Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Check, and Mate

I'm not sure if what I did today was totally horrible or totally awesome, but I'm leaning towards awesome. Here's what happened:

I was sitting in my car in the Costco parking lot on my lunch break, parked far out in the lot away from other cars. I was playing some Words with Friends and enjoying the weather with my windows down when a middle-aged lady in a minivan pulled up next to me. She smiled and said, "Hi, I reeeeeeeeeeealllly like your car. It's soooooooooooooo nice. Soooooooooooooooo nice. I want to get me one of those. Can I ask you a favor?"

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously, but obliged her politely. Then she launched into her not-so-well-rehearsed story:

"I'm trying to get to Stockton California, I just broke up with my boyfriend because he hit me, he's a good guy but I just broke up with him, and I'm trying to get to Stockton California, because I have to get away from my boyfriend because he hit me, can you help me out with gas or anything at all?"

My eyes narrowed even further into teeny little angry slits as I mentally assessed the situation:
1. This lady was slurring, bad;
2. She could barely keep her eyes open;
3. Her minivan looked fairly new;
4. The rock on her finger was HUGE;
5. She was speaking in one long, slurred, run-on sentence;
6. Did I mention she was slurring and could barely keep her eyes open?
7. She had no visible bruises that I could see;
8. There were no kids in her vehicle, but there was a car seat in the back.

Taking all these factors into consideration, I waited until she ran out of breath and stopped talking. Then I smiled sweetly and said, "Sure, I'll help you out if you can pass this drug test..." and I held up the five-panel drug test that I'd pulled from my center console.

Blink. Blink.

Now, before you think I'm a heartless, stereotyping, uncharitable, hateful weirdo who always has a drug test on hand, let me explain something. I worked as a substance abuse counselor for four years and feel pretty confident that I can tell when someone is under the influence. I'm not saying I have perfect radar, but this woman was so obviously exhibiting signs of being impaired and she was so obviously trying to con me that I took the opportunity to call her bluff.

Why did I have a drug test in my car? That's a good question...it's been in my console for so long that I don't even notice it anymore. I think it's been there for years. My best guess is that it got shuffled in with my stuff from the treatment center, and I tossed it in there with the intention of throwing it away. It's probably expired and wouldn't even have worked if the lady had decided to call my bluff; in which case things would've gotten really awkward.

But she didn't call my bluff; instead she got pissed and yelled, "Bitch!" as she burned rubber away from me. Her tires literally squealed.

So, you might think I'm a heartless, stereotyping, uncharitable, hateful weirdo because I didn't just hand this lady a twenty and count my good deed for the day; but based on her reaction, I don't think my "stereotyping" was too far off the mark.

Who knew that an expired drug test would be so handy?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Red Rockettes vs. Happy Valley Derby Darlins

Every once in awhile, something so amazing happens that I am brought to tears. I could count on one hand the number of times I've cried in the last year month week. And one of those times was last Thursday when I had the privilege of skating with the Rockettes in our first inter-league scrimmage, against the Happy Valley Derby Darlins.

You might remember Happy Valley from that one time I practiced with them and they scared the crap out of me. Which is why I only went to one of their practices - I was afraid I'd need to invest in adult diapers if I skated with them again. Needless to say, I was terrified on Thursday. I couldn't eat, I drank like six diet sodas, my stomach was in knots and I kept throwing up in my mouth a little. By the time I got to derby, I'd worked myself up into a shaky, sweaty, throw-up-mouthy frenzy. I was relieved that a few other Rockettes were just as worked up as me, except probably without the throw-up mouth part.

As more Happy Valley girls started showing up, more and more Happy Valley fans showed up too. The bleachers were packed, people were sitting on the floor, and the majority were wearing pink and holding signs for Happy Valley. It seemed like every spectator was cheering and yelling, but not for us. I felt outnumbered and started to deflate. But then, across the track, I spotted someone holding a sign...
There was Heather, like a beacon of hope shining through the clouds. Heather started skating in the same group as me, and seeing her in the bleachers almost made me cry. Not just for the sign, but also for this:

Aren't we a classy bunch?

My joy lasted for about one more minute, when we huddled up and scoped out our competition.
Some of them had painted their faces, a lot of them had massive bruises, and all of them scared me. Even their tights scared me.
Our mamas gathered us together for a pep talk. England spoke softly and kindly in her sweet British accent. We looked to her with wide-eyed, terrified faces; desperate for guidance. (Ok maybe not everyone, but definitely me) I think she may have nuzzled a few of us as she gently encouraged us and told us all how precious and lovely we were. (Ok maybe I made that last part up). Then Wanton yelled at us to sack up and stop being so scared. It was her way of figuratively slapping me across the face and shaking me, yelling, "Snap out of it!" Which is why I am both in love with and petrified of Wanton.

I loved the Rockettes more that night than I love peanut butter, Sylvester Stallone, or Tastyklair Pies. I don't know which was more fun - actually skating, or watching my teammates skate. I cheered so much that my throat hurt, and I feel fairly certain that I did the Brendan Fraser clap about a hundred times. And I'm really glad no one caught that on film. But here are some of my favorite moments that did:
I love the facial expressions that get captured in action shots. I call this one "Pushy Galore and Bloody Two Shoes Giving The Stink Eye." Pushy is the one in red, and I think it's pretty obvious which one is Bloody Two Shoes.

I call this one "My Ute Felt Sympathy Pains For You When You Did the Splits", because, ouch.

Bruiser gives Happy Valley the business.

This one is called "Finally, An Action Shot of Bone Instead of a Mouth-Hanging Open Shot of Bone."

Next time someone asks me why I'm scared of Wanton, I'm just going to show them this.

Doing what I do best, which is whatever Wanton tells/pushes me to do.

And here I am, playing a crucial role in helping to block for England as she jams. What's that? You can't see me being a totally effective, integral part of the blocking wall? Well let's take a closer look...
Oh, maybe you can't see me because I'm bent over, looking at the ground like I'm too busy dry heaving to be bothered with blocking. Yep, that's me.

How would you feel if you were on the track with Wanton.
I'm just saying.

In the end, the Rockettes won the scrimmage, and Happy Valley won the after party. We all got to mingle, and I realized that my fears were completely unfounded, because the Happy Valley girls were all really nice. I'm sure it won't be long before they're a competitive league, but at least now I can stop being afraid of their tights.