Saturday, January 10, 2015

In The Moment

“Oh my God! Oh my God! There’s Road Bike Dad! That’s Road Bike Dad! We have to say hi! That’s his new car!”

I had just pulled into the left turn lane. The light was red and there weren’t many cars on the road. Not surprising as it was after 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night in the deep suburbs. Mayor Mom and I had just finished a couple hours of laughing and hitting the tennis ball around with Fun Mom and her husband. My cold was still bothering me and I was ready to go home - didn’t even hit the clubhouse for a glass of red after we played, much to Mayor Mom’s dismay. That is how tired I was. Plus, I have this stupid no weekday wine resolution hanging over my head…why do I make these resolutions? …and why, oh why do I feel the need to say them out loud?

“Who is Road Bike Dad? What are you talking about?” These random bursts of enthusiasm were not atypical for Mayor Mom but they were usually prompted by the sighting of a casual acquaintance or friend in a restaurant or the grocery store. I started looking at the cars around us, confused to say the least.

“Road Bike Dad! Ball Buster Mom’s husband! He just got that car and he is so excited about it!!! We have to go see him!!!” Mayor Mom was flailing around in the front seat in her giant, white puffy vest used exclusively for inclement California weather exercise. The vest practically swallows her whole.

“What car?”

“That yellow Corvette! Right there!” Mayor Mom was leaning forward, pointing through the windshield.

I looked over and saw the back end of a yellow Corvette and attempted to process the idea that Mayor Mom was presenting.

Ball Buster Mom let Road Bike Dad get a used, yellow Corvette? This can’t be right.

“Come on! We have to say hi! Oh my God! This is so funny!” Mayor Mom giggled away in excitement.

And now I am being asked to chase down this Corvette at 9 o’clock at night to do what? To say hi? I barely know this guy. She’s just so excited. Why is she so excited? Seriously, I don’t understand why she’s so excited. Should I be more excited? Is this me not being present? I do need to be more present instead of always worrying about what comes next. Another one of my resolutions that I have also said out loud. To too many people.

Jesus Christ. She’s still giddy over there. This must be really important to her. Don’t be a douche, Liz. Help your friend do her thing.

I looked around and saw that I had a clear opportunity to get out of the left turn lane and move into the next lane over. I signaled and moved over. We were now in the lane next to the Corvette but still two cars behind.

I was now equally committed to the mission.

The light turned green. My confusion continued to mount as I pressed my foot on the accelerator.

I know Ball Buster Mom pretty well. I enjoy her company. I have met Road Bike Dad a few times. Nice guy. Each time I meet him, I think about one of the first times I met Ball Buster Mom. She was telling a few of us about a gnarly accident Road Bike Dad had: thrown-from-his-bike-gnarly. And it wasn’t his first accident. Scared the shit out of me. I know their twin girls, too. Great girls. My family has actually vacationed with the girls – not their parents – along with a couple other families. These things somehow happen in tangled suburban lives.

And for the record, Ball Buster Mom’s name could also be No Bullshit Mom; Yah, That’s Not Happening Mom; or if pressed: No Way in Hell That’s Fucking Happening Mom. 

I turned to the Mayor who was now fighting with the window button.

“Let me get this straight. Ball Buster Mom’s husband just got a used, yellow Corvette? Is he having a mid-life crisis?” 

“I don’t know. Maybe. It’s a CONVERTIBLE!!!” She gushed. Mayor Mom was clearly all in on the purchase.

“Why do you know all about this car?” I finally asked.

“Oh, Fun Mom and I saw him yesterday after tennis. He showed it to us in the parking lot. You should have seen his face. He just lit up when he was talking about it. He said Ball Buster Mom wasn’t so happy about it but he was so excited. It was so cute. Can you unlock this or whatever and let me put my window down?”

“Oh, sorry.” I reluctantly depressed the window lock button.

She’s rolling down the window. This isn’t just a casual, allegedly coincidental wave “hi”.  Mayor Mom is rolling down the fucking window so she can say hi to a guy she saw less than 36 hours ago and once again express her enthusiasm for his vehicle purchase. Who does that?

Oh shit! She’s OUT the window. She’s hanging out of the fucking window. Mayor Mom and her giant, white puffy vest are hanging out my car window. And she hasn’t been drinking.

We stopped at the next light side by side with our target. I craned my head to peer around Mayor Mom so I could be in the moment and offer my own, enthusiastic, bright-smiled, “hello” to Road Bike Dad.

And there, he wasn’t. In the driver’s seat of this particular used, yellow, convertible Corvette sat a husky, bleached-blonde, seemingly well-worn gal wearing sunglasses (at night). Her window was also down – not to offer a hearty greeting to her fellow drivers – she was smoking.

“That’s not him,” Mayor Mom uttered as she and her giant, white puffy vest shrunk back into the car and sunk deeper and deeper into the passenger seat.

“I can see that. Can we put the window up now?”

The rest of the drive home was spent howling with laughter to the point that I nearly took out several, orange, road construction pylons. The kind of laughter that truly cleanses the soul. The kind of laughter that only comes along when you are truly and completely in the moment.

So thank you, Mayor Mom, for helping me honor at least one of my new year’s resolutions. And on behalf of your entire community, thank for being you. I don’t think you realize the power your endless supply of bright smiles and cheerful “hellos” hold.

And Road Bike Dad, congrats on the new wheels.

Understated? Not so much. Fun? Infinitely so.

And Ball Buster Mom, it could be much worse: