Yesterday, I was talking to someone at school about people driving their kids to school in their pajamas. I had to admit that back when I worked from home I frequently drove my kid to school in the same attire.
One particular morning I was decked out in an old nightshirt. Fortunately, at the last minute I decided to add a pair of sweatpants to my ensemble because it was fall and kind of cold outside. They were horrible looking and had a big hole in the crotch, but would keep my legs warm and Hey, who was going to see me right? Those of you who know me might be able to see where this is going already.
After dropping Ben off I pulled out of the Bode parking lot and was making my way back up Noyes towards home. Right about the time I was driving past the Noyes Home for Children I pushed the clutch in to shift gears and the clutch pedal went all the way to the floor. I knew what had happened…the clutch cable had snapped. Of course, as luck would have it, in that exact instant when the cable broke in half, the gear shift had been in between gears and was now stuck everlastingly in neutral which meant that now my car could not drive anywhere. The clutch cable could have broken when it was in any gear and I probably could have at least gotten home, but oh no, the Gods of all things automotive could not let that be for I am Shawn, Queen of Misadventure and must be humiliated whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I sat in my car for a few minutes brooding over my rotten luck. I hadn’t bothered with bringing my purse or phone (I wasn’t going that far right? What could possibly happen?) I took a deep breath thinking I might as well get it over with and stepped out into the brisk fall air wearing my Garfield nightshirt and horrible sweat pants. I started walking, all the while praying to the God of everything holy that if I kept my head down none of the other mothers dropping off their kids would recognize me as they sped away in their giant four wheel drive assault vehicles. I envisioned in my mind, one mother in particular recognizing me, stopping her luxury-wagon in the middle of Noyes Boulevard and rolling down her window to inquire as to if I needed a ride somewhere.
I would prefer being mistaken for a homeless vagrant and carted off to the Salvation Army rather than being forced to accept a ride home in an Escalade with perfectly groomed Soccer Mom whom I’m sure, in addition to wearing glittery 5-inch designer heels with her Juicy Couture jogging suit, also packs her kids organic gluten-free lunches in sustainable hemp Ecobags. I could not bear the thought of her pitiful gaze looking down at me through her hipster glasses as she leaned out the window of her SUV to offer assistance. I swiped my hair over my face and walked as fast as I could toward home.
My Irish luck was with me that morning and I was not stopped by a passing officer of the law with the misguided impression that I escaped from the nearby state hospital. As I neared my house, a couple of neighbors driving by spotted me and honked, waving ‘Good Morning’ to me as they passed. They did not seem alarmed at all. No one stopped to offer me a ride. Having known me for many years now, I’m sure they thought I was just out for a morning stroll. Seeing me walk down the street wearing a cartoon nightshirt and sweatpants in the early morning mist would not seem unusual for me at all. I smiled and waved back. The original feeling of horror
and panic was wearing off as I got closer to my neighborhood and I actually began to enjoy my walk on this beautiful autumn morning.
By the time I got to my front door I was feeling much better about the whole incident and had forgotten about it completely until today. I really need to write these things down so future generations will know what kind of stock they come from. It may help them to know it’s encoded into their DNA and there’s really no amount of therapy that’s going to help. Acceptance of reality…it’ the key to serenity.