Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Blanket you see it, now you don't!

January 14, 2010

Well, folks, here's one from the archives and it deals with the fact that sometimes things aren't exactly as they seem. It's called...

And now for another installment of, “Why Nothing In My Life Is Simple.” Time being the funny little thing that it is, while this vignette is practically a transcript of what happened, my kids are now teenagers and I wrote this when my youngest daughter was only about three years old. Thus, I have excavated this from the “basement manuscripts,” as it were, of my writing collection. Does that make it worth more?

Our pets have a “blankie” – it’s pink, old, rust-stained and full of memories for them, I’m sure. We leave the pinkie blankie in their special garage haven for those times when we find ourselves gone for lengthy periods of time (5 to 10 minutes) and/or when the weather is inclimate. The blanket stays in the garage. Or so we thought.

One rainy morning my youngest daughter is belting out some nondescript tune as loudly as she possibly can when I ask her to pipe down for a sec, ‘cuz I’m trying to do two things at once – chew gum and back down the driveway. You have to know that, while our driveway is not a nosebleed-inducing driveway, it is steep in the same way that a ramp is steep for Evil Knievel’s son. Okay, maybe it is steep. As we back down the driveway I find that the vehicle is not handling quite as wonderfully as usual, but I chalk that up to the fact that I insist on rolling over our hedge every morning and evening of our lives, elevating my husband’s blood pressure and our insurance rates. This fact often makes for a bumpy ride, particularly during a season of growth when the hedge looks like an unkempt buffalo topiary – upside down.

This particular morning we drive into town, onto the freeway, around mountaintops, and over a few more hedges not located on my property at speeds often reaching 60 miles per hour. As I arrive at my daughter’s school, I shut the driver’s side door as I have done every day since my 16th birthday, but I’ve never seen a sight like this one. There is something pink wrapped around my front driver’s side tire and, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the dog blankie. That thing is wrapped so far around the axle that I’m surprised I didn’t see it coming through the steering column as I drove the streets of Nevada County.

As I mildly exclaim at my misfortune – “Oh, @#&!” – I take the most prudent tact to removing the blasted thing from the tire, attempting to yank it off of the one-wheel portion of my all-wheel feature. I place one of my stylishly shod feet onto the tire and pull as hard as I can while the rain pours down on my head and my youngest daughter stares in disbelief.

The blanket doesn’t budge. Nope, not even a thread. I decide to finish this job off after my cornflakes kick in more noticeably, so I walk my daughter to her class and then drive off to my own place of business which also happens to be a school. This is when the real hilarity begins.

After parking, I hope against hope that the blanket has managed to dislodge itself. Huh-uh. No such luck. It must weigh three hundred pounds at this point, with the rain soaking it, making it extra sticky with all of that nice dog hair and mud. There it is. Wound tightly. Mocking me.

I resign myself to a lack of closure on my tire issue and go teach a class or two. Admittedly I’m a tad distracted so I decide to get proactive and call the on-campus automotive teacher for some professional counsel. After he gets done laughing, he informs me that a couple of his students would be only too happy to help me (translation: laugh at me), so drive on over to the auto shop.

By this time I am not only a fashion “don’t” I am a fashion abomination. My hair has become a dismal reflection of the kind of day I am having. It’s lank, lifeless and dripping hair products at an alarming rate. Rarely have I ever gone backwards in my beauty routine so early in the day. Few vestiges of my facial make-up remain and I have even less of a semblance of a hairstyle. I hoof it out to my car, experiencing the fine sensation of seeping clothing. I am so wet that my hosiery is making an attractive sucking sound in my shoes like that which is emitted by movie star swamp animals. I persevere, even though I know that I am not going to be voted “Middle-Aged Beauty on Campus,” (coincidentally, this same situation will also guarantee that I will not be up for any “brainiac” awards either).

Out of viable choices, I continue my journey to the auto shop and am met by two unlucky teens who disgorge themselves from their class, where they seem barely conscious, something I’m sure is not the teacher’s fault. (Perhaps as a teacher I am biased?) They look at me incredulously after I tell them my story, get the vehicle turbo jacked-up on the lifty-thing and commence to helping me with my problem. Except I have no problem. Well, no pink blankie problem anyway. After I apologize profusely and the students try very hard not to laugh, I drive around in search of the offensive blanket that is out to get me. In the name of all that is holy, how can that tenacious piece of wool that I spent thirty minutes attempting to drop off in the space of a three-minute drive from one parking lot to another?

I had a hard time accepting the fact that the blankie was now M.B.I.A. – Missing Blankie In Action, even though, given the way things play out in my life, it made perfect sense. I decided to cruise the many parking lots that surround our school to see if perhaps it had gotten dragged around by some other poor sap, morphed itself into a car cover or some other viable reason for its departure, but, alas, I was rewarded with not one pink blankie sighting. It just goes to show you that this situation is no different than any other situation we encounter in life, whether it’s a pink blankie, the potato masher or a man who dances – they’re never there when you really need them.

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