Recommended wine for today’s entry: Today my friend Jody and I are taking our daughters for a bit of a shopping jaunt after school. I predict we’ll last maybe two stores at the mall. Then one of us will notice that it’s 5:30 and happy hour time. I’m thinking that a glass of 41st Avenue chardonnay (California) will refresh after the stress of the crowds. It’s medium bodied, with a good blend of fruits and oak and acidity. Well priced too … and we’ve got daughters to drive us!
Just a quick post today — thinking about going to the mall later reminded me of a funny story. Well, funny for you.
In what may have been the pilot for the series Punked, an urban planner in the 1970s decided to put Louisville’s two malls about 500 yards apart on a two-lane, crowded thoroughfare. At the holidays, it is like the Manhattan morning commute, but with less honking and more middle fingers.
That scenerio, combined with normal teenage neurosis, made for the perfect storm of humiliating disasters.
I made a little quiz for you to see if you can guess what happened.
What’s a shopper’s worst nightmare?
Right. Mall traffic.
What’s a teenager’s worst nightmare?
Right. Looking uncool.
What’s a claustrophobic teenager’s worst nightmare?
Right. Looking uncool while totally and completely surrounded by barely moving vehicles so that you’re trapped.
Can anything make it worse?
Absolutely. Looking uncool in a huge crowd and doing it … ALONE.
What could happen that’s so bad?
Bingo. Car trouble.
You are good, guessing all these. But no one’s gonna be able to guess the rest.
What’s the worst thing a lone teenager’s vehicle can do to make her look unbelievably uncool?
I know you said “blow up,” and I will grant you that having one’s car blow up would be bad, but that’s not the worst. Because after the explosion, at least there would be a welcome amount of face-cloaking smoke.
No, I was 16 years old, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, at dusk, between the malls, by myself. And as we edged forward, when the car in front of me stopped, I hit the brakes and stopped too.
Well 99 percent of the car stopped.
My left front tire elected to disengage from the rest of the Cutlass Supreme and sashay its little way on toward the mall, right between the two lanes of stopped traffic.
It seemed like forever, the split second between when it registered that my tire was rolling away and when my car thunked, solidly and teeth-jarringly, to the ground.
I remember opening the door, fully prepared to just run like the wind and leave my mother’s stupid sedan right there. But I don’t think I did. I’m not really sure what I did — that’s why God gave us the ability to repress, I suppose.
Anyway, if you’re stuck in mall traffic today, grin and bear it. It could be worse.