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.