Last night around 7:45, I was certain that my husband and son were dead or at least trapped in a bloody, mangled wreck and the car was blocking three northbound lanes on I-5.
Mike had called my office at 5:40 to offer me a ride home, just after the woman from 3-Day Blinds had left our house. (FYI: It’s really not 3-Day Blinds unless you pay $200 extra. Maybe their original name was “3-Day Blinds Only If You Pay Us $200, Sucka!” but it just wasn’t catchy enough. And what’s up with drapery companies in general sucking from the sweet teat of my wallet? We got another estimate from Budget Blinds totaling $1616.96 and that was the sale price. Whose budget is that? Liberace’s?)
I insisted that I just take the bus, but he said he was on his way.
So I left my office, walked from my building to the parking lot outside and waited.
I knew he would be late because freeway traffic is terrible at rush hour and also his regular route through a side road was completely closed due to construction. But I figured he would know how to drive to the other side or he would at least call my cell phone or office or shoot flares into the sky, signaling that he was nearby.
In those two hours, I descended through into the varying stages of panic. First stage was, “Okay, Michael. Anytime now.” Then it was increasing levels of furrowed brow annoyance. I did the Marge groan as cars passed by, cars driven by people who knew how to be punctual. Cars filled with people who were picked up as scheduled and were headed to their warm homes.
I’ll admit that in previous cases of my husband’s tardiness, I’ve casually pondered how I would go on as a widow. What I would say at my husband’s funeral. If I would actual carry out Mike’s wishes and spread his ashes through the last remaining smoking sections in the country. But Mike always showed up just in time and pounced any worry that I would have to start calling hospitals.
It was like Waiting for Godot, only the existentialist lines were replaced by my haphazard flipping through a blinds catalog trying hard not to look like a hooker. Because women sitting down on a bench after 7 PM waiting for their husbands and fashioned in Dress Barn’s Easter Sunday line of floral blouses (thanks for the gift, mom!) are really prostitutes. But I couldn’t read anything. What if Mike had parked the car, lugged out the stroller and was ferrying our son my way? I couldn’t see him if I was focused on woven shade textures. And I couldn’t leave. What if he drove by, saw that I wasn’t there and drove on home?
After an hour and a half, I called my sister in Arizona to find out if she could search through Seattle traffic cams for webshots of crumpled up cars with a father and toddler inside. But her computer was too slow and could not handle my drama. So what did I do? Lure more innocent people into my web of overreaction!
I then called Branan and asked him if I should just go home or should I wait another hour as I was very much prepared to do, to which he answered, “You’re going to wait an hour?” which really meant, what kind of woman waits in a parking lot until 9PM for a car that may or may not show up? (Answer: streetwalker!) And while he had asked his wife Lisa for a second opinion, up rolls my husband and son. In a car untouched by a fender bender or flat tire or random bolt of lightning.
“Oh, there’s my darling husband,” I said to Branan, only, I replaced “my darling husband” with “that &%&$(#@!”
I had been standing outside my building for almost two hours with nary a phone call. I had dragged the LBC family into my dilemma and pulled them away from their lovely evening of chatting about how they always pick each other up on time and infiltrated their home with some crazy woman’s worry that her husband and son are dead and she’ll have to take in boarders to cover the mortgage. Sorry Lisa. Sorry Branan.
So Mike had arrived to my work at 6 and found his normal route completely blocked off. He asked a guard how he could get to my building and the guard answered that he would have to pay a $250 ticket if he parked anywhere in the construction zone even after Mike pointed out that he was just picking up his wife and he had a one-year-old in the back. In addition to the high levels of douche Mike encountered, he transposed the last numbers of my cell phone and instead of reaching me, he repeatedly bothered some 80-year-old man who didn’t know who Mona was. Then he drove home, saw that I had not taken a bus and he returned to my work, only driving through the unfettered road and found me waiting alone in an empty parking lot.
So all of this was just to illustrate how my husband was two hours late picking me up and how if he had died, I would have probably dug up his body and screamed, “How many times do I have to give you my cell phone number!”
Mike apologized profusely and said that because of my ordeal, I don’t have to get him anything for Father’s Day. Great. Now what am I going to do with a shirt that reads, “GOODBYE TENSION. HELLO PENSION.”