Day 5: Game of Groans (Daily Prompt): Please Meet My Dear Friend, Chronic Lateness — She Should Be Here Any Minute Now
Today too, I thought I’d give the daily prompt a try. As an additional challenge to myself, I will try to do it by 4:30. My response to yesterday’s prompt completely derailed me — in a way I’m really used too, unfortunately. But I must do some real work (or I’ll say “other work”) today, too, plus run to the grocery store. No more cat food for the dog! (I just read that it’s not good for them; I knew the opposite was true, cats eating dog food, but… .) Yuck. I’m not sure I like the way this little intro is turning out to be just the perfect fit with what comes next.
(Note [later]: Aughhh!!! It’s 4:54. And if I don’t post this soon, NOW, I won’t make it to the grocery store in time to meet friends in time to… . And it won’t get posted today. Doing quick read-through, but please pardon any silly mistakes.)
Today’s Daily Prompt: Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/game-of-groans/
Please Meet My Dear Friend, Chronic Lateness — She Should Be Here Any Minute Now
I can’t wait for you to meet my dear friend, Chronic Lateness — she should be here any minute now. She’s amazing, wait till you see.I know you’ll just love her.
Oh, she just texted, something about a huge snake, but maybe we shouldn’t mention it, actually. She sounded really frazzled.
Yeah, things like this are always happening to her, it’s true. And then she’s always late — sometimes really, really late — because of it. Late to work? Oh, that goes without saying. Please!? I’m talking: weddings, surgeries (her own, one time), baby showers, traffic court, you name it — basically anything and everything. BIG things. And why wouldn’t this be the case, at least sometimes? When you think of it, nothing is so important that it can prevent, you know, something like the bed and breakfast you’re staying in from falling into a sink hole. Well, THAT HAPPENED to this gal, the night before her best friend’s wedding . Oh man, the other bridesmaids were so pissed , SO pissed. That was the day I stopped being annoyed at her and started feeling sorry for her. I mean, ever heard of an “Act of God,” people? Hello? How is one person, albeit a maid of honor, supposed to stop a sink hole?
And then there was this big cover-up, apparently, because there was nothing about it in the news, anywhere, at all. It was as though the Sleepy Good Times B&B had never existed and the sink hole never happened at all! The bridesmaids stayed pissed a long time — even after the wedding, the honeymoon, and the divorce. At some point, though, Chronic Lateness heard through her professional connections (she’s a freelance editor, focusing mostly environmental geology-related policy and litigation or something like that — super smart) …. where was I? Oh, right, apparently, so right before the wedding, this team of geologists had warned the powers that be, the local government in the town where the wedding was I guess, that the sink hole was going to happen. They even called the B&B (under hypnosis, Chronic Lateness was able to recall overhearing the B&B keeper’s half of the actual conversation, verbatim — eerie). But nobody did a thing about it. In the end, she wasn’t able to tell us much about it because it was all top secret, classified. I’m pretty sure she’s got like the highest security clearance possible.
Anyway, my theory is that she kind of “blocked out” that call she overheard about the sink hole because the wedding meant so much to her — she cared so much, she couldn’t bear for anything to get in the way of being there for her best’s friend’s (well, then best friend’s) big day. The facts is she’s lucky she got out of the sink hole alive, but she will not talk about it, nope! Has a touch of PTSD still, I think. (Who wouldn’t?) As it turned out, she almost missed the whole wedding, only showed up for the reception and in the wrong dress and everything. Everyone was staring at her, judging her, acting like bitches, etc., etc. It’s no wonder what happened later … how she started singing with the band and all. She really wasn’t bad. The dance might have been a bit much … and that thing … with the groom’s dad (who I’m sure loved every minute of it, dirt bag). But anyway, if anyone deserved a little fun and some serious stress relief that night, SHE did. I mean, geeze! Where’s your compassion, people? Anyway, that was the day I stopped feeling sorry for her and started to admire her for her strength and loyalty, as well as for the depth of her caring.
I’m sure very few people would even consider trying to make it to a wedding after escaping a sink hole.
Hold up! She just texted again. Oh my gosh. So, apparently there’s a truck with its hazards on blocking the entrance to the parking lot. She wants to know if we want her to try to drive under the truck because she will (and she means that) — she’s willing to risk it to make the movie in time. Oh here: she says it looks like a tight squeeze but she’s pretty sure she can clear it. What a trooper, you know? But, come on! Is she kidding? (No, she’s not.) I’ll tell her no … . I mean, just the fact that she’d offer is unbelievable, but no thanks: please don’t risk your life for a movie. Right? I’m texting her: “stop being a ding dong and get here when you can … be safe!” We can always catch the next show, right? That’ll give you time to get to know her better, and you’ll see what I mean, how kind of “larger than life” she is, how amazing. So unique.
Anyway, drinks first is actually better than our original plan, when you think of it, because you can’t really get to know someone sitting next to them in a movie theater, can you? Right. It’s totally true. Hmmmmm. Oh, gosh. That actually brings to mind a whole other story, from just a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to mention it…
I was out with a bunch of gals and we were having a drink, chatting, waiting for Chronic Lateness to show up before ordering dinner. Then we had another round, but when all the nachos were gone, people started getting antsy. I was just about to suggest a third round (which I admit is a bit much), when suddenly someone, I’ll call her Hilda — heh, heh — totally freaks. She gets all red and huffy, says, “I’m ordering. This is ridiculous. Chronic Lateness is always f_cking everything up. No more!” (She was one of the bridesmaids from the sink hole wedding, by the way. And I do think that’s relevant here.)
I was just about to say, “What’s the big deal? We’re having fun, reminiscing, etc.” (You know how once the food gets there, all the really good talk stops?) Well just then, I get a text from Chronic Lateness. “Hold up! Hold up!” I say. “She just texted.” But Hilda doesn’t want to hear it.
“I’ll have the mushroom ravioli with cream sauce,” I hear her telling the waitress. A few of the others (also from the sink hole wedding) follow suit as I read the most totally freaky and terrifying texts from Chronic Lateness ever.
“OH. MY. GOSH.” I say, holding up my hand. “Wait till you…”
And just then Chronic Lateness sort of stumbles through the door, and all of us froze, even the waitress. Her hair was all crazy-looking, her shirt was torn, and she had on two different shoes — the same shoe, actually, but one was black and the other was brown. (That part didn’t totally make sense to me.) Anyway, it turned out she had just chased down a purse snatcher and had put him in a head lock — BY HERSELF, as other people just stood there gawking — until the police arrived. And then she had to fill out some kind of stupid form and answer all these questions that made her feel like she had done something wrong … “like I was some kind of scoff-law,” she said. And she’d gone through all of this while we were stuffing our faces with nachos, squabbling over when to order, etc.
She was trembling as she told the story, obviously still very shaken up. Who wouldn’t be? Most people would have gone home and taken a hot bath after such an ordeal. Hilda and company were still acting pissed, though, even after they heard the story. Can you believe it? Meanwhile, a few others and I were thinking and quietly discussing how brave Chronic Lateness was to risk her life just to get that poor old woman’s purse back.
The mood did lighten after the food was served — people are just not at their best when they’re hungry (I know, I waited tables all during school) — and even Chronic Lateness began to relax and have a bit of fun.
After dinner, though, during dessert, was when it all came tumbling down for real and — ever since — there’s been kind of like two camps when it comes to Chronic Lateness. What happened was the bill came and Chronic Lateness could not seem to locate her wallet. And now that she thought of it, she remembered seeing this other shady fellow — in her “peripheral vision,” she said, which is like abnormally acute. He had been hanging around near the purse snatcher, she was sure. Could they have been working as a team? A bunch of us got goose bumps. Oh the irony! Was she robbed herself by this second guy while she restrained the first one?
“That’s exactly what happened,” I remember saying, slapping my hands against the table.
Chronic Lateness pushed her dessert plate away.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Well, I can’t pay for this… .” She started to cry a little. “Obviously, I can’t pay.”
“Pay?” I said. “You’ll do nothing of the sort. We weren’t going to let you pay anyway, were we?” (I heard a few encouraging mumblings.)
“Well. That’s my cue,” said Hilda. “I’m outta here. This sh_t is crazy.” She threw her money down, and the others in her camp did the same.
“What don’t you get about this? I almost shouted. “She’s a f_cking hero!”
“No,” said Hilda, “she’s just someone with a big f_cking problem — always late, always missing something, always a big story. Well, I’m sick of it.” And then she bent down: “I wish you well, I do,” she almost whispered to Chronic Lateness, “but I’m done.” And they all walked out.
We talked a while about what bitches they all were, cheap bitches at that, but Chronically Late didn’t join in. She was uncharacteristically quiet in fact for the rest of the night. The PTSD, I’m guessing.
“Don’t worry,” I said, but really, at the time, I wasn’t sure what I meant, exactly. I just never saw a person look so lonely, I don’t think, in all my life. And the fact that she had on her signature “clown pants,” as we call them — that symbol of her specialness, her freak flag flying high. The fact that she had her special pants on, along with the brown and black version of the same shoe, it was just so … sad. All of it. Weird, too, maybe a little confusing. But mostly sad. (Long sigh.)
I don’t know. I’m no genius.
Anyway, things are a lot better now. She’s doing great! Still late, as you can see — heh, heh — but as amazing as ever, as you’re about to find out.
That’s the thing about people like her, great but in such a unique way that they are often misunderstood. People get intimidated, I think, or even jealous. Is she sort of a mess? Yes. But I think it’s because she bypasses the more mundane concerns to what’s really important. And I think somewhere in all that chaos, she can make out, like, this higher level of order — that the rest of us can’t see. I mean, here, we are, all worried about our weddings and our mushroom ravioli and our jury duty and our movie times, while she’s…. she’s …. Hold up. Just got a text.