Last week I left Dearly Beloved at the beach house not-on-the-beach and came back to Charlotte to grab my knitting bag, some clean clothes, the Rummikub game, and a couple of bottles of my new favorite Cupcake wine to drive to Atlanta for a few days with my e-mail group.
Friend Birdie has a two-bedroom pied-a-terre in midtown Atlanta, so the four of us were going to bunk there for fun and continuing education: we had scheduled some much-needed knitting lessons at Knitch–a perfectly wonderful yarn shop in the Virginia Highlands area of Atlanta.
As the Group Snorer, I was relegated to the master bedroom, Birdie decreed, so the rest of them wouldn’t hear me. It is the first time my snoring has proven to be an advantage and I predict that others will become self-confessed snorers before the next meeting.
For weeks before the trip, our friend Lulu had sung to us via her e-mails from Alabama:
SLOGGING DOWN THE HIGHWAY, WIPERS GOING FULL BLAST, GONNA SEE DA POSSE, GONNA HAVE A REAL BLAST
BORNNNNNNNNNNNNNN TO BE WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD BORNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTOOOOBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Wild Thing couldn’t make it. She was kayoed by a bug. Stomach flu. Wild at 60 is not the same as wild at 30.
I have driven solo on many long trips. I have even lived in Atlanta. Neither qualification prevented me from getting lost in that city at every opportunity. Since my computer and my printer are not on speaking terms, I had handwritten the directions to the condo in a composition book and stuck within its pages a handful of loose knitting patterns I’d collected, to keep them from getting wrinkled. I remembered placing the notebook, along with the first CD from a Robert Parker audio book from the library, atop the car as I was loading it. This was to ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally stick them in the back and not have the directions within reach when I needed them.
Need I say. . . the notebook wasn’t on the front seat when I reached for it somewhere near the SC/GA border. I turned off I-85 onto a road in the middle of Nowhere, SC and stopped in a parking lot at an unoccupied restaurant. A pothole large enough to fish in made me uneasy enough to move to the other side of the road before I’d get out of the car to look in the backseat for the book. There was no one in sight, but a body could have floated to the surface at any minute. (Thoughts like this are one of the perils of listening to suspense books on trips.)
The notebook and CD weren’t in the front, the middle, or the back of the station wagon. That narrowed down where they MIGHT be considerably. I was glad DB was at the beach. (As I’ve mentioned before…when I ask him, “Do you worry that I’m losing my mind?” he reassures me that no, I’ve always been like this.)
I was picturing the scene in my neighborhood, papers blowing everywhere.
I called our next-door neighbor in Charlotte and began, “Would you mind looking in my driveway to see if I dropped.. . “ and he interrupted.
“Notebook and CD? We found them in the middle of the street. They’re wet, but we have them. We wondered who could have dropped them.”
It was extremely gratifying to me that they’d even had to wonder.
No directions meant I had no idea how to get to the condo. I called my friend Beanie, who had just driven that part of the same route and who goes to Atlanta often. She talked me in with all the expertise of an air traffic controller. Maybe it was a throwback from her flight attendant days. While I am not generally not one to talk on a cellphone while driving, this was one instance that the public was much better served by having a voice in my ear, directing me on turns and lanes as I called out street names I was passing to her. She stayed on the phone with me right up until the time I drove into the parking garage. There she stood, indicating the space where I was to park.
Just the very act of arriving felt like cause for celebration. I unpacked my car and we decided it was, indeed, time for refreshment.
Another Cupcake, anyone?