Next Year We Will Stand in Our Driveway, and Just Hold Our iPods Over Our Heads.
Note to self: when you make your plans for Independence Day next year, make sure you have an Exit Strategy.
I happen to be a great planner. Let me rephrase that. I am a control freak who obsessively compulsively devises a step by step Outline for every Outing scheduled for our family. Independence Day is no exception.
“So, first we will arrive at the mall at 4:00, and get our prime parking spot. We will shop until 7 when the stores close, then eat at the restaurant where I have made reservations. We will take potty breaks after eating and then retire to the parking lot, where we will take out our chairs from the trunk of the car, and settle down to watch the wondrous display of fireworks provided by the amusement park next door without having to pay their entrance fee OR deal with their claustrophobic crowds.”
I must admit that the potty breaks were not in the initial Plan, but were wisely inserted by my husband and daughter.
Everything went according to the Plan. The problem was what had not been included in the Plan…
“Ouch, these ants keep biting me!” my daughter, Dimples, exclaimed. Apparently, our prime parking lot property was crawling with the critters, who seemed only interested in 10-year-old toes.
No problem. My husband, Cap’n Firepants, carved out a nice little spot in the trunk of the car for Dimples. And I tried not to concern myself with what the rest of the population of San Antonio, who had obviously posted some viral Tweet of my Plan and completely filled the parking lot , would think about a family who stashes their child in a car trunk.
Of course, once the fireworks started, Dimples realized her wonderful nest verged on child abuse due to the fact that it was facing the wrong way. This forced her to stand up to watch the display, which caused some grumbling and a donning of her father’s shoes in order to stave off any errant ants that might feel the need to crawl miles up the side of the car to feast upon her toes.
The show was great, and the entire parking lot of people seemed to experience a group camaraderie as we oohed and ahed over the “Lights of Liberty” for an exciting twenty minutes.
It was all well and good until it was over.
And that is where the Exit Strategy would have come in handy.
The problem was that, while everyone had arrived in the parking lot at different times, we all seemed to have the same Departure Time in mind. Which meant that no one. got to. leave. Ever.
I spent the next two hours picturing the havoc that a herd of zombies could easily wreak on a parking lot of people stubbornly glaring at the lanes of immobilized cars and willing them to move the f- out of the way. I realized that the same people who enjoyed a certain fellowship with me moments earlier would not hesitate to mow me down now just so they could get in line to leave ahead of me.
I contemplated how useful my fully charged iPad might be if I needed to fend off desperate mobs of people trying to get the bottled water we had stashed in the car.
Fortunately, it was not necessary to sacrifice my iPad, the bottled water, or my 10-year-old daughter. After two hours of complete congestion, the lines inexplicably began to move, and we finally arrived home, safe and sound and with great resolve to never go through that experience again.
Posted on July 5, 2013, in Dimples, Family, Humor, Parenting and tagged fireworks, humor, Independence Day, plan, traffic. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.
“I am a control freak who obsessively compulsively devises a step by step Outline for every Outing scheduled for our family. Independence Day is no exception.”
I suspect Cap’n Firepants and Dimples would take exception to the “independence” part of that statment.
I would like to say that was intended irony because that would be particularly clever…
A wise exit stqrategy for situations like these involve a second picnic and good music to enjoy while everyone else leaves the parking lot.
Or doing the same event from a boat.
I love the boat idea – have done that a few times, and it is definitely the best way to go!
I love a story about holiday fun with a happy ending…. Sort of….
I was certainly happy to get out of the parking lot!
The best laid plans….
An exit strategy is crucial to the execution of a successful outing.
I agree! I don’t know why I keep forgetting to plan that minor detail.
“I am a control freak who obsessively compulsively devises a step by step Outline for every Outing scheduled for our family.” I do the same thing. We didn’t go out for the 4th because of the wind, but last year we went and saw fireworks and it probably took us 4times as long to get home as it did to get there. You never think about what you’re going to do when it’s all over.
Exactly! Though I did notice some people with coolers who seemed in no rush to leave – so I guess they planned ahead.
omg. I am DYING because: fourth of july was a total bust of a day for me. I obsessively planned the entire day and then my family ruined it for me. they made me late for the parade in comfort, they didn’t want to go eat burgers at bigz, they wanted to nap instead of swim, and they didn’t start our movie until late. we finished MINUTES before we had to be at la cantera. so, I drove about 100 miles/hour to la cantera – which was too packed, so I made the turnaround at 1604 and we landed right on that teeny little “overpass” on the access road. we had a perfect view. AND we scooted right back on the highway while all the la cantera people were fighting over getting out. ;o) obsessive planning be damned! better luck next year! (to you and me!)
Oh, wow. At least the last part of your day worked out perfectly! I’ve never tried the parade in Comfort. Is it good?
good? it’s quaint. last year the last horse to pass by had an ENORMOUS (and by that I mean – as big as my then three year old) “fifth leg.” this caused a disturbing, hysterical, and frightening ruckus in the crowd and conversation for the rest of the day/year. this year there was a float that was a bar (?) with an effigy hanging from the front porch of the bar (?) and ladies in the bar who were possibly representing ladies of ill repute. i am not sure what this had to do with our country’s independence, but it WAS as frightening as the horse with the fifth leg. so, i’m not sure about good, but you will certainly see things you might never have seen before. I’ll be posting on it as soon as I can see out from under this pile of procrastination induced work on my desk. ;o)
Just saw your post. HI-larious! I wish things like that would happen to me…
As you were describing it, I was thinking, GENIUS! But, two hours!?! I read it to Jason and he wondered if it would help if you parked at the very edge of the parking lot. I want to do this plan next year minus 2 hours waiting after.
That’s a thought! I was thinking of just hiring a helicopter to extract us…
It would be so great to one year find the perfect spot that no one else has, wouldn’t it? We sat in a lot with thousands of others. Miraculously, we got out in ten minutes. I know that won’t happen again.
Wow, that was fortunate! Tell the truth – you bribed one of the traffic cops, right?
Sounds like an experience!