Hi! I’m Nancy Dancehall, your blogger du jour.
Suburbs. I hate ‘em. Nothing ever happens here except competitive shopping. My big thrill of the week is driving my husband’s car to Costco and parking in my usual spot; you know – the one between the suburban and the minivan.
A couple of weeks ago, winter opened up into a false spring, and we had the kind of days that make my heart race. There’s nothing I like more than driving around with the windows open on a warm spring day (Ok, there is something I like more. And something else.) I slid a CD mix from a friend into the player, one that I hadn’t listened to yet, and there it was; the theme song to The Sopranos.
I laughed. Yes! Just the right musical fortification for my charge into Suburbia! I could see Tony in his car, dick-sized cigar clenched tightly in his jaws, cruising Jersey, the biggest bad-ass ever.
Which is how I feel behind the wheel. The car is the Great Equalizer, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a small woman, but behind the wheel, I’m fast, I’m sleek, I’m powerful. I’m intimately familiar with the body language of steel and tires; I can predict how you will drive before you do. I don’t need a behemoth to feel this way. I’m no soccer mom. (No offence to those reading this who are soccer moms…well, not much, anyway. Just don’t cut me off on I-25 unless you have a death wish.)
So I’m sitting at the Punishment Light, waiting to turn left in a double turn lane, Mama’s telling me I’m the chosen one and I’ve got a blue moon in my eyes when the Mercedes convertible pulls up next to me.
The Punishment Light stays red.
The guy in the Mercedes calls over to me. “Sopranos?”
I turn and realize he is sitting there behind the wheel.
He’s fucking gorgeous. Late-thirties or early-forties, wavy dark hair, nice suit. Shocking blue eyes. Perfect mouth. And he is smiling. At me.
In the nineties, I’d had people compare my looks to Tori Amos. These days, I feel more like Elijah Wood wearing the One Ring…you know – invisible.
“Yeah!” I shout back. Brilliant response, but I pair it with a dazzling smile and a toss of the head.
He laughs. “Awesome!” he says.
“Got a cigar?” I shout back.
“What do you smoke?”
I watch in slow motion as his mouth drops open. “Drew Estates!” he shouts back.
“Sopranos, cigars and a beautiful red head.” He pauses.
I laugh. “Too late!”
“Yeah. Twin boys!”
He slaps his forehead. “Awwww! Forget it! It’s hopeless!”
The Punishment Light turns green. We have no choice but to drive. I turn into Costco and he goes on down the road with a wave.
I want him as he speeds out of my reach. I think about pulling back onto the road, following him.
He sees me in the rear view and slows down, then speeds up again, teasing, challenging me.
Testing my resolve.
I stick to his tail and we wind through the streets of Suburbia. I can feel bored housewives on all sides of me now (and not of the Lisa stripe) watching their soaps as I’m following this guy, my heart pounding with excitement and a little fear and, yes, guilt.
But not much of that. I push it right out of the car.
...I believe I’m feeling fine, shame about it...
He turns west and we speed toward the foothills. The other drivers thin out and I feel life begin at 80 mph.
We’re racing, dodging, challenging each other now like a great hunt. But who is the hunter and who is the prey? I don’t know anymore.
I don’t care.
...Cos papa never told me about right and wrong...
We’re in the mountains now. He pulls off an exit and finds a dirt road. I follow without hesitation.
Your car or mine is not a relevant question. He’s driving a Merc convertible, for God’s sake.
...Woke up this morning...
Instead, I park in my usual space, the one I told you about. I buy groceries. On my way back to the car, the 55-pound bag of dog food slides off the bottom of the cart, and some jackass watches me lift it back on without helping, and actually says, “I just wanted to see if you could do it.”
...Woke up this morning…got yourself a gun...
Then it’s on to the liquor store, because Colorado is So Moral that they won’t sell real beer in the grocery store.
I’m still floating from my encounter with Mercedes Man when I carry the Guinness back to the car. I open the door, drop the beer on the passenger seat, and sit down.
Wait a minute.
What’s that smell?
...Woke up this morning the world turned upside down...
It’s cheap perfume. It’s nasty.
IT’S NOT MINE. MY HUSBAND’S CAR SMELLS LIKE SOMEBODY ELSE’S CHEAP PERFUME.
The next thoughts happen in the space of less than a second:
Why didn’t I notice it before?
Could he have given a customer a ride home?
WHY would he give a customer a ride home?
Did he RIDE a customer home?
He doesn’t love me anymore.
(And he’s cheating on me with someone who wears NASTY perfume! Where the fuck did his STANDARDS go?)
But I kind of deserve this, don’t I?
...Things aint been the same since the blues walked into town...
I look around. Then it hits me.
This isn’t my car.
I’m sitting in someone else’s car. My husband’s car is next to it, identical. Except this one is cleaner. (maybe his standards HAVE slipped over the years).
“Bitchcakes!” I actually say it aloud, filling a stranger’s car-air with my cursing.
So I grab my (actually, his) beer and slink over to my car, hoping no one saw the crazy woman (in the liquor store parking lot – great!!!) get into the wrong car.
...Born under a bad sign...
So I saw the guy in the Mercedes again.
He winked. He waved.
My heart flipped.
I followed him.
He turned into a police station. Suddenly. Without signaling.
My tank was almost empty, so I limped back to the suburbs.
...Shame about it...
Ok...shameless plug; (but isn't that what everybody does on Leno?) I could use some feedback on Chapter 1...