CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I was telling a friend about the terrible day I was having when he started laughing. He apologized for laughing, and then started laughing some more.
"I'm sorry," he said. "At least your column's going to be easy this week. I'll even give you your first line: 'Top this.'"
I expect the hardest part will be fitting it in the space I'm allotted.
This past Friday, my daughter and I took a vacation day to go to Ohio to visit my niece's journalism class and see her in a school play that same night. Since my car complains so loudly over its daily eight-mile commute, we stopped by Enterprise and picked up a rental. A great little car. Mazda 6.
The first half of the trip was perfect. Impressive school. Great play. Stayed up late catching up. In the morning, we saw my oldest niece in a horse show and then visited her new house. Aside from getting turned around when trying to find the interstate again, all was going so smooth.
Until my right foot got in more of a hurry to get home than it should have.
In my own defense, I was attempting to set the cruise control when the blue lights appeared. I tried to explain that it was a rental and I'd never had a car with cruise before, but every word I spoke seemed to anger him more. It's no wonder Ohio drivers are so maddeningly slow. They've been conditioned.
Calculating what the ticket meant to my already tenuous finances occupied my thoughts for the rest of the drive. To say I was in a black mood was an understatement.
We were just outside Charleston when one of my daughter's friends texted to ask if Celeste could stay the night. Since she had her things in the car, I said I'd take her straight there. As she'd never been to this friend's home in St. Albans before, she called and got directions. Twenty minutes or so later, we were driving down the girl's street. We couldn't see the house numbers in the dark, so Celeste called and asked her friend to come outside so we could find her.
"Oh," said the friend. "Guess I should've told you. I'm not there."
You'd think that at some point while giving directions, it might occur to a person to mention that they aren't actually at the place they're detailing how to find. But no. We'd driven 20 minutes out of our way for nothing.
After dropping Celeste off where her friends actually were, I pulled up in front of my house. And immediately realized I didn't have a key. I'd left mine with the friend who was watching my dogs.