When I left work yesterday, I got a phone call from L. She hadn’t called in a few weeks and had recently gone on a cruise with her family and celebrated her two year anniversary with K. Being that L and K have been “engaged” for a while, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they had had a ceremony of sorts on the ship. (It makes sense to me that they would choose not to make a big thing out of it at this point…and considering that unless they go to a different state, they can never actually get married.) So, she called to tell me that it is official. She is officially off the market. I was talking to her when I walked in to my apartment and realized that Ernge had decided to get sick all over my sheets. I let L go with the promise that I would call her today and try to get to her house this weekend to drink some Shiraz and catch up.
I had made plans for a happy hour of sorts with a friend from work. He insisted upon buying me a birthday drink and I will never turn down free beer, especially with the added bonus of pizza (with any kind of olives they can find and nothing else). I met him just before seven after dropping the pukey sheets at Pookie’s and starting the wash. Two pitchers of beer later, it was nine o’clock and I had to go back to Pookie’s and pick up the sheets.
When I got back to the house, Pookie was on the phone with her new boy and the sheets were still in the washer. She gave me some extra sheets but I decided to stick everything in the dryer and try to wait on it before I went home. We went to the store for brownie mix, came back, checked on the sheets, stuck some brownies in the oven, and went outside to smoke. A few minutes later, we heard the screeching of tires from about a half-block away. We looked over just as it sounded like a tree had fallen on a car.
We bolted off of the porch and to the corner to see what had happened, Pookie frantically speaking to a 911 dispatcher. When the first cop pulled up, it was still unclear what had happened and all that was visible from where we were standing was an overturned and severely smashed silver something or other and a white Cadillac in the next yard with tire marks through the grass. The smell of gas was almost intoxicating. Add the lights and sirens and you have Thursday night entertainment for the entire neighborhood.
The neighbors were all outside now, most in pajamas and socks looking at the wreckage. Some with faces stricken with concern, and some wearing the shameful stench of nosiness.
Turns out, the screeching of the tires we heard was from the Cadillac when he tried to slow from his 90 mph speed (in a 30 mph zone), so as not to hit a truck turning out. The smashed silver thing had once been another truck, which had been parked on the side of the road in front of a duplex and then barely missed driving straight into the house next door.
It was a frenzy of flashing lights and police radios and it was almost too familiar to take.
I sat inside most of the night, waiting for the street to be cleaned and the flashing lights to be gone, so that I could go home. And on the way there, I don’t think I had ever held the steering wheel so tight.