Stij has been really tied up with his woodworking business these days. He was on a tight deadline for some deeply disturbed client who wanted a wooden refrigerator (?) and he needed some supplies from Home Depot.
So he sent me.
I know, I know.
Now, understand, I know about as much about woodworking as I do about cooking…well, maybe slightly less.
You get the idea, anyway.
So, with list in hand, I tootled off to Home Depot, which is about a mile away from our house.
About a quarter mile down the highway, there was a roadblock and a detour. This really threw me, since I don’t drive much since the neighbors had to rebuild their living room the last time I did, so I don’t know my way around very well. But Stij decided to roll the dice once again, since the roads were all straight, away from a residential area, and he would be home to make sure the car was actually in reverse before I floored it to back into the driveway.
Okay. Back to the detour. Being the mature, law-abiding woman that I am, I pulled up next to the officer directing traffic and greeted him.
“PLEEEEEEEAAAAASSSSSE, OFFICER! I DON’T KNOW MY WAY AROUND HERE. I KNOW ONE WAY TO GET TO HOME DEPOT, AND THAT’S IT! CAN’T I PLEEEEEEEAAAAAAASSSSSSEEEE GO THROUGH?”
“Ma’am, there’s a flash flood up ahead—the road’s washed out. You can’t get a car through there.”
“Then let me park here, and I’ll get out and swim for it.”
“Move along, ma’am.”
Arizona state troopers do not think outside the box.
So off I went. I thought of faking a nervous breakdown, but he didn’t look like he’d buy it.
In completely unfamiliar territory now, I reached for my phone to call Stij and…guess what…I left it home.
At that point an actual, unfaked nervous breakdown wasn’t far away. And relying on my sense of direction was no good. I have been known to get lost walking to the bathroom.
So after my screaming died down and I stopped hyperventilating, I fell back on the way most women remedy a situation such as this—I found a gas station. And GAS, as most women know, is an acronym meaning: Go Ask Someone. Men have never understood this.
So I pull into a station, took several deep breaths to help calm the trembling, and legged it to the cashier inside.
“Hello, I need directions to the Home Depot—but not on the 101—it’s closed.”
My Spanish was pretty sucky, but I gave it a try, anyhow. “Por favor— Yo requisitiono mappe dos vocala chordios en la Casa Trainstationo.”
He looked horrified.
I tried again. He was just a cashier—maybe he could get one of the guys in the body shop to help.
“Por favor (I am nothing if not polite)—Perhaps el drunko mechanico…
That did it—he grabbed two Slim Jim sausage snacks and used them to make a cross, then backed slowly away from me.
Realizing that further attempts at light banter would be futile, I took my leave, got back in my car, and resumed my journey.
Ten hours later, I decided to stop for the night.
The next morning, feeling refreshed, I got in the car, started it up, drove ten feet, and the car died.
I hadn’t called Stij the previous night, because I was just too tired.
But now seemed like a good time.
“Are you okay? I’ve been worried sick! Why didn’t you call?”
“I left my phone turned off at home.”
“Gas stations have phones.”
“Let’s not go there. The car died.”
“Okay, I’ll be there in five minutes.”
“No, you won’t. There was a detour on 101.”
“Okay. What happened, did you end up driving all around the west side?”
“So I’ll see you in forty-five minutes, then.”
“I thought you were on the west side.”
“Yes. Of Colorado.”
“And guess what? There’s a Home Depot right across the street!”