all week i had planned that today i was going to go to the DMV to take my permit test. come to find out this morning, you actually have to send in a physical paper application with a check for $10, and then in 2-4 weeks they MAIL you a date to come in and take your test. [sigh]
it was supposed to be an adventure day to the mall, with the highlight being finally getting my permit and admitting to myself and others that i am ready to learn how to drive.
instead, i ate a big bowl of leftover mac & cheese (this recipe was ridiculously delicious, and i am not easily impressed by impostor cheese) and dicked around on the internet.
but after as many hours of lounging as i could physically tolerate, i decided that DMV bureaucracy couldn’t keep me from trying on pants. to the mall!
actually, a series of huge mistakes that would eventually culminate in my crying on a bus in south portland.
1. it was hot out, and i knew i would be trying on clothes, so of course a stretchy hot yellow minidress was the perfect solution! except for the part where as soon as i started walking, the hem would ride up to crotch height, leaving me looking like one of the bayside neighborhood hookers. also, the flattering light in my bedroom gravely misled me to believe that i looked ok. but no, as soon as i got to the harsh and unforgiving overhead fluorescents of the mall, i realized my fibroid pooch was in full flower, my panties were bunching in all the wrong places, and that i essentially looked like a neon pillowcase full of potatoes. I CAN NEVER WEAR THIS DRESS AGAIN.
2. the poor dress decision also lead me down the path of an even poorer underwear decision. since i had chosen such a loud and close fitting dress, i didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to unsightly panty lines.(logic!) so, even though i never ever ever wear them, i chose to fish a slightly too big nude thong out of the back of my underwear drawer.
oh god why?
not only was it disastrously uncomfortable AND unflattering, but it forced me to look real closely at my squishy posterior every time i tried something on. not cute. i started to feel sad and self conscious. like i was being judged by all the willowy short short clad teenagers and scoffed at by their moms. i trudged around the mall, wilted with shame,
3. i had come to the mall with the expectation that i would spend the $25 macy’s gift certificate that i earned taking online surveys. i left with a $136 receipt for old navy. i blame their flattering side light and cheerful dressing room attendants. i blame myself for wanting to shop away my low self esteem. i didn’t buy anything crazy, but i didn’t really need to buy anything.
4. so i’m sitting outside of jc penny, waiting for the 6:40 bus. i’m tired and cranky and trying to hide my bloated midsection with my shopping bag, when a bus pulls up at exactly 6:40 that says PORTLAND in big letters on the front. it’s not the regular metro bus, and it says SOUTH PORTLAND on the side, but the driver assures me that he will take me to portland, and i assume that the metro and the south portland shuttle just share routes or something. i don’t know. seems legit.
but then he starts going a totally different direction than i was expecting, and we head the back way to the “over the bridge” part of south portland, looping slowly (so slowly) around the cemetery and the dairy queen. I AM ON THE WRONG BUS. i start to panic, and stare out the window with what i can only describe as pensive desperation- hoping that the next leap will be the leap home, but becoming very discouraged as we pass the bridge and head toward the millcreek shopping center.
at a stop light, i slide up to the front of the bus and ask the driver “exactly where in portland does this bus wind up?”.
he explains to me that he puts his “out of service” light on after his last sopo stop and hits three more unauthorized stops on congress st. it’s workable, but not ideal. i explain to him that i am on the wrong bus, and that i found it misleading that he showed up at 6:40 with a sign that said PORTLAND on his bus, and encouraged me to get on-even though it was pretty clear that i was waiting for the metro.
he is unapologetic and begins to ramble on about how the metro driver is always running late. i realize then that i have been poached. it must be a game he plays to assert his superiority over the metro drivers, coaxing bewildered passengers onto his deathbus to nowhere. i am unimpressed and still skeptical of where we are going as we head down an unfamiliar side street. i wonder for a minute if i am dead and this is the 21st century version of charon’s boat on the river styx. or maybe this is purgatory, and i just ride aimlessly around the suburbs, getting increasingly more motion sick and self conscious about my slutty underwear and my loud and ill fitting dress for all eternity.
the bus driver tries to make small talk with me, because it’s obvious that i am about to cry. something about tomorrow being friday. i mention that i am on vacation, and this for some reason sets off some sort of trigger in the man sitting across from me.
he starts to rant.
i couldn’t make out most of it, but it involved a $600 jaywalking ticket and sleeping under a bridge. oh, and taking on 20 guys in prison. he called them all cowards. he called everyone cowards. it was clear that he thought that everyone else in the world was a coward but him. then he started rambling about throwing rocks at people with guns and daring them to shoot him.
i depressed the “stop request” button and got the hell out of there as soon as we were over the bridge. i did not give my customary wave and “thanks, have a nice night”. they can all rot on the purgatory bus.
in summation, don’t wear a thong to the mall on a fat day. you’ll end up on the bus to hell.