The Car Ride of Doooooom

“. . .And that’s when I decided that maybe my friend wasn’t a zombie. . .and maybe I shouldn’t have shot her in the head.”

Most of my fellow audience members’ jaws are still wrenched open in disgust, but I am too distracted to notice. I have other thoughts running through my head, none of them having to do with zombies, guns, or lunatics.

Here, I’ll fill you in. I have just finished my third and final round at a speech meet, and now I am doing something much scarier than facing a zombie attack. I am riding in a car for an hour and a half. . .with my recent ex-boyfriend.

Thanks fate. Thanks a lot. Now, I was supposed to drive up to the jazz band clinic at the University of Minnesota with my friend. And my ex was supposed to drive two friends up to the jazz band clinic. . .and since the universe and everything inside it hates me, everyone had conspired and decided to make my friend and his friends cancel the day before.

So now, I’m here waiting to get my critique sheet on my speech before heading off to the car ride of dooooom. Yes dooooom. Methodically I stand up out of the desk, smooth my gray pants, and reach out my hand to take the critique sheet from the judge. She was a horrible judge. She didn’t even crack a half-smile as I was standing in front of her giving her my speech. She looked bored as I poured my heart out, giving her everything I had. I eye the old lady judge with the cold gray eyes and lumpy turtleneck and snatch the sheet from her hand, like a ninja snatching a pebble from her really reflexy instructor.

Now, I’m heading out the door. Not expecting anything good to come out of this she-devil, I quickly skim my sheet. “Love the gestures. . .didn’t miss a beat. . .hilarious!. . .very professional dress. . .please date my son.” I am not making this up. . .except for the last statement.

I just knew she would appreciate my hard work. I ought to go back and hug that lumpy old woman. No, no. I must stay on task. I need to remember where I am walking. . .to my dooooom. My kitten heels click against the ground with every step I take. To pass the time of walking down the hall I pretend I am a very important person. . .like Oprah or the Queen. (Because everyone knows, important people always wear heels.) I stick my nose in the air, throw out my hip as I walk, and throw my beauty pageant wave to my fellow speechies as I pass.

Oh shoot. I’ve already reached the table where my teammates sit. I exchange a few inquiries about how the round went, and then grab the black shirt I need to change into for jazz band. I should probably notify the ex that we need to leave soon. Here goes nothing.

“I’mgonnagochange. Thenwecango,” I manage to say in two breaths without wincing as I look up at him. Thankfully he’s been around me long enough that he understands my mumbling so I don’t have to repeat. He nods, and I walk. . .briskly walk away.

Ten minutes later, we’re in his car and ready to drive. I plug my ipod in his car and adjust the volume. Thankfully, I remembered to make a playlist on my ipod of songs that don’t involve relationships or breaking up. Oddly enough, it didn’t make a difference what the lyrics were, because they were barely heard.

The next hour and a half went by in a blur. It involved no shouting, plenty of texts from my friends asking: “are you surviving?” a few accusations, but also some laughs. We had to laugh at the situation. It was pretty unlikely that this could happen.

In retrospect, maybe it was a good thing this happened. . .this, along with a few other things that happened in the past few weeks have helped me realize this: he doesn’t dig me. . .maybe he never did. But I also realized, maybe I don’t dig him either.

Now where did that judge’s son go?





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