Life in the Stranger Danger Lane

Someone finally let me in on the secret — you can put your life in the hands of strangers, in the mornings as well as the afternoons, by getting picked up at your local park-n-ride and hitching a ride into the HOV lane.

Someone on Twitter tried to explain this to me — said it was called “the slug line” in their city. But I’m such a car-town noobie, I didn’t understand what exactly it meant.

You can ride with strangers downtown, for free. You can listen to strangers talk about their lives, and no one makes eye contact.

If you’re me, you can try picking up your own hitchers one day. You can pick up two men at 6 AM in your mini van. After they’re in your car, you can notice for the first time that your mini van contains, in order of nearness to your passengers:

  • one torn cover of a Victoria’s secret catalog
  • one girdle, with all price tags, that someone other than you bought last Halloween
  • no fewer than three pairs of shoes that smell very, very bad
  • the contents of a busted box of emergency OB tampons, rolling all over the very back seat

You know I’m freaking awesome, because I turned around and saw all that, and then I just shrugged. And flowed down the road with my NPR on. Driving like a champ, even though my two male passengers were watching like a hawk, waiting for me to drive poorly. Sticking out my hand when I had to stop short, saving the life of the stranger on the passenger side, as if I’d given birth to him, myself.

The guys were good sports about it. I told them I’d pick them up at the same time next day. But I was lying. Next day, I caught a ride with someone else I’d never seen before. Another silent social contract. Another new face that never looked directly into mine.

The Sad Cowboy

I’ve been trying forever to tell y’all the story about the sad cowboy singer who works (worked?) at Larry’s BBQ Buffet on 290. But I never remember.

Or else, like now, I remember but I can’t tell you because I’m too tired. I’m so effing tired right now, I don’t even know how I’ve typed this much so far.

I have a lot of stuff on my Master To-Do List. A lot of work I don’t have time to get done.

So the cowboy has to wait. That’s all he ever does, anyway. Wait and sing, wait for tips. Wait for someone to cut him a break.

I’m not supposed to tell you this, but

Shh — one of my children went to his first dance on Friday night. First dance, first date. Shhh! Don’t tell him I told you.

We were so happy to see it all go down. It was incredibly normal. Not like my first dance and not like my boyfriend’s. But the two of us knew how a first dance was supposed to go, so we worked hard to make it happen for my son.

The girl he went with turned out to be a dud in the most cliched sense. (“I’m mad at you now.” “Why?” “Figure it out.”) But I’m even kind of glad for that. I pegged her from the start and was hoping they wouldn’t start dating for real. I have the feeling I’m gonna be one of those picky-bitchy moms, for whose sons no girl is ever good enough. But oh, well. Everyone has faults, right? Even cliched ones, sometimes.

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Posted in domestic, Houston, parenting on 10/07/2008 01:58 am

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