Saturday, August 21, 2010

WHAT happened to my car??!!!

My wonderful husband last week got us tickets to a Democratic fund-raising luncheon for Senator Patty Murray where the guest speaker was none other than President Barack Obama. Oh! My! Forgive me while I gush, but never having been anywhere near an actual live president, no less the Sexiest Man on the Planet (oops -- I men the second SMOTP, my husband being #1), I was thrilled to no end to be sitting at a table in the Outer Hebrides (as it were), and do the large share of my president-viewing on a giant screen directly adjacent to our table. I'm not going to get political here -- I leave that up to Citizen K. -- so I'll just say that the man is polished, gracious, intelligent, witty, articulate and certainly knows just to deliver a joke. Comfortable in his skin (and his skin color), he seems to be genuinely happy and not beaten down by the fact that every moment there are untold numbers of people on the planet who look down on him (to put it politely) just because his skin tone is different than theirs.

So, to get to the REAL story....

We took advantage of valet parking, and came in separate cars because I had to go to work afterwards. Paul's car arrived, he zoomed away, and I stood, tapping my foot for, oh, five minutes, then ten, then fifteen. I asked an attendant if perhaps my car had been parked in Bellingham (90 miles away) and he laughed and checked the board for my keys, which didn't seem to exist. Hmm. Another attendant checked and rechecked, and still nothing.

Then the first attendant stopped mid-sentence, got a very grave look on his face -- very grave, mind you -- and says:

"Ohhhhh, I'm so sorry, but that was the car that got wrecked --!"

Well, I didn't even let him continue his sentence, but immediately shouted back,


"I'm so sorry, but the Secret Service made us do it."
(More grimacing and hand-wringing from him.)

So about this time (about five seconds into the conversation), I've already run an entire scenario through my head of my little '97 black Mazda with the "Groovy Mama for Obama" bumper sticker on it somehow posing a security threat to the government/president/world-peace. First they rip the doors off (quickly), deflate the tires, shred the upholstery, then quietly blow up everything that remains. Including my pink umbrella from Paris! My pink yoga mat!

Headlines: "T. Clear, poet-terrorist!!"

I'm thinking: okay, I want a new car, a brand new car, probably a hybrid, since Obama is green and all, plus I want the cost of our tickets to the event refunded PLUS I think a private meeting with the president himself is in order, along with an apology for making me late for work.

My voice, at this point (seven seconds into the conversation) is approaching drum-piercing shrillness:


The attendant looked at me as if I'd lost every last marble.
"Huh? Noooo, I said, yours was the car that was left...."

I heard wrecked, and responded so quickly that he didn't have time to finish his sentence (let this be a lesson to me!), which was,

"...on the ramp, because the Secret Service arrived and did a security lockdown. And then we forgot to move it to the regular parking area. Your car is not wrecked!"

I began to laugh, and he began to laugh, and after a few moments my heart resumed its normal beating. I was laughing so hard I had to lean on the counter, and was still laughing when my car arrived shortly, unscathed.

Alas, no new Prius for me (I should be so lucky), but the few moments of elevated BP were worth the story.

Thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity.


  1. I am laughing so hard I can hardly breathe!!

  2. I've never heard of Barry being described as 'The sexiest man on the planet' before. Maybe it's BECAUSE he's half-white.

    For a moment I thought you were on Candid Camera!!

  3. Oh, you are a delight, Ms Clear! Thanks for this excellent real-life story (always the best ones, eh?). Love and laughter, C x