I knew by 8 p.m. it was going to be one of Those Nights. Which, for me, is defined by how much I drink and how often I have to run to the potty… When it’s not one of Those Nights I’m Perfectly Normal Person (shaddup, I am!) and I knock back a couple cans of diet soda (Splenda sweetened, thank ewe very much) and make a trip or two to the potty. When it is one of Those Nights, I kill off half a case at least and God help anyone who gets between me and the bathroom.

But hey, it’s late enough, I might as well let it go and just take my DDAVP at bedtime like always. All the running to the bathroom can count as exercise, dangit!

Nine thirty the doorbell rings. This makes me a nervous Wabbit because the Spouse Thingy is at work and the Boy is on stage half an hour away (opening night, I was not allowed to go… he wants us to wait until next week) and this is turning out to be not the safest neighborhood in the world… Ya know, that murder-suicide at the complex next to ours, the radio theft, tires around here being slashed. The peephole is my friend, and I’m not afraid to pretend I’m not there.

Anyway, it’s my neighbor. The nice lady who always asked how Max was doing when he was sick. Her car is deader than dead, and she’s late for work. It’s her first night in a new unit. She desperately needs a ride.

I’m night blind.
She has to get to work.
There’s no one else to ask.

I ask about the road lighting along the way; it’s brightly lit. It’s only 2 miles away. So okay, if she’s willing to be in a car I’m driving at night, I’m willing to risk it.

Where are we headed?

The prison.


The prison.
The big one where they once kept Charles Manson for a number of years.
The place with the guards with big guns.

It can’t be any worse than driving onto the Air Force base on 9/11, which was a surreal experience, and scary as hell when made to drive the long stretch between the crossroad in front of the hospital and the main gate alone, with more than one machine gun trained on the car. That’s what I told myself. Just like that, without the funky painted Hummers.

No biggee.

Um, yeah. The logic in my head was not working; I know this prison is a safe place to be around. But still. It’s a prison. There are Bad People there.

So yep, I drove her to work. And while I had to squint the whole way there and the whole way back, I didn’t run anyone or anything (that I know of) over, and I didn’t bang up the car.

But on the way home, it hit me.

Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty.

Worse yet, I had to pee like the proverbial racehorse, and trust me, 1 mile is not a short distance when you’re about to implode.

I reasoned that the cat had peed in the car a month ago and it still kind of smells, so if I didn’t make it, no one would ever know. They’d just think it was a remnant Max’s little gift to the wonderful world of car interior odors.

Gripping the steering wheel until my knuckles were white (well, I assume. It’s not like I stopped to admire them) and clenching my teeth until my jaw hurt, I kept right on driving. I pulled into my parking slot, jumped out of the car, and armed it while I ran to the apartment.

Both cats were waiting by the door for me. And being inquisitive, they followed me down the hall and into the bathroom.

And they watched.
Stared, they did.

I felt oddly naked in front of my kitties.

They didn’t appreciate that I’d driven at night without killing anyone. They were not impressed that I didn’t wet myself on the way home. They did not admire my specialness.

And dammit, I am special. [ Stuart Smalley ] I’m special and I’m wonderful, and gosh darn it people LIKE me. [ /Stuart Smalley] And yes, getting behind the wheel at night takes a Short Bus kind of specialness.


That’s me.

Excuse me while I go make room for the next 32 ounce glass of decaff ice tea…

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