The alternative title for this post was “That time I took myself out for supper in Headingley,” but somehow that didn’t seem as eye-catching.
I suspect “eye-catching” may be exactly what playwright Rebecca Gibson had in mind when she wrote a play called The Naked Woman, her contribution to last year’s Femfest scriptwriting competition. She won. That meant her play was a featured piece throughout this year’s festival and I decided I should be in the audience. Here’s the premise: “Helen is 84 years old and recently lost her husband. When she decides to stop wearing clothes, everyone thinks she is either overcome with grief or beginning to go senile.”
My hubby didn’t want to see it. Go figure.
The half dozen theatrically-minded girlfriends I asked were busy. I really need to get a life. After humming and hawing, I decided to go alone. Something might happen and I’ll get a column out of it, I thought. I’m not making this up, I actually thought that.
I headed off for the city, our car a little on the noisy side since the muffler was wearing thin or whatever it is mufflers do when they start to deteriorate. But it was a lovely day for a drive—until I got past Elie and the rain started. I hate driving in rain. Especially when there’s also construction to contend with.
Traffic slowed to a stop as it merged into one lane somewhere between the Headingley Co-op and the Flying J. As I waited for the car in front of me to start inching forward, it happened. Funny how you hear it before you feel it. I’d been rear-ended.
With my heart hammering like a woodpecker in my throat, I unbuckled and ventured out into the rain to check for damages. A woman younger than my car climbed out of the vehicle behind me, apologizing profusely before she even shut her door.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Are you OK? It’s these stupid boots. I’m wearing new boots and my foot slipped right off the brake. I’m so sorry.”
I think she expected to be yelled at. But the nice thing about driving a 22-year old car with a cracked windshield, broken radio, sundry leaks and oddball sounds is that you don’t get bent out of shape when you’re bumped. (I like to think I wouldn’t have yelled at her in any case, but for that theory to be tested, I’ll need a brand new vehicle. I’m open to contributions.)
Miss Boots and I exchanged information, determined neither car was seriously damaged, and carried on before I had a chance to ask where she got the cute boots. I decided to stop at Denny’s for a bite to eat and to settle my nerves. I ordered supper off the seniors’ menu, a little disappointed when the server didn’t question it.
By the time I finished eating, the rain had stopped, I felt fine, and I had 35 minutes to get downtown, find a parking spot, and get into the theater. It would be tight, but I could probably do it.
Then I started the car. And jumped out of my skin.
My little collision must have knocked the muffler the rest of the way loose. My vehicle sounded ready for demolition derby.
The last thing I needed was a ticket for some noise violation. Besides, I wasn’t appropriately dressed for someone who drives a car that sounds like that and there was no time to stop at Rednecks-R-Us for a suitable outfit. If I didn’t decide in about 30 seconds, seeing The Naked Woman would no longer be an option. Turn right toward Winnipeg or left toward home? My car thundered my answer and I took a left.
45 minutes later, I rumbled back into good ol’ Portage. I stopped at the library to rent a movie and was curled up on my sofa by 8:00, which is pretty much my favorite thing in the world to do anyway. I don’t suppose The Naked Woman missed me.
I should probably get a life.