My husband got a new car. A nice one. Yesterday I took it out for a drive. It was so nice to drive a sports car that isn’t a minivan full of donut crumbs and extracurricular shit like Irish dance shoes, smelly socks, recorders, hockey sticks, underpants, moldy towels, crayons that got nuked into the floor mats by the sun, and a single fossilized McDonald’s fry that’s been wedged between the seats since Ella was two.
I cranked up Mother’s Little Helper by the Stones. I stepped on the gas, and that car flew. My hair was blowing around like I imagine Cindy Crawford’s hair does in photo shoots.
I was suddenly sexy.
In the rearview mirror I caught a glimpse of the prehistoric version of myself – pre-kids, the one who blasted rock (not Theme Song from Wild Kratts, not Zaboomafoo) on her car stereo. The cool version of myself – the one who drove fast, hair blowing. The clear-thinking, smarter version who had the time to finish a sentence, to pee with dignity and in private, who had the luxury of following a thought through to its natural conclusion without interruption.
I miss her.
I went to the car wash and had the car washed just because. Afterward I opened up the sun roof and sunshine flooded into that car, for a moment I was that long-lost girl. It felt good. There’s nothing like a new car with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts sitting in your leather seats and a turbo-charge button to make you think – for a brief period – that you are not a minivan-driving SAHM wearing yesterday’s t-shirt, Target capris, and Hallmark flip flops. You are Cindy Crawford in the 80′s on that Diet Pepsi commercial.
You are wearing Daisy Dukes.
You are a luxe-car driving hottie.
Everybody – including the Rolling Stones – is gape-mouthed at your fabulousness.
I flitted over to Starbucks. An uber-fashionable woman who normally wouldn’t say boo to me if I had my usual accessories (kids and a minivan) stopped to ogle the car. She stopped in her tracks and looked at me as if I mattered and said: “That is a gorgeous car.”
Me: “It’s my husband’s.” (Why couldn’t I just shut up and pretend it was mine?)
Her: ”I don’t know your husband – but he’s my kind of man.”
I sped off into the sunshine feeling fortified, like I had gotten some of my old power back: I was Cindy Crawford! The sunroof was open! My fabulousness was showing!
When I got home I switched back into Mommy mode to entertain a good friend and her kids at our house. After they left, we marvelled at a huge downpour – it was a truly awesome storm that must’ve dumped 3 or 4 inches of rainfall on us within a matter of minutes. Then at 4 in the morning we were awakened by an even more powerful downpour.
In the morning I got up, secretly pleased with myself that I was being a thoughtful wife – the kind of wife who gets the car washed for her husband, even though it had rained afterward. At least the inside was clean.
My husband went out to his car to get something and returned.
He said, “Go look at my car.”
My imaginary 80′s hair stopped blowing.
Mother’s Little Helper came to a screeching, unfabulous halt.
I’d left the sunroof open.
I had been so distracted by my blowy hair and Keith Richard’s guitar riffs that I hadn’t given the sunroof another thought until the moment I saw my husband’s face, which tends to turn a bluish-pea-green when he gets upset. My poor man looked like he was going to pass out from the exhaustion of being married to me.
He has to turn the bluish-pea-green color several times a year because unlike Cindy Crawford, who is perfect, I do this type of thing a lot. I’m pretty sure it’s because I was raised by alcoholics, which is similar to being raised by wolves, so I really struggle with thinking the way a normal person would, i.e.:
It’s raining —> close the sunroof.
If you open the sunroof -–> close it, asshole.
One day we had a new bed, mattress, and down comforter delivered and the very same day I left the humungous sky light that was directly over our bed wide open. A freakish, torrential downpour completely saturated the bed and the bedding, because I had forgotten to close the sky light (you’d think I would have learned my lesson, but no.)
Another time we rushed to catch a flight and we had gotten all the way to the airport before I realized I’d forgotten my purse with our passports in it. We missed the flight and had to wait in the airport…for ten hours.
Before I even met my husband, he had to bail me out of airport jail at Heathrow. I got put there because I forgot to bring my work visa, and so my future boss who would become my future exhausted husband – had to bail me out before he even met me.
Another time he said, “Please don’t forget I parked right behind you so DO NOT back your car out of the garage, ok? DO NOT.”
I flicked my eyes at him – what an ass, did he think I was some kind of idiot? I was so annoyed that I probably backed out of the garage a little too fast and in less than 60 seconds of him saying “DO. NOT” I’d smashed my BMW into his BMW. (I know what you’re saying: Die Yuppie Scum, you both deserved it, blah-blah-blah, but we were both working back then and we were kidless yuppies, and maybe I deserved it but my husband didn’t.)
I’ve lost our house keys, locked us out of the house repeatedly, left the headlights on in the car in long-term airport parking so the car wouldn’t start upon our return from a long trip. I get parking tickets, forget to pay bills, frequently space out, often leave things growing in the fridge, and even though I’m constantly doing laundry no one ever has any clean underpants. Basically, I’m the type of person who would jump into a swimming pool in a lightning storm without thinking.
My husband is the type who would jump in to save me…only he’d be the one to get fricaseed by a bolt of lightening, and I’d be fine. That’s the way it is between us.
I’ve tried to drive him off with this kind of drama too many times to count. And now his new car stinks like wet dog and yet…he hugged me this morning, just because. They say real love begins when the honeymoon phase ends and gets replaced with reality, and all the things you fell in love with are the very things that bug the crap out of you. Real love begins when you behave as if you love the person even if they do things, abominable things like leave the sun roof on your brand new car open before a downpour, that really bug the crap out of you. That’s real love.
So I tweeted about leaving the sunroof open and ruining not only the leather seats but, gulp, the electrical system. Also, my glasses fog up now when I sit in the car because it’s like the Amazon Rainforest in there.
I tweeted: I need a new swear word, for this.
My friend Alison from Mama Wants This tweeted back: What about just plain old f*ck?
Me: It isn’t terrible enough.
Alison: F*ckity F*ck, then.
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