A Breath of Fresh Air

On Friday I rushed through a flurry of errands so I’d be free to leave for Brooklyn at 5:00 for a gathering at my friend betty’s.  I’ve written before about the Brooklyn Girls, a group of women from my old neighborhood and our mini reunions over the years.  For this dinner, my contribution would be rolls, cake and wine.  Since the day was sunny, I decided to get my car cleaned up on my way to the bakery.  I hadn’t been to the car wash in so long my Latino pals there all gave me high fives.

At a traffic light a few blocks from the car wash, I went over the remaining errands in my head until I felt a thump and looked in my rear view mirror.  What I saw was a woman driver right on my spanking clean bumper with her hand clapped over her mouth.  I pointed for her to follow me when the light changed.

We pulled into a gas station and got out to look at my bumper.  The woman was in her thirties, and from the looks of the inside of her car, the mother of more than one child although she had no passengers at the moment.  She was doing the I’m-so-sorry-I-don’t-know-how-this-happened thing until I told her it happened because she didn’t stop in time.  I asked for her license and insurance card while she bent over my bumper, licked her finger, and rubbed the damaged area.

“Oh, look!  It’s dirt!  See?  It’s coming right off.”  I asked her to stand up so I could show her something.  “Look over there,” I said, pointing.  “See that building, dear?  That’s a car wash.  That’s where I just had all the dirt removed from my car.  That on my bumper there is called chipped paint.”

She was walking in circles, all upset, asking if she should call the police or her husband or her insurance company or who should she call?  I told her she could call anybody she wanted, but if she called the police she’d have to say it was her who called them because I would never do that for some scratches on a bumper.  She said, “Let it go through my insurance,” and I asked her if she knew what her deductible was and she said “No” and I said “No kidding.”  In the end I just took down her information and told her I’d call her husband later to see how we could handle this.  I felt like a car salesman talking to a teenage girl.

The dinner at betty’s was outstanding, both the food and the company.  We all always have such a terrific time talking and catching up since the last visit.  This time, a friend who hasn’t shown up at our gatherings for many years was able to make it so it was like royalty walked in the room.  We did lots of hugging, which bit me in the ass later on since she was wearing a heavy dose of perfume I must be allergic to.

I was okay until I got in my car to drive home, and then I realized the scent had permeated my clothes and hair.  By the time I pulled into my driveway 40 minutes later, my throat was closing and my eyes were red.  I ran into the house and started peeling my clothes off, yanking my boot leg jeans right over my boots, and we know the acrobatics involved in that.  I gathered everything in my arms and went down to the basement and threw the whole heap in the washer and shut the lid.  Then I turned off the lights on the main floor and went upstairs to our bedroom.

Husband was brushing his teeth when he heard me behind him in the bathroom doorway.  He glanced sideways at the clock first and said, “Well, it’s past midnight so you must have had a lot of fun this evening.”  Then he turned around and saw me standing there in my boots and underwear.  His eyes popped.

“Not THAT much fun,” I assured him.

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