Two Cars, One Woman and Goldilocks
Slice Of Life
By – Sheri de Grom
Washington, DC, Tuesday, six o’clock a.m.
I hated being dependent on someone to drive me, but an auto accident had rendered me unable to drive for at least six more months.
The wind whipped around me as I stood in front of our home. For a moment I thought of turning around and going back to the warmth within. Government was shut down for the day due to the bad weather but I forced myself to get to the office; I had work to do.
I struggled with my briefcase and heavy tote of files I’d brought home the night before. They’d all required review and I’d accomplished the task by three a.m.
Something seemed off but I was too tired to consider what it might be. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts but didn’t have the courage to stay home. That wasn’t who I was. Not to me or anyone else. I would never admit defeat. And I certainly wouldn’t accept it.
My husband Tom had already scraped the snow and ice off the car and had it warming. My team and I were closing in on a big case and I was determined to break it wide open within the next two weeks.
I got into the car, pulled the door shut, and asked Tom, “Whose been sitting in my seat?”
“No one. Why?”
“Yes, they have. It’s different. It needs readjusting.” I fell asleep before we left our neighborhood.
It was nothing unusual for me to crash the moment I was in the car and I woke up just before we reached our destination. My body became so well-trained those years I worked for the government. I slept whenever the opportunity presented itself.
That day, after three hours in grueling stop-and-go traffic, Tom pulled up to the building where my offices where located. A member of my team met us, helped me with my heavy tote and briefcase and another long and busy day started.
At different times throughout the day, members of my team would ask how my ride into work had been. They’d never asked before. Why the sudden interest in my commute? Almost everyone spent three to five hours commuting everyday and that was if everything went smoothly.
The remainder of the week passed and every day I asked why my seat felt different, even the seat belt. Despite endless readjustments, nothing was right. I was Goldilocks and someone had been riding in my place.
Each day, my staff seemed to have a serious case of the giggles and we were not a giggling group. We knew how to have fun but we were goal oriented. By Friday, my deputy burst out laughing each time I happened past his office door. Something was up, but what?
Normally I worked on Saturday and some of the staff joined me but I was taking this Saturday off. I was tired and positive I’d never feel alive again. I was beginning to think perhaps I should have listened to my doctors and not gone back to work before they released me.
Saturday afternoon arrived and I actually felt human after fourteen hours of uninterrupted sleep. Tom and I decided we’d take in an early movie and dinner. Opening our front door, I panicked and called out, “Tom, our car is gone. Tell me you parked it somewhere else.”
Tom’s gig was up. His laughter told me our car wasn’t really gone. He’d pulled a fast one on me. We’d talked for a couple months about trading in the new Mitsubishi Eclipse. It was a smaller car than we were comfortable driving in the “Dodge ‘em Fashion” in DC. (We’d purchased the Eclipse after our Toyota Camry was totaled in an accident months before.)
The previous Monday evening, Tom had gone to the dealership to check on something and they’d offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse. The result, I’d been riding in a full-sized Mitsubishi Gallant all week and hadn’t known it. It’s no wonder my seat didn’t feel right. It was half again larger than the smaller Eclipse’s front seat. Everything was bigger and of course heavier and stronger.
My staff was in on Tom’s joke. They all knew I hadn’t a clue that he’d bought a new car. It was no secret how much I disliked shopping for cars and most anything else—other than books of course. And they heard the daily reports that I was sure someone else had been sitting in my seat!
I pled my innocence. “I hadn’t seen the car in daylight, so give me a break.” I told them. It was always dark when we left home in the morning and the same when I left the office at night—and let’s not forget I was almost always asleep when actually in the car too!
I still don’t shop for new cars with Tom and we’ve moved multiple times since Washington, DC. When trading in the Gallant, I knew I wanted a Volvo with all the bells and whistles, but I still wanted Tom to do all the leg work. For some crazy reason he loves to talk to all those sales people. He also loves to shop for furniture (Ye, gads!) and for my business suits. Fortunately, I enjoy having a personal shopper in the family, especially one with impeccable artistic taste. I’ve yet to return a single item–not a car or an item of clothing–and please never ask me to shop for something electronic in nature. Tom has the whole process down to a science. I have veto power but I’ve never had to use it. Who am I to complain? Did I mention I haven’t cooked or been in a grocery store in over a year?:)