One happened in 1989, when I was driving along a rather busy avenue in Small Town, USA. My hair was big. It was, after all, 1989, when a single can of Aqua Net often lasted only a few days. That morning, I had scraped all of my hair into a single ponytail, on the left side of my head. I had also adorned it with a hot pink scrunchy.
Side ponytails were something I adored. Why did you trick us all into believing that they were so awesome? I have vivid memories of achieving Side Ponytail Glory as well as Cyndi Lauper achieved it. Now…I cringe at the old photos, and I resent the fact that you lured us all into thinking we looked amazing…as amazing as all the guys with their mullets.
With my enormous side ponytail ratted to a volume that would have made the members of KISS sit up and take notice, I headed out in my 1982 Honda Accord.
(As a side note, I shouted with utter delight this weekend, when Hubs and I passed a 1982 Honda Accord, which looked exactly like mine had looked! I yelled, “Look! I think that’s my old car!” My heart actually fluttered with the hope that the Accord and I would, momentarily, be reunited for a split second. And Hubs replied by saying, “Honey, there’s no way your old Honda is still on the streets. I’m sure it was squashed into a soup can years ago. It’s probably faster as a soup can, too.”)
(Hubs drove a 1968 Camaro that made a whole lot of noise. He fondly said, “Loud pipes save lives.” Strangers were continually knocking on the front door of Hubs’ house, asking him if he was interested in selling his car. Hubs would glare them down and assure them that he was keeping the beast. He liked to race me, too, and sometimes, when I shut the air conditioning off and the radio off, I could beat Hubs in my Accord. Don’t tell him that I said that, though. His Camaro gets sad when it remembers how the 1982 Honda kicked it into high gear and left him behind. And also? No one ever knocked on my front door and asked me if I was interested in selling my little blue love car.)
But really? I was telling y’all the story of the Day of Embarrassment, and not a story about how much I loved my little car.
That day in 1989 was hot, and I rolled the window down. I was probably trying to pick up some speed on the straightaway, which would’ve meant that I’d shut the air conditioning down in order to give the engine a chance to gain a little more kick. But, as often happens with an open window on a car, the breezes came inside entirely too fast, and my Hair Perfection was in danger of being ruined, so I rolled the window up.
And I drove for quite some time.
And I passed many, many cars.
I even waved at a couple of people I knew, because I was very social in 1989, and I waved a lot.
(And that’s different from 2010 how?!)
And then, I needed to switch over from the left lane to the right lane, so I did what every driver’s ed instructor emphatically teaches you to do. I turned my head to look over my right shoulder, to make sure no one was in my blind spot.
And when I did that, my neck snapped with a violent jerk, and I was almost paralyzed from the resulting injury.
My enormously-ratted side ponytail, which was on the left side of my head, had been left OUTSIDE THE CAR, PEOPLE, when I rolled the window up. Clearly, I was driving down the busy street with my hair stuck out the window, flopping outside in the breeze. I had to roll the window down to release it, so that I could attempt to move my neck and regain some feeling in it.
And, as all teenage girls do at times like that, I burst into tears, because HOW MANY PEOPLE HAD SEEN MY PONYTAIL ROLLED UP IN THE WINDOW???
The incident is forever burned in my memory as the Day of Embarrassment.
And then there was today.
I picked the boy and Kellen up after school, and we had to stop at Home Depot to secure silver spray paint, because this is the time that mothers everywhere claw their eyeballs out with frustration over, while they are forced to make Halloween costumes.
I may have mentioned that I am completely UN-crafty. The big craft stores? Well, they send me into full-on panic attacks. I can operate a hot glue gun, and that is the extent of my craftiness.
So clearly, securing a can of spray paint at Home Depot so that we could achieve a silver cardboard crown made me smile with pleasure. The wind was blowing hard enough to push the Nina and the Santa Maria across the ocean in less than three days today, and I am not a fan of the wind.
The boys, who are bottomless pits, insisted that they would both die of starvation, if I did not secure them some form of nourishment, so they each picked out a bag of beef jerky at the checkout counter.
The contents of our plastic sack were slim when we left the building. Two bags of beef jerky. One can of silver spray paint. The boys ran — ran like the wind, which is saying something today! — to the Suburban as soon as they broke free from the store.
And then a gust of wind that made Hurricane Katrina look like a spring breeze caught my plastic Home Depot sack, even though I was holding onto it quite tightly. The wind blew it up, and ripped it plum in half. The can of spray paint and the beef jerky hit the parking lot, and they blew.
They blew, and they blew, and they blew, and that can of spray paint was rolling across the asphalt at a speed that the 1968 Camaro could never have achieved.
That can of silver spray paint could have knocked Jeff Gordon out cold at Talladega.
(Don’t even ask me how I know the name of a NASCAR track and driver. I blame Jodi and her NASCAR parties.)
Naturally, the spray paint and the beef jerky parted ways, and I actually spent a split second trying to decide which one I should chase after. The spray paint was what we needed the most, but the jerky had cost the most.
I determined that I’d catch all three of my items. I yelled for the boy like any decent white trash mother would do. It was more of a screech than a yell, but alas! The boy didn’t hear me, because he and Kellen had already loaded themselves up into the Suburban to escape the wind.
So I ran after the can of silver spray paint by myself. And every time I thought I had it, the wind gusted and the can rolled out of my reach. I employed my lifelong soccer skills, and tried to trap the thing with my feet, and still, it continued to get away from me. In the meantime, I had managed to step soundly on one bag of beef jerky, so I had it in my hands. The other bag was quickly closing in on the can of spray paint, and I was flailing all over the parking lot, holding a plastic sack that had been ripped to shreds and a bag of jerky.
I’m pretty sure that I looked like someone having a seizure on Dancing with the Stars.
I eventually caught up to all of my items, even though I had to chase them for a quarter of a mile, trying to step on them and stop their forward progress every chance I got.
Cyndi Lauper, in all her ponytail glory, could never have achieved the dance moves that I demonstrated in the parking lot of Home Depot today.
I’m just grateful that I don’t need to visit the chiropractor tomorrow because of it.