May 23, 2003

Tomato Sauce Can Head

quick notes--been busy and sicky. and you? OH good. that's good to know.

Here's the thing. People who know me really well will tell you that I'll be the death of me yet. Huh? No really. I have this tendency, being pretty smart, of having little to no common sense at times. I tend to do six things fast and almost perfect rather than plan, think, do it once the right way. tomato sauce cans and stuff. that was the day, when I explained to a friend how I nearly killed myself by reaching up with a wooden spoon to knock a 64 oz mother can of all tomato paste off the top cupboard shelf and into my waiting arms. Except it missed. My arms. And it missed my temple by maybe an inch. I was writing headlines in my head: New York Woman Killed By Can of Contadina. Duh. All I had to do was take the time to pull the chair over and climb up to get it. But the spoon was there. And so was I. Next thing I knew kabloooie.

With that in mind, it might not surprise you to learn that I often leave things on the roof of my van. Ask Jenna. Ask George. How many times I've been half way down the street when I hear the crash of another coffee mug hitting the pavement, crash, "Oh mama! Not again!" the five year old says. I think she will never make that mistake. Do as I'd like to do, not as I do.

We've lost lots of mugs that way. One time a bag of prescriptions, which a neighbor found in the street, and because they had our name and address on them, kindly brought them by.


With that in mind, it might also not surprise you, or maybe it will, that on the way home from Jenna's pre-K graduation last night, we'd traveled about 12 miles, sometimes at 45-50 miles an hour, up hill, down hill, and as we rounded the corner off the main drag where we live, I heard the kathunk. kathunk, slap.

"What was that?" Jenna and I said at once.

And then it hit me.

Oh no.

I remembered me outside of her pre-k graduation, I remembered opening my purse, putting her graduation certificate in the car, pulling out my T-Mobile Sidekick, and, are you ready, yes you're right, putting the Sidekick on the roof of the van.

"Oh Jenna! You know my phone? I think I left it on top of the car!"

"Oh mommy!"

Oh dear.

We turned the car around on a side street, and drove back to the intersection where we witnessed the kathunk heard round the world.

I'm scanning the pavement of the main road, the side road, see cups, lids, straws--was it my diet coke or someone else's that landed there from the roof? where, where, where is it!? Is it crushed? And why did Danger make that Sidekick the color of pavement? Didn't they KNOW?

Then I see it. Sitting there. In the road. Oh no. Cars. Oh no. Traffic.

"Jenna, wait here!"

"Do you see it mama?"

"I think I see it."

Nobody behind me, so I park, jump out, dance into the road where I see the little gray square I think is my sidekick. Feeling sick, I edge closer, drivers now looking at me suspiciously.

Right at the edge of the road, right in the path of turning tires, but *just* off to the left, yes. That's it. Oh no--the screen is flipped open. closer. OH NO Its face down. closer. OH NO, I pick it up.

The seam where the unit snaps together is wedged apart, and I instinctively squeeze it together until I hear a snap. I slowly turn it over to look at the display, not wanting to, headed back to the van, can't wait to know, flip, IT'S STILL ON! IT'S NOT SHATTERED! My voicemail is open. I have a voice mail.

I have a fucking voice mail in the middle of the road!

Back in the drivers seat, I'm turning it over this way and that way, left and right, over and under. Looking at all the scuffs and scrapes.

"Is it broken, Mommy?"

"I don't know yet. I don't think so. Not really bad. Beaten up, but I think it's still working."

I call voice mail. The phone works. There's a message. I listen to it. It's a call from a potential client asking if I can come in to meet with them the next day about a project.

And I'm laughing at the absurdity of it all.

I would have never gotten the message if that Sidekick wasn't made to take a licking.

And I mean a LICKING!

You've got mail.

Email's working. It's coming in, little pre-messages scrolling across the top of the display.

Oh thank you thank you--IT'S STILL WORKING! IT'S STILL WORKING!

So, my Sidekick is now officially beat to shit, scraped, scuffed, and not completely joined at the seam anymore. But, more importantly than any of that, it's still working and delivering what I need REALLY REALLY when I need it.


I'd like to say my tomato sauce can days are over. I'd like to say I couldn't have easily been run over retreiving the sidekick. Leaving Jenna in her seat, watching in horror as her mom is wiped out by a passing semi. I'd like to say I'll start listening to the little voice in my head that suggests, quite often, "Don't do that. Just don't do that."

I'd really like to.

Maybe I've learned.


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