Summertime, and the living is easy…yeah, right. I have just finished five weeks of acting summer camp, and boy, are my tires are tired. Okay, truth be told, my teenage daughter is the acting camp graduate, I am just the stage mom wannabe who was the wheels beneath her wings.
Being the designated driver for a future musical theater diva is, in itself, a daunting prospect to someone whose musical theater experience ended in 1979 with a high school production of Man of La Mancha. I had a great set of lungs, but I couldn’t act my way out of a paper bag, and my dancing involved counting aloud to avoid tripping over my two left feet. Hiding me in the pit orchestra would have worked if I weren’t prone to tripping over my seat in the dark. I had no talent for anything other than the high school choir and orchestra, as neither involved moving from my designated spot. But I digress.
Back to my designated driver status story, already in progress. Filling the role of the seasoned stage mother slash designated driver to a future star of stage and screen involved a modicum of acting skill on my part. I had to play the part of a woman confident in her ability to chauffeur her daughter across two counties, into unfamiliar territory, without getting royally lost. This was no small task for me, for I have a talent for getting lost in familiar territory, i.e. driving the three blocks to my daughter’s high school (the same one I attended in my youth). I did not feel up to the task, so in preparation for my mandatory twice daily trips to acting camp, I utilized an online map site for fool proof driving directions.
Unfortunately, a part I do play exceptionally well is that of the absent minded professor. After carefully charting out the driving directions to and from the acting camp, I put them aside in the kitchen, and promptly forgot about them. The night before the dry run drive to the camp, my husband asked for said directions. No sooner had I reached the kitchen, had I forgotten the objective of my mission. I knew I needed something in the kitchen. I went looking for directions and I returned with sliced ham. Three times. Clearly, I had stage fright.
The first day of acting camp arrived, fraught with intense nerves on my part. I feared my opening day as stage mom would end with me, the teen diva in training, and my tag along son lost somewhere deep in the Canadian tundra, asking polar bears for directions. Imagine our collective surprise when I actually found the place. Twice in one day, in fact. And no one had to be committed.
Fast forward four weeks and two days. There were two days left to go until my twice daily, adrenalin powered commute would be over, and I could once again restrict my driving experience to a few well-delineated, carefully memorized routes. I was feeling triumphant, having conquered my fear of driving. I was a fool.
I didn’t exactly get lost, for I got to the camp on time for pick up. I even found a great parking spot. I dropped a quarter into the nearest parking meter and strolled confidently to the camp, passing a meter maid on my way. I almost said “Hi” in passing, but a sudden wave of restraint got hold of me, and I chose silence. Another unwise decision.
Twelve minutes after depositing my quarter, I returned to my car with my daughter in tow, to find a parking ticket neatly tucked beneath my right windshield wiper. I almost wasted a friendly greeting on a meter maid who charged me twenty five dollars for dutifully feeding the meter the required toll. I was livid.
I was in the right, I was sure of that. To prepare for the court case I just knew I’d win, I returned the next day, camera in hand, to photograph the meter that ate my quarter. I was flabbergasted when I realized the meter maid was correct. I did feed the nearest meter, but alas, it was not the correct meter. I got lost finding a flipping parking meter.
Twenty five dollars for feeding the wrong meter. I’m sure I could explain my mistake to the judge and have the fee waved, but I’d rather pay the fine online than have my inherent ditziness be a matter of court record. Twenty five dollars is a small price to pay for my self respect.