Yesterday was, for some reason, a pretty stressful day; I started the day running and didn’t stop. I was complaining as I checked out at the grocery store, planning to go home and prepare dinner. The woman in line behind Max and me said, “No kidding. What a day!” The person checking me out said, “Well, listen to this. I was getting ready to leave McDonald’s after lunch, made sure I had the clutch pushed all the way down, put the car in gear, and it didn’t move. I hadn’t turned it on.” We all agreed that was the best “worst day” story, but I praised her for telling on herself. Usually, when we do things like that, we don’t want anyone to know.
Those stories, however, make great party stories. I have several of my own, stories that are quite entertaining about things I have done that make me sound, well, goofy.
When Emily was a toddler – I think it was the first summer we had lived in the house – I invited a couple of friends over for hamburgers. I needed several items so I could make hamburgers and baked beans and an appetizer or two, so I put together a list and went to the store. I loaded my basket, checked out, carefully put Emily in her car seat, and drove home.
It wasn’t until I pulled into the driveway that I realized I had left my cart full of groceries at the store. I turned around and went back, hoping that they would still be there, but they weren’t. I hoped someone enjoyed good hamburgers and baked beans that night.
Another story I like to tell is the one about our piano. We had found a piano in Kansas City that had been rebuilt by someone Max knew. I thought finding it was fate because it was built in 1908 – the same year my grandmother had been born, and she taught me how to play. So we bought it. It was the first item that we bought together to “set up housekeeping.” We were quite proud.
But when we went home, to our apartment over John Lamy’s house, Max looked at the doorway and the stairs and got worried that the 6’4” instrument wouldn’t go in. I was sure that it would. Though math had not been my strong point, something about geometry made sense to me, and I knew exactly how it would go up the stairs. It would take all five of the movers, and they would have to do some tight maneuvering, but the piano would go up.
On the day of the move, the movers were ready to call it quits when they saw the stairs. I don’t have enough words to tell the entire story here, but about five hours later, after we had consulted with carpenters about taking out the spindles on the staircase, and with someone else about taking out windows and renting a hydraulic lift, the piano went up, just the way I had predicted it would. The movers placed it in a corner, and I sat down and played. I was really happy.
About two weeks later, I came home from work and came up the stairs, where the first thing I should have been able to see was the piano. It wasn’t there! My heart stopped. Someone had stolen the piano! Even today, when I write those words, I realize how ridiculous they sound. But that’s what I thought. It wasn’t until I stepped into the room that I saw that Max had moved the piano to the other corner. He thought it would better over there. I didn’t want to tell him how silly I had been, but I couldn’t help myself. We both had a big laugh, and I continue to tell that story at my expense and to the amusement of others.
No matter how many times I tell these stories – and others just like them – I can’t help but laugh. I suppose it’s just a matter of being human and being unafraid to expose our foibles to the world. After all, who’s perfect?
Deborah Mitchell is a a local attorney and a Municipal Court Judge.