Wednesday, July 9, 2014

                                        R U effen KIDDIN‘ Me?     

     Mr. Wonderful had to take “Marcel,” his six-speed pride and joy to Raleigh for an oil change. This procedure costs more than three pairs of shoes at Nordstrom’s. Everyone knows Nordstroms only has a sale once a year, and today was not the “once.”

     I always like to take advantage of the fact that his P & J must go to a city that has not one but at least three or four state-of-the-art shopping malls. One happens to be a hop-skip and a groupon away from the dealership. I would like to say that whatever he spends, I get to spend, and I do. The bad news is that it’s one my charge, not his. 

     I digress. As my daughter and four grand-children just left after spending 2300 miles in a  mud-crusted mini-van that she rented in Chicago, lucky me got to return it to the airport. I cheerfully said, “No problem, love. We have to go to Raleigh anyway. I’m happy to put gas in it and take it back.” So at 7:28 a.m., I pull out of the driveway thinking--only two hours to the Rental Return, (the car was due at 10:30) a “Marcel” drop-off, and I’m home free at Southpoint Mall.

     An hour into the drive,  I’m sailing along I-40 listening to rap and rock as loud as I can (so I can still hear Hortense, the GPS Queen). Mr. Wonderful was undoubtedly enjoying SPA radio with Marcel. Suddenly, the traffic comes to a screeching halt. I think “Oh no, I knew this was too good to be true. It’s probably construction.”

     An hour later, still sitting in the exact same spot, all I can think about is that I have to pee so bad, I’m sure my kidneys are infected and disintegrating. Throwing all modesty to the wind, I climb the large pine-tree hill in my stilettos, and throw down my thong. The cows watching didn’t even moo. I couldn’t bear to look at any of the cars  who by now were lined up for at least ten miles behind me. Thank goodness for pine trees.

     Maneuvering my way down through the pine straw, I approach my car. There is a tiny 15-month old pattering down the asphalt watching a soccer game being played on the median. It’s amazing what people will do when faced with a no-win situation. 

     I decide to call AAA. After they put me on hold for seven minutes, deafening heavy metal blaring in my ear, a woman’s voice comes on. “Can I help you?” (Everyone knows she CAN, but will she?) I tell her my dilemma and ask her if she knows the cause and how far ahead the backup occurred. She says, “No, but I’ll direct you to that department.” Four minutes later, more deafening music in my ear, another voice comes on. “What is your situation, mam?” I explain, and she says, “Hmm. I don’t know. If you’ll hold, I will check into this.” Of course she will. Finally, after another several minutes, she returns to tell me, “There was an accident.” Omg. What a surprise. “I don’t suppose you know where it was or when it will be cleared?” “No, mam. I think it’s about 35 miles ahead of you.” “Great. Thanks so much,” I say gritting my teeth.

     As I hang up the phone, the traffic begins to move. Within seconds, I’m doing 73 mph, and there is no sign of any accident. Mr. Wonderful and Marcel are just a few miles behind me--unaffected by the back-up. On the radio, there is a news alert:  Sixteen-mile back-up on westbound I-40. Alternate route suggested.