Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recipe for a Breakdown

First, quit Diet Coke, coffee, and your favorite drink (Propel) all at once; thinking nothing of it. A few days later, get four hours and 23 minutes of sleep the night before a four-hour drive to an unfamiliar city, one with plenty of traffic and a large number of missing street signs at busy intersections under construction. Add a large dose of menopause hormones, and allow them to simmer while you drop your only daughter at college for Freshman Orientation. Make a plan to go to dinner with your cousins in a suburb 30 minutes away. On your way there, allow your smartphone to die and plug it into an outlet you've never used in your car. Before the phone dies, though, quickly look up the address to the restaurant, but do it so quickly that you accidentally click on the wrong restaurant. When you arrive at the wrong restaurant (30 minutes from where you're supposed to be), use its phone to call your cousins at the other restaurant and let them know you will be 30 minutes late. Stir.

Before you head out again, ask someone for directions. Make sure the person you ask appears to know what they're talking about but actually has no clue. Get back in your car and start driving. For the next hour, stop at least four or five times to clarify directions, and be sure to always ask people who want to be helpful but really have no idea how to give directions correctly or truly have no idea where the restaurant is. Oh, and keep wiggling that phone plugged into your car's USB port, but don't let it occur to you that that port only works with iPhones (Curse you, Honda! What do you have against android phones?!). Make sure you're now more than an hour late.

Cry a little. Scream a couple of times. It won't do any good, but it's part of the process.

When you think you have to be a few blocks from the elusive restaurant but just can't take it any more, walk into a gas station and ask hesitantly if they have a payphone (haha) so that you can call and tell your patient cousins to forget the whole thing. When the guy at the counters says no but that you may use the phone behind their counter, ask if they have a phone book, and wait for the obvious answer (no). After that, turn to the teenager behind you and ask if he will please look up the number for you, and try not to let the top of your head blow off when he tells you his phone isn't a smartphone. When the man behind him steps up and kindly asks where you're trying to go, try not to start bawling; keep talking as if nothing is wrong, even though tears will be pouring down your face. Assure him that you are not crazy; that you are a teacher and that you truly do know how to follow directions! Wipe your tears and tell him you just can't take it any more; thanks but no thanks for the help. He will gently speak to you like a patient in a mental assylum but may invite you to follow him in your car as he leads you to the restaurant. Do it; the man is a saint.

Once at the restaurant, let yourself fall into your cousins' arms and cry all you need to. Then throw this Crazy dish out and eat some of the best sushi you've ever tasted, instead.  

And get some rest!

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