I left my office at 3:30 p.m. today in order to beat “The Traffic” during my 200-mile drive to Tahoe, a drive I do almost every weekend between December and April. A drive that, despite being only 200 miles, can take anywhere between three and 12 hours depending upon the weather.
And the thing is, while I left at 3:30 p.m. (when technically most people should be working), it still took us over 40 minutes to get just 15 miles outside of the city. Bay Bridge. Commute. Fog. Traffic. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m used to it, mostly. I know that if you really want to “beat” traffic, you have to leave at 1 p.m. and OHMYGOD IS THERE ANYTHING MORE BORING THAN TRAFFIC? I mean, besides WRITING about it?
So anyway. There we were. Living our privileged lives that allow us to do things like leave work early (granted, it’s no private jet to Miami), have seasonal cabins in Tahoe (with 12 other people), and snowboard a bazillion days a year (there’s no snow). Yes, you read that right. I just wrote about my awesome life and complained about it at the same time. It’s what I do. Just ask my mother.
(I mean, literally, as I type this, Campfriend is all, “How long is it going to take you to write this? I’m ready to go in the hot tub.” And I’m like, “Um, can you get me more wine? Please?” Because I always say please and thank you, no matter what, because it’s literally the littlest thing you can do that is also one of the most important. Life lessons. You’re learning them here. Also: in kindergarten. Whatever.)
So anyway, there we were, driving along 80, if you can call what we were doing driving, which you CANNOT because basically we were at a standstill. I was singing “Make You Believe” from “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song” which I watched last night on ABC Family and then maybe downloaded the soundtrack for (I have a musical problem and probably need an intervention?). Also, did ANYONE else watch that? Because it was totally horrible, but also genius. I am 100 percent obsessed with Lucy Hale (“Pretty Little Liars” which you’d BETTER be watching) singing the cheesiest poppiest lyrics ever. Love!
Anyway, so the car basically wasn’t moving and then I looked to our left and realized that the cars in the carpool lane? Yeah. They were going 65. If not faster. (Which is totally illegal and not recommended because, from what I hear, you can’t sing your way out of a speeding ticket. But just so you know: if I ever get pulled over? I’m totally going to try anyway.)
And the thing is? These cars in the carpool lane? The lane that only allows cars with three people or more between the hours of 3:30 and 7? It’s not like they were awesome commuters who formed a meet-up in order to save the environment. No. They were all f*cking families. Literally every car zipping by us was a mother, a father, and some sort of kid situation. To add insult to injury (which I think is how Campfriend felt about the fact that not only was I singing a musical -- again -- I was singing one that premiered on ABC Family), every single car had a rack with skis and snowboards on top.
Which is when I realized that these people were us. EXCEPT WITH BABIES. And they -- and their little procreation creations -- were totally going to get to Tahoe a full hour sooner than us because they had a third passenger. De La Soul was right when they sang, “Three is the magic number.” Between the hours of 3:30 and 7 in the East Bay: NOTHING IS MORE TRUE. (They also had a bunch of lyrics about D.A.I.S.Y., which makes them even smarter, but you obviously know that, so let’s not dwell.)
Anyway, as I sang lyrics to a TV musical no one but me will ever love, I realized that the solution to my weekend getaway commuting problem was simple. In fact, it was right in front of my face all along.
All I have to do is pretend to be a mommy!
Listen, I TOTALLY respect everything that actual mommies do. In fact, the reason I don’t ever want to be one is because I don’t think I’m capable of the awesomeness that is most of you. Oh, so yeah. That’s probably an important point here:
I’m not having babies.
And not in like an “I’m 18 and I don’t want kids” kind of way (even though I do believe there are a few 18-year-olds who probably absolutely know that about themselves). I’m not having babies in an “I’m running out of time to have kids and I’m totally not trying to have them and if, God forbid, I got pregnant, wouldn’t continue down that path” kind of way.
My reasons are complicated (or not), but mostly I’m just not mature enough, kind of selfish and don’t want to ruin a child’s life because of my behavior. Ugh. That was so revealing. MOVING RIGHT ALONG. (Also, the title of one of my favorite Muppets’ songs. Anyway!)
“Opportunity knocks once, let’s reach out and grab it…Together we’ll nab it…we’ll hitchhike, bus, or yellow cab it!”
Sorry. So catchy. LOVE YOU FOZZIE! Also, ugh. Some of us have to actually have to drive to our “opportunities.” (Opportunities = snow. Obviously.)
But clearly the solution to all of my The Traffic problems is to pretend to be a mommy! (Yup, seven paragraphs later and nothing has happened. And no, I don’t get paid by the word. Lucky you.) Basically, if everyone else on the road thinks that Campfriend and I are parents of a super-adorable (obviously, that doesn’t really matter but I mean, if I’m going to fake procreate, can’t it at least be Gerber-jar worthy?) baby/toddler/thingy.
And in order to convince the world that I’m in the running for “Mommie Dearest 2012?” (That’s a real award, right?) I just need a few things. Starting with:
1. A car seat.
Jesus Christ, people. I just Googled “car seat” and I’m so thankful my new baby is fake. $370 for a CAR SEAT? I’ll be taking the cheapest one from Target, thank you very much.
2. A fake baby.
Luckily, my mother only loves me a little bit, so she is constantly telling me to get my shit out of her storage room. I came across this little chica last summer and I think she’ll work perfectly. Yes, it’s a little slutty that instead of “blinking,” only one eye closes so now she’s a chronic “winker,” and sure her hair needs some MAJOR help, but whatever. She has to meet guys somehow if she ever wants to escape the trunk in my storage room. And guys LOVE rompers. I know this because my best friend gets laid every single time she wears one. TRUTH.
3. A “Baby on Board” sign.
I think this is key. A police officer (I don’t call them cops because that’s not respectful and I’m super into authority; or, I was clearly in reform school for a seriously long time) might drive by and somehow MISS the car seat (even though mine is going to be decorated with lots of tinsel and flashing lights), so I think it’s important to just announce to the world that you have a fucking baby. WATCH OUT.
4. A Stick Figure Family Car Sticker
Okay, fine. I’ll admit it: I’ve been thinking about getting one of these for years. I want one that’s just Jesus. And Daisy. Hanging out. DO YOU LOVE IT? So good. But, for the sake of my annoying new-found family, I will also include Campfriend and [No, I am not going to pretend name my fictional baby that only exists to get me into the carpool lane. First you name your pretend baby and then YOU GIVE BIRTH TO IT. I TOOK SEX ED. STOP TRYING TO TRICK ME!].
Four easy steps and VOILA! MOMMY-HOO-NESS-ISH-STUFF.
Basically, I can now drive in the carpool lane whenever, however, I want. It’s going to be amazing.
Although, ugh. It occurs to me that my fake baby might be a lot like me as a kid. Always whining about the music my mother had on the radio. I mean, seriously, one time I told her I would DIE if she played Phil Collins any louder and her reaction was to roll up the windows, turn the volume up as loud as it would go, and sing along with “In the Air Tonight” as loud as she could. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THERAPY IT TAKES TO RECOVER FROM THAT?
So, ugh. Fine. Maybe I’ll hold off on all of the fake baby stuff (for a while). After all, I do really love that I can sing along to ABC Family musicals at the top of my lungs without any complaint.
Now if only I could convince Campfriend to take a part….