Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Almost every Tuesday, I participate in the "Slice of Life" community at Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for some great writing!

My second son is very linear and sequential. He likes his life to work just so.

His mother (me)  is his polar opposite. Totally random.

Which drives Son #2 absolutely crazy.

I try hard to reform. I really do.

But I just keep finding myself in ummm, I guess I would say, ummm,  situations that dictate otherwise.

A year or so ago, I sliced about the great plumber confusion.

And last Sunday, I found myself in a similar situation.

Sue, a friend from work, was flying out to Oregon early Sunday morning with her boyfriend and I had offered to take them to the airport. I actually live about halfway between their house and DIA, and originally, the plan had been that I would backtrack to their house, about twenty minutes west, and then jump on the highway, and head to the airport, which is about twenty minutes east of my house.

On Saturday evening, however, we had a little ice storm and the roads got pretty slick. Sue texted me and said that she and Alex would shorten my journey by driving to my house, and then I could take them from there. I wasn't especially excited about driving for 45 minutes on black ice, so I was thrilled not to have to drive any farther than necessary.

Sue said that she and Alex would arrive at my house at about 5:30 Sunday morning. Given the ice, I thought it might take awhile to clean off the car, so I went out about 5:20 to start scraping. The ice, however, didn't prove as thick as I had presumed, and so it took me less than ten minutes to clean off the car.

I debated going back in the house, but it was really cold, and I thought it might be nice if the car was warm when Sue and Alex arrived. It's against the law to leave a car running in Denver (and another teacher at work, new to Denver, had his car stolen the week before Thanksgiving when he did that) so I decided to sit in the car and read for the few minutes until they arrived.

I had probably been sitting there about five minutes when a black SUV pulled up right in front of me. I don't live on a busy street, in fact, aside from the newspaper delivery guy, this was actually the only car I had seen. I knew Sue drives a little dark blue sedan, but I thought that the SUV probably belonged to Alex, and I jumped out of the car and stood by the rear of the SUV, all ready to help them move their bags from their car to mine.

But they didn't get out.

I stood outside my car for two or three minutes, then started to get a little nervous.

What was going on? Why weren't they taking so long?

Finally, I got back into my car and noticed that the license plates on the SUV were from Illinois. That struck me as a little odd, especially given that I knew Alex was from Oregon, and that Sue had met him when she attended college there.  I didn't remember Sue had ever saying anything about being in Illinois, but maybe Alex had spent some time there.

I waited.

After about five minutes, the driver's side door on the SUV finally opened.

It wasn't Sue or her boyfriend.

 Instead, it was a man who did look vaguely familiar. After running through the list of possibilities, I realized that he was the brother-in-law of Caroline, my neighbor to the north. His family are in the process of moving to Colorado, and his wife, Caroline's sister, has been here all fall with their two little boys. He's come out once or twice a month and we have exchanged greetings, but have never really been introduced.

I thought he might wonder why I was sitting in my car, waiting to greet him at 5:30 on a cold and icy Sunday morning. Maybe I should try to explain myself, at least a little. I opened the door and got out.

"I'm going to the airport." I announced cheerily.

He smiled tentatively. "I just drove in from Chicago," he said.

I'm waiting for my friends," I explained. "They're coming to meet me here."

He reached into his car to grab a little dog, who immediately started to bark at me.

 "That's nice," he said, sounding like someone who had been up all night driving on icy roads.

"How were the roads?" I asked.

"They're fine, he said. "I drove through an ice storm in Illinois, but they're ok here.

"Oh, good," I said, "because I'm going to the airport."

"Have a nice trip," he said.

"No, I'll be here," I declared, "my friends are leaving and I'm waiting for them, so I can take them to the airport."

"Merry Christmas!" he said, as he grabbed his bag and headed toward his house, trying to get away from this crazy early morning conversation.

Two days later, I'm still thinking about the odds of a car pulling up in front of my house, at 5:30 on a Sunday morning, and me being there to greet it. 

I try, Kadeem, I really try.

But these kind of situations just keep finding me. 


Julieanne said...

You really had me worried. That black SUV was a bit scary. Love how you took me step by step through this moment.

Life is random. It is good to pay attention to it's randomness sometimes, no matter what those linear folks say.

Stacey Shubitz said...

I loved the way your piece started with lots of short sentences. The middle had varied sentence lengths as where the end seemed to have more short ones. The way you modified your sentence lengths really helped with the pacing of this story. Very artfully done, Carol.

elsie said...

You had me worried too. Glad it turned out alright. But you left me wondering, how was the trip to the airport and how long did you have to wait for your friends? Merry Christmas Carol!

Ramona said...

I can so identify. I'm the random person who lives with some linear folks. They struggle to understand me, but it's easy to recognize myself in your story! Merry Christmas, Carol.