I Live in a Sitcom, Not A Romantic Comedy
Did you ever feel like your life was a movie? Hopefully, it’s not a horror movie or even a suspense thriller, but some sort of drama or comedy or romcom?
I used to feel that way sometimes. Things that happened in my life seemed straight out of someone else’s imagination.
Since being with the husband, my life feels very much life a sitcom. It’s like someone presents a premise that appears normal, puts a twist on it, and then hilarity ensues with everyone learning (or not learning) a lesson at the end.
Some of the time, we’re normal. But in between the normal, we careen from one crazy situation to the next.
What has happened recently to further let me know I’m right about this? I’m glad you asked.
I mentioned before that the husband went to Haiti for a weekend for a jazz festival down there. He arrived back in town on a Sunday evening.
I headed to the airport to pick him up, along with a good friend of ours who was visiting NYC for a series of gigs, including the Haitian jazz festival.
I decided that I was going to surprise the husband. At a first glance, it looked like I was wearing jeans, a fleece, boots, and one of my winter coats. Peel down one layer and I was wearing something fun and frisky underneath.
Upon arriving to the airport, I’m immediately stuck in a traffic jam. If you’ve ever driven to pick someone up from an airport, you know that sometimes you have to circle around because airport security won’t let you just idle outside on the curb.
After my second time circling around, the gas light came on. How I managed to avoid noticing the gas was that low escapes me, but it fits into the sitcom, so of course I didn’t notice.
I ended up pulling to the end of a long line of cars standing in an awkward point of not-really-the-entrance-to-the-parking-lot and not-really-the-way-to-circle-back-around-to-arrivals. Just my luck, the tail end of the car was a bit in the way of cars trying to pass us.
Don’t worry, no one hit my car, but a few cars made a huge show of slowing down and creeping past to make sure they had room. One jerk in a while baby SUV did it six times. I mean, come on dude, you should’ve figured out in the first couple of passes that your tiny SUV could fit.
After over a half hour of waiting, the husband calls to say they just made it out of customs and currently en route to baggage claim. Oh, and he got a gig offer that he simply had to take because it was a group he hasn’t played with yet and he’s still new to New York, so he really can’t turn down gigs just yet even though he just landed from an international flight and he’s really sleepy and hungry and in need of a shower but, you know, he really should take this gig.
When he gets on a roll like that, I just smile into the phone, roll my eyes, and say, “sure, sounds good.” Or some other version of that to make it clear that I’m not adding my opinion to the mix.
They finally get out to the curb, and I pick them up. I regale them with stories of the sex museum and tofu roti from the previous day while we try to figure out the quickest way to get from JFK to the Village.
I’ve never driven through Queens before, but I must tell you now. It. Is Horrendous. You know how they say the rats in NYC subways will make your hometown rats look tiny and pitiful? The Queens potholes take after the rats.
I’m from Chicago, land of the poorly-filled pothole. But these were something else. And because my life is a sitcom, I immediately hit several potholes that my only chance of avoiding was smashing into the car beside me or driving into oncoming traffic.
After we kept driving past the horrific potholes, I worried that the car was driving funny. Then went we got on the expressway, I felt even stronger that something was wrong.
Then the tire-issue light came on, further letting me know something was wrong. I even asked the husband if he thought we should pull over to check the car out to make sure it was okay.
The husband told me that he knew much more about cars than I did and I should just keep on driving and get him to his gig. Feeling very much like I wanted to save the husband from digging his own grave, I chose silence and kept driving.
While on the Williamsburg Bridge, things started to feel really weird. Things finally felt weird enough that the husband agreed something was off. After going down a few more awful Chinatown streets, we finally pulled over on Canal not too far from Broadway.
At this point, the whole care is literally rattling every time I press the gas.
Literally, not figuratively.
I’m thinking it’s a broken axle or something, but the husband figured it was just a flat tire that needed changing. So he and our friend decide they’re going to change the tire right at that moment. On Canal. On a Sunday night. On a busy street. While it was dark. With the problem tire being on the driver’s side.
I let him get started on changing the tire. When it became apparent he was literally (not figuratively) standing in the path of oncoming traffic in his attempt to assess the tire and prepare to change it, I had to say something.
“So, what’s the best way to explain to your mother that this is not my fault when I call to tell her you’ve wandered into traffic and got hit?”
A little sarcasm and gallows humor goes a long way people.
He decided against changing the tire and called our insurance company. They said they could send a guy to change our tire in 20 minutes or a guy to tow our car to a desired location in one hour.
With those two options, of course we wanted the tire change guy. But if there was further damage beyond a flat, they weren’t going to send that guy. We didn’t want to wait an hour for the other guy if all we needed was a changed tire.
Classes sitcom dilemma. Ultimately, we decided to get the tow because the tire was rattling just a bit too much for comfort and we didn’t want to risk driving the car until the wheel literally came off.
Show of hands, who thinks the tow truck guy actually arrived in an hour?
No one? You’re all so smart.
After about 80 minutes, we see a tow truck go flying past us on the street where no one is driving under the speed limit. You know, the one where the husband thought it was a good idea to attempt a tire change.
We tried to honk and get his attention, but no luck. When we described our location to dispatch, we gave very specific cross streets. In this area, there were only four cars, two on each side of the street. There were no other cars for at least two blocks in any direction.
So of course the tow truck guy says he couldn’t figure out where we were. When he comes back our way, he’s on the wrong side of the street and performs a very artful 7 point turn to get to our side of the street.
It takes him forever to hitch our car to the truck, and an additional 20 minutes to convince us that he can fit all three of us in the front seat of his truck. None of us are tiny people, and we felt serious doubt, but we squeezed in there.
The driver and the husband spent the next half hour dissecting all the nuances in their difference of opinion of hip hop from the 1990s versus today. I recognized about six names they were mentioning. Must do better as a self-proclaimed lover of 90s music.
I lost the feeling in my legs, got a intercostal muscle cramp that didn’t go away for 2 hours, and get to know our friend really well, but we made it back to the Brooklyn brownstone.
I grabbed my keys out of my purse and let the men know I was heading inside. Their plan was to stay outside and change the tire so the husband could take the car to get fixed the next day.
Fast forward 45 minutes: they come back inside having decided to wait until the next morning to change the tire.
Fast forward to the next morning: they wake up late and have to rush off to a rehearsal for an amazing MLK Day gig at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club (Jazz at the Lincoln Center), and the tire changing will have to wait
Fast forward a few more days: the tire still isn’t changed and now there’s an awful snowstorm that is literally (this time, figuratively) burying cars under piles of snow.
Fast forward to yesterday: the husband finally, after ten days, schedules the car for maintenance. Thanks Geico for giving us low-priced insurance with a freaking $500 deductible.
Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. The husband hates packing. So on the return trip from Haiti, he packed his box o’ jewelry in his checked bag instead of in his carry-on.
Upon unpacking in Chicago, he discovers his wedding ring is missing. Cuff links, chain, and collar stays were all still present. But his wedding ring and a very nice gold ring his father gave him were both gone. And our insurance at Jared says they don’t cover theft. Renter’s insurance also doesn’t cover something that happened in another country.
But here’s the real kicker. How will our episode end? Was is just a flat tire or is there really something wrong with the axle? I promise I’ll let you all know as soon as I do.
Cause you’re on the edge of your seat, right?
Who doesn’t love a good melodramatic battle-of-the-sexes sitcom cliffhanger?