But really, it's just as dramatic watching me trying to get through the course of a normal day.
This morning, I was trying to get to church. And all was pretty much lost from the second I got up. First I let myself sleep too late. Next I needed a major infusion of coffee so I didn't get into the shower on time for my hair to dry properly. My hair takes hours and hours to dry. Then I hadn't decided what to wear. I am like a hopeless school kid. Someone should make me lay out my clothes the night before. I couldn't find my shoes. I couldn't find my keys. Or my prayer book. I need my prayer book for Mass. I am lost without it.
Ten minutes to get downtown and there I was with wet hair and no prayer book. Great going! In desperation, I grab this ancient prayer book I inherited from my dad. It is like trying to interpret ancient Hebrew scrolls but still, better than nothing. Then I jump in the car. Naturally I parked the car sloppily yesterday so getting out of my driveway, I shoot two minutes right there. Stuck at the signal. Cop sitting right there. Right there! What are the odds? So I couldn't do what I would otherwise do in such a situation, which is blow off the light and hope no one is watching.
Then I realize: The reason the cop is sitting there is there is a race going on in the park. Unfortunately I don't realize this until I am at another corner, this time stuck for good with some crossing guard, drunk on his own power, holding up a whole line of cars so a couple of walkers can straggle across the street. I did a three-point turn and got out of there. By then I had gone several blocks out of my way but hey, as Bills games tell us, it ain't over till it's over.
I should probably explain my panic. Because people are probably thinking, you're a couple minutes late for church, big deal, right? The thing is, I love the opening prayer they do. I hate missing it. I mean, if I miss it I get mad. And I feel it gets my week off to a negative start. So now I am in danger of developing full-blown road rage. These races. What in the world? Do they have to be on Sunday? Do they have to start at what, 7 a.m.?
This particular story has a happy but harrowing ending. Some klutz had blocked my way to my usual parking lot. So I used another parking lot. As I exited my car --stuffing things into my purse, trying not to destroy my dad's old missal -- I saw the priest and altar boys forming up into their procession, making their way outside the church up toward the front door. I had a chance. I had a prayer. I ran in my high heels -- of course I had to wear my heels -- toward the door, just beating the procession. My cell phone, did I turn off my cell phone? I got into the church and as I'm dipping my fingers into the holy water, I actually went, "Whew!" The ushers were laughing at me.
Why is my whole life like this???
My flight home from California went the same way. I was an idiot. I didn't get up till 5 a.m., even though my flight was at 7:20. We are used to the Buffalo airport. The San Diego airport is different. When I got there, all I could see was this eternal line for security. I mean it was at least a mile long. I could not see the end of the line.
Things seemed hopeless but I got in line anyway. I am not going to think about this, I decided. I am not going to check the time. It won't make any difference. There is nothing I can do. So I kept up a brave, happy front, chatting with the woman in front of me. But all I could think was, what an idiot I was today! Sleeping till 5. Drinking coffee. Showering. I had even wasted time getting out of the car rental van, chattering with that kid about the pianist who had written "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Remember, I wrote about that a couple of days ago. What had I been thinking, taking my ease like this? Where was my mind?
About an hour later, I finally got through security. (Isn't it weird that my braces don't set off the metal detector? But they don't.) I didn't check the time. I didn't even try to get my laptop back in its bag. I just made my mad dash toward the gate. Naturally my gate was the absolute farthest gate away. Naturally, just like for my mad dash this morning, I had on my heels. I just ran. I kept picturing Bette Midler. Movies always show her running while weighed down with all this stuff. Finally it appeared, as if in a dream: Gate 41! They were just starting to board. I couldn't believe I made it. Overcome, I dropped to my knees. And I held out my arms the way Evita does when she sings "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina."
"I made it!" I exclaimed. And just like in church this morning, people are laughing at me.
I have this feeling that sometime, back when I was 12 or 13, I lost something like 45 minutes. And I will never be able to make it up. All I can do is keep trying.
You would think at least I'd be able to lose weight along the way.