a drink or a roadtrip - whatever you need! She's also a hero, giving of herself whenever others are in need, which includes everything from serving as leader for her son's boy scout troop to raising thousands and thousands of dollars each year to fight breast cancer. AND she's crafty! But Mary's giving nature has not always been rewarded, as we learn in this ominous tale:
Many, many years ago, before marriage, kids, and their corresponding responsibilities, I had a boyfriend (well, more than one, but this story relates to one in particular). While we were dating, this boyfriend bought a house which resulted in us having to spend a day moving his possessions from one part of San Diego to another. At the time, we were in our twenties, so his possessions didn’t include a whole lot. Some random furniture pieces, clothing, and a motorcycle. Now, nobody actually likes moving, but it is a part of life, so I gladly showed up on the designated Saturday to help him.
The plan was for us to pack the truck, drive to the new house (together), unpack, return the rented moving truck and pick up his car, drive back to the old apartment, where he would get the motorcycle and ride that to the new house while I followed in his car. Sounds like a good plan, right? *Sigh* It really was a good plan. Too bad it wasn’t followed.
What actually happened went something like this. I showed up at his apartment in the morning and as I drove up I saw the hugest moving truck ever. EVER. I asked him how many families we were moving that day because it looked like we were moving the entire neighborhood to the other side of the U.S. He chuckled but replied, “it’s not that big!” (It was.) We packed up his belongings and were ready to head to the new house when he changed the plan. He decided it would be better if I drove the moving truck (WTF!?!?) to the new house while he followed on his motorcycle. “No!” I shrieked said. “I really don’t think that is a good idea. For one thing, this truck is huge and I wouldn’t be comfortable driving it and for another, my name isn’t on the rental agreement.” “Relax,” he replied. “You’ll be fine. We don’t have to go that far and I’ll stay near you.” (Yeah, right.) After arguing for a few minutes, he
It was about a 15-minute drive to the new house via Friars Road which is a major street (3 lanes each direction) that runs parallel to the interstate. (It is also the main road into the stadium which will be important in a few minutes). With heavy reservations, I scaled the side of the truck climbed into the driver’s seat and we were off. Five seconds into the “drive” and I almost clipped the building’s overhang with the top of the truck (proving my point that I should not be driving this beast). I continued the journey and made it down the hill and onto Friars Road where my boyfriend promptly sped off on his motorcycle. So much for staying with me.
I breathed a sigh of relief for making it that far (5 minutes) but was still uncomfortable in the driver’s seat. I had absolutely no depth perception, could not tell who, if anyone, was behind me, and had no idea how high the truck was. I headed east trying to envision if there were any low-hanging bridges along the route when I noticed that there were traffic cones up ahead changing the direction of the traffic. It was then that I clued in there was an event going on at the stadium. If I could change lanes (twice) I could go around the stadium traffic. But by now, there were a lot of cars around me and I had no idea if I had enough room between them to even move over. If I didn’t change lanes I would be forced to enter the stadium parking lot. After a major small panic attack I decided it wouldn’t be all bad if I went into the lot. I could exit from the opposite side and be near where I where I was eventually going anyways. The lot attendant made me pay the event parking fee but said I could get a refund if I exited within 15 minutes. I proceeded into the parking lot and followed the flow of traffic, but eventually came to a dead-end of sorts and was forced to turn right. It was here that the trouble began. On my left was a sidewalk and on my right were rows and rows of cars but the “lane” I was in felt really small especially for the size of the truck. Up ahead on the left was a trailer/food cart that sold hot dogs and had an awning that extended outward. I tried to move a little to the right but I didn’t want to hit the cars parked there. Too late I realized I didn’t have enough room to clear the hot-dog stand and the truck clipped the awning tearing it from the side of the trailer. The two girls inside the hot-dog stand were screaming and chaos ensued. At this point, I am so PISSED at my boyfriend because this is so OBVIOUSLY his fault. I got out of the truck and inspected the damage. I profusely apologized to the ladies in the food cart and explained how I came to be there in the first place. I left them my name and number and after about 20 minutes, continued on my way, still having to navigate through the rest of the parking lot. When I finally came upon the lot attendant at the exit, I gave him my time-stamped receipt from the entrance and asked if I could get a refund. He saw that I was well beyond the 15-minute time window and asked what took me so long. I told him I stopped for a hot dog.
I made it to the boyfriend’s new house without anymore trouble. When I pulled up, he came over and asked me what took so long. I just looked at him with death in my eyes.