Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Day I Was a Hot Mess

It was a sunny day in April of 2014. I had just started dating the guy of my dreams. He was everything I had hoped for in a guy and more. I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and was so happy to be with someone that I felt so proud of and had such strong feelings for. I didn't want to screw this one up. 

He invited me to go to a basketball game in the city for the evening with all of his friends. He worked close to where the basketball game would be played, and I lived 45 minutes away. Normally when we had gone to events in the city we would drive, but he thought it would be fun to take the train. The plan was after he got off work at 5 p.m. he was going to ride the train to where I was living (what a sweetheart, yeah?), I would meet him at the train station at 6 pm, and at one of the stops on the way back to the city, two of his childhood best friends Nelson and Eleanor, who were married and who I had met once before, would be joining us, and we would be at the game by 7 o’clock, 30 minutes before it started. It was going to be perfect. 

My day started like any other. I had everything planned out. I was going to go to class. Come home by 4 pm. Go to Costco. Buy my favorite wheat bread to make a sandwich for my boyfriend and I to eat on the train as a surprise so that we wouldn’t starve during the game or have to buy an $8 hot dog. Wash and do my hair. Change my outfit. Touch-up my makeup. I was mentally imagining the praises I would get of what a nice girlfriend I was for making such nice sandwiches on such nice bread and how I would be told how good I looked. It was going to be perfect.

The day started, and all was going according to plan. I went to class, came home, was home by 4 pm and went to Costco. I got the bread. By the time I left the store it was around 5. I’d have 1 hour left to wash my hair, find something to wear, and do my makeup. Everything was going to be perfect.

And then something happened that I hadn’t expected or given time for in my schedule: traffic. Not only just traffic from college students and people leaving work, but an accident had happened on the main street of the town, which was the street I needed to get back to my house. Cars were backed up. I was stuck. I watched the clock as the minutes ticked away. Everything was going to work out. It had to.

By the time I got back to my house it was 5:40, and I had 20 minutes until the train left. I was a chicken with my head cut off. I cut chunks of cheese and tomatoes and threw pieces of meat and lettuce on the bread. The sandwiches were so large I could barely fit them it into sandwich baggies, so I smashed them down and put them in my purse with an apple. I ran to my closet. Do I wear the team’s colors or should I go with something neutral? I went for neutral. I threw on a wife beater, a gray cardi, and put on some hoop earrings. I was on my period, so I grabbed some extra tampons.  I ran out to my car. I had 10 minutes to get to the train station, park my car, and get on the train. I could do it. I took a short cut and drove through some neighborhood streets that would eliminate all but one traffic light. I was going 50 down 25’s.  I made it to the one traffic light I needed. It was 5:54. I was getting multiple calls and texts from my boyfriend. I couldn’t answer. Every second I was checking the time and praying the light would turn green. At 5:57 I got the green light. A minute and a half later I was at the train station and was parking the car. It was 5:59. I had never ridden the train before and didn’t know where to go. My boyfriend and a train worker emerged from the train as I was walking to the wrong boarding location and yelled at me, “RUN!” What?? Run? I’m going to look stupid! I ran anyways. I made it on the train. 10 seconds later the door closed and off we went.

I was sweating. The stress of the events were taking a toll on me, and I was exhausted. I thought my boyfriend and I would have more time to be on the train together before his friends arrived. But before I knew it we were at their stop. They boarded and began talking about memories and jokes I knew nothing about. I felt left out, and had felt this way almost every time we were with his friends and family. My mind was racing as I stared out the window, “Is this how it is always going to be? Am I going to just have to sit here all the time? We’ve only been dating a couple of weeks… am I overreacting?” I soon regretted bringing the sandwiches. What was I going to do, pull the smashed sandwiches out of my Mary Poppin’s bag like a PTA mom and eat them in front of his friends? To make matters worse Nelson then said, “Maybe before the game we can get something to eat.” Why did I go to Costco all for this stupid sandwich? I’m an idiot. Eleanor had on an outfit that looked like it was from Banana Republic. I had on a wife beater and hoops. I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed help. So naturally I texted Spade:

She told me she would call me, so I went to the lower level of the train and gave her a 1 minute breakdown of everything that was happening. And then Spade told me something that rocked my world: “You are a hot mess.” And I was. With an emphasis on mess. It resonated inside of me and somehow made me feel better. I was on my period. I was sweaty. I felt embarrassed for being late. My boyfriend’s friends probably thought I was rude. I didn’t feel cute. I was... a mess. My only regret was that my sandwich was still upstairs sitting in my purse on my seat. I went and got it, went back downstairs, and ate my sandwich as I cried and laughed with Spade on the phone. Because in the moment I felt terrible, but I knew it was funny. It felt like I was on a sitcom and that the only thing that could make the day worse/episode better was if I spilled some mustard on my shirt. We got to the stadium and as we were about to go inside, I noticed a big sign that said, "No food or drink allowed inside the venue." I panicked. My ticket had already been scanned and soon the security guards would check my purse, discard my sandwich, and my boyfriend would see what an idiot I was. I pretended to receive a phone call and ran outside. I found a trash can just a little out of sight, ducked to the ground, threw out the extra sandwich, and tried to emerge from hiding behind the trash can without my boyfriend seeing, as he scanned the crowds trying to find where I had gone. (Nelson later expressed that he was sad there wasn’t time before the game to go get food. Should’ve brought a sanny, Nels. Should’ve brought a sanny.) But my night changed for the better when we had food passes and I was able to get nachos, a Diet Coke, a cookie, and some popcorn.

Spade and I laugh hysterically about this story now. I, on the regular, make sandwiches for my boyfriend and openly give them to him, which he gratefully receives. I still believe that Coke, queso, a cookie, or popcorn can improve any day. Every day in life is not going to go according to plan. And sometimes you’ve just got to call a friend, laugh, and cry. Some days you’re just going to be a hot mess. And that’s okay.


No comments :

Post a Comment