Smashville

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Early on in life, it was clear that I would not be known for grace.  By age 11, my sister nicknamed me "Smash" for the collection of bumps, bruises and scrapes that constantly marred my arms, shins and knees.  These injuries were of the sort one expects from a growing adolescent.  Problem is, I never outgrew them.

Something about traveling seems to inspire my gracelessness, and my latest business trip was no exception.  You may recall my 14-hour cross-country adventure or the time Captain Fail Pants went to Washington.  I kept the klutz alive with my recent jaunt to Nashville.

  • The reserved rental car, advertised as a Chevy Impala, was a minivan, resulting in a confusing conversation about getting a car from another rental place in town and a cross-town drive to pick up said car.  So much for leaving on time.
  • At 3:45, I tweeted, "Nashville-bound and stuck in maaajor traffic accident on 285 listening to Wheatus 'Teenage Dirtbag' and wishing I'd stopped for Combos."
  • At 4:30: "Officially lost an hour on 285 and #sittingstill #swearingtomyself
  • And at 5:15, when the standstill from the overturned tractor trailer blocking four lanes of traffic had stolen an hour and a half of my life: "This is the part where I start to lose it completely. Almost 2 hours lost. #iwillnotcry"
  • I didn't cry.  I did eat two McDonald's cheeseburgers and an order of large fries, which fortified me until I arrived in Nashville, seven hours after departing from home.  
  • The next morning, I discovered instead of shampoo, I had two shower gels, and so, I washed my hair with shower gel.
  • The first pair of pantyhose I put on ran from top to toe.  But my awesome mother advised me to pack a second pair, just in case.  Mother knows best.  And knows that her daughter is a complete disaster most of the time.
  • At the tradeshow set up, the literature stand was broken and the tradeshow floor was sweltering and I tried unsuccessfully for 10 minutes to get the TV working only to realize it wasn't plugged in.
  • I finished the setup, stood back to admire my handiwork, sweating, and realized…that the materials that were urgently FedExed to my hotel so that I would have them for the tradeshow were, in fact, still at the hotel.
  • At this point, a complete, swirling monsoon descended on Nashville.
  • I forged across the street to the parking deck, holding my umbrella like a battle shield against the wind.
  • In my hurry to get out of the rain, I tripped on the lip of the sidewalk and fell crushing my umbrella.  Literally broke it.  Bent the handle into a frown - which technically could've been a smile if turned the other way, but let's face it: that was a frown.
  • Dude standing there says, "Are you okay?" and in total embarassment I popped to my feet and assured him I was fine.  Then I limped away, toting the ruined umbrella and cursing.
  • Second pair of pantyhose? #totalled
  • Both knees #totalled
  • I pulled out of the parking space and came down the ramp...which was blocked by a paving machine.  I waited impatiently until one of the workers directed me around the mammoth piece of equipment.
  • Turned the wrong way out of the parking deck and had to circle the block on one-way streets.
  •  Drove back to my hotel, pulled into the turnabout, waved away the over-eager valet and ran inside, red-faced and sweating and asked for the package.  They asked for ID. I showed them my tradeshow badge like it was press credentials.
  •  Back at the parking deck, I left the crumpled umbrella in the passenger seat and focused on getting across the street in one piece.
  •  Inside, I stopped in the ladies' room, ditched my busted up hosiery, wiped the blood from my knees and took stock of my reflection - I looked like Gilda Radner working the Weekend Update desk.
  •  Later that night, I tried to escape my luck with a nice dinner with my clients.  Instead, I got confused coming back from the restroom, and they caught me talking to myself - announcing that I'd taken a wrong turn - right beside our table.
  •  And though the second morning went smoothly, by the end of the day, my high-heeled shoes had nearly crippled me.  Though I had planned to go back to the convention center to change clothes for the drive home, I couldn't bear the thought of another step.  Which is how I learned that desperation is changing clothes in a rental car on the fifth floor of the parking deck.
  • Only later, closing in on midnight, exhausted from head to toe and fighting to stay awake, did I realize that desperation is really being willing to listen to "Candyshop" by 50 Cent on high volume.

And so, I arrived home, once again riddled with bruises and scrapes, with a dilapidated umbrella in the front seat and a new appreciation for gangsta rap.  And a host of reminders that Smash lives.

3 comments:

Donna said...

Locking myself out of my house this morning doesn't sound so bad any more. Thanks for the Monday laugh!

Andria said...

tears from laughing. Thanks, Smashin' Bigguns!

Brian said...

What a story. And combos are indeed the ultimate road trip snack fare.

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