I seem to have gotten to a place in my life where, when misadventure strikes, I think: “Well, at least I’ll get a blog post out of it.” I’m not sure if that’s healthy. I’m going to say that it is, provided I don’t go out looking for or trying to actively force calamities for the sake of blog content. It would certainly be unhealthy based on my current readership levels. If you people want me to start doing going out and making an ass out of myself on purpose, you better start telling your friends.
Anyway, I planned to throw my fiancée a surprise birthday party this past Saturday. In all of our ten years together, only one time has either of us attempted to mount a surprise birthday party and that ended in almost total disaster. Since then, all birthday celebrations had been kept totally above board. For reasons I can’t truly explain, much in the same way few best-selling novelists can properly tell you where their ideas come from – I decided this, a week before our wedding, was the right time to revisit the surprise birthday.
Now, I’m not one to tell you how to read this blog, but I will go ahead and do that right now. Go to Youtube or Spotify or your CD player or whatever and load up the “Ocean’s 11” soundtrack. It will help set the mood for what is about to transpire.
Here was my game plan: On Saturday afternoon, I was going to leave our house under the pretense of going to the local cat adoption center where I volunteer every Saturday afternoon. Only, instead of going and playing with kitties, I was going to go shopping for her surprise party. I was going to get taco supplies, booze and maybe even some new Tiki torches for our porch out back. Once the supplies were gathered, I would then drive myself over to the adoption center and call her, claiming to have locked my keys in my car. As she drove over with my spare set, my family and hers would sneak into the house and thus the trap, er surprise, would be set. We’d drive back, she’d open the door and BAM! Surprise.
My plan was perfect. Danny Ocean couldn’t have done better if he had a baker’s dozen of friends helping him. I took off from my volunteer gig and everything. I was ready. But then I got greedy.
My greatest short falling in life, at least it’s my greatest for the purposes of this post, is that I am prone to trying to cram too much into too small of a window. It’s why I’m almost always late for things. I looked at my suddenly empty Saturday afternoon and thought: “I can squeeze a run in there.” This is where the record scratch sound effect comes in.
So I reworked my plan. Instead of using that entire window for shopping, and it was looking to be about a two hour plus window, I decided to carve out a block of time to go for a run. Here was my revised game plan: On Saturday afternoon, I was going to leave our house under the pretense of going to the local cat adoption center where I volunteer every Saturday afternoon. Only, instead of going and playing with kitties, I was going to go to a nearby park and go for a run. Since I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day in my sweaty running clothes, I decided to put my running clothes on under a nicer outfit. After my run, I would then drive to my parents’ house, shower there, change into nicer outfit I’d worn out of the house that day (and into some spare underpants and socks I’d smuggled out as well). From there, I’d shopping for taco supplies, booze and maybe even some new Tiki torches for our porch out back. Then, I’d then drive myself over to the adoption center and call her, claiming to have locked my keys in my car. As she drove over with my spare set, my family and hers would sneak into the house and thus the trap, er surprise, would be set. We’d drive back, she’d open the door and BAM! Surprise.
Brilliant. Everyone wins. Let’s flash forward to game day. There I am, wearing two pairs of shorts, carrying a plastic bag which appeared to be full of trash, but which actually contained my change of clothes. I kissed her good bye and walked out the door, like Danny Ocean on his way to Vegas. I drove over to the park, stripped off my top layer of clothes to reveal my running wear. I took a key off my key ring so I’d be able to get back in when I was done running. I realized, I’d left something in the car which I needed. I inserted the key into the lock and – go ahead and cue the Benny Hill music – nothing. Whoops. I’d taken my house key, not my car key off the ring. I was now locked out of my car for reals, a full two hours before I was supposed to be locked out for pretend.
I have one spare set of keys and it was at home, with my fiancée. After a few moments, I knew what I had to do. I started running back home to get them. I’d act like I’d forgotten something else and then hope she didn’t notice my car wasn’t back out in front of the house. Luckily, it’s not a far run. A couple of moments in, I stopped. I looked down. I was wearing totally different clothes. Also, if I took my spare set, how would I get her out of the house later? No dice. I sat down in the shade and considered my predicament.
(Editor's note: Check back Wednesday for Part 2)