the real cost of a free lunch. or dinner.

So I still have no pictures of the weekend, mostly because I am an asshole and also because I am lazy. But I do have a story this time, so there’s something! My story also links in ironically with the monster three-post post about the car, so there’s serendipity in action.

On the morning of my sister’s graduation, I woke up feeling like a rotting corpse. My head was buzzing with sleep deprivation, and I felt hungry, dehydrated and nauseous all at the same time. Once at CUA, I staggered to the quad, curled into a ball, and died. Then my cellphone rang. It was my sister’s boyfriend.

“Hey Erin, could you save me a seat with you guys? I’m running late, and my car got stolen last night.”

And I was like, shit. that blows. Then I died again.

Whenever I hear that somebody’s car was “stolen” I feel the need to tell this story from college. One night, during a blizzard, left my car parked on the street. As was often the case in those days, I spent the night getting wasted with friends and woke up a shell of a human being. This time, however, I woke up to find my car missing. I circled my block like five times thinking I simply forgot where I parked before realizing there were NO cars on the street and, oh hey, also a snow emergency. To the impound lot I went, and $250.00 later I was reunited with my vehicle. It’s not really relevant to a lot of situations, because I never thought that the car was stolen – I just thought I was a burned-out idiot.

When my sister’s boyfriend arrived at the ceremony, he confided that after completely freaking out, he realized that he’d simply forgot where it was parked. I was feeling pretty good about my story after that, because it was TOTALLY RELEVANT. In an “I’m a huge douchebag” sort of way.

The day was pretty stressful – seeing my sister graduate was such a rush, but you know how graduations are. Especially when your loved one’s name starts with an “A” and then you have to sit through the whole godforsaken alphabet in sweltering heat. Nevertheless though, completely proud, completely worth it, and I wanted her to keep that cap and gown on all day long so I could ogle her smartness. Graduation aside, it had also been a big week for her because she bought a brand-new Civic. I was so excited that she bought the car, but half of me remained wary of our family’s apparent cursed vehicular karma. But I reasoned that Hondas were exempt from karmic retribution, being that they’re from Japan and all. So yeah.

Our dinner reservation was at 8:30, giving us plenty of time to get her out of the campus apartments and into her gorgeous new apartment that is approximately three times the size of mine, and oh PLUS has a pool and a balcony.

After some wine for Megan and a nap for me, we were ready to head out to Maggiano’s with her boyfriend, her roommate, and this random guy Buoy who would be living with them over the summer. At first Buoy had declined the invitation, but I goaded him with the promise of a free dinner and eventually he acquiesced. We trouped downstairs and I was getting into my dad’s car when I heard some commotion followed by hysterical sobbing.

It’s hard to convey the look on my sister’s face as she stepped back into the parking lot – I can only describe it as total ego loss. You know the end of 2001? Where the guy is going though the tunnel and all the lights are swirling by when he’s on Jupiter or whatever? Then there’s that shot of his eye all plastered up against his helmet and it’s like ‘what the fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck’? That’s sort of what Megan looked like when she realized that her brand new car with the moonroof and power locks and pristine paint job was no longer where she left it.

“My CAR… is GOOONNNNNNEEEE! IT’s STOleNNNN!!!” If the stress of graduation, a new car, and new apartment wasn’t enough to put the poor girl over the edge, this definitely would. Oh for some Xanax.

I decided that it was not the time for my stoned car-towing blizzard story.

My parents helped her into the building where the desk attendants coldly informed her that her car was not stolen but instead had been carted away due to lack of permit. (TOWED!! HA!!) She promptly broke down into tears. She cried as we piled into the other (non-towed) cars, she cried as we drove to the impound lot, then when we got there she cried because she was crying. And the Buoy kid, who nobody really knew that well at all, was sort of sitting there uncomfortably as I tried to make jokes tangentially related to the situation at hand. I may have also told my car tow story. Twice. Because I’m an asshole.

The impound lot was, as all impound lots are, squirreled away in the shadiest of shady areas, down an alley and past a crack den. The transaction was made, Megan’s Civic was freed, and we collectively averted our eyes as a tow truck barreled into the lot with a fairly nice-looking car danging precipitously from its rear. We had, of course, missed our reservation, and decided that the most sensible course of action was to form a three-car caravan to the restaurant. Maps were busted out, decisions were made, and we took off.

The plan was to take 66 west to 395 or something like that. We passed a sign for 66 east, but after a solid 10 minutes of driving, 66 west was nowhere to be found. After several confused wireless calls, our caravan turned around and headed back in the other direction. Apparently we had missed the exit for 66 west while collectively running a red light.

Once we got to Tyson’s Corner, the location of the Maggiano’s in question, Megan’s beau drove into the wrong mall, necessitating another series of questionable driving maneuvers on the part of our happy band. By the time we pulled into the parking lot, we were $100 dollars poorer (thanks, tow guys!) and 1.5 hours late for our reservation. I’ll bet that Buoy kid was REAL REAL glad he took us up on the offer of food.

But you can bet I had three glasses of wine with that dinner. Oh yes I did.

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