You don't really need a car to live your life out in Washington, DC. My friend, Julie, lived in an apartment building on 16th and Massachusetts. It was close to the Safeway on 17th and just a few blocks from our office. She didn't need a car. I did. I moved to Cheverly after separating from my first husband, and you might say that I was on a tear. That's what happens when you get married at 21 and never get a chance to get the crazies out. Even the Amish know this fact, but somehow, the message wasn't delivered to me. I wasted years of my life playing house with an asshole, and when I finally moved out, Julie was there to make sure I made up for lost time.
Late one night, I found myself in an unfamiliar Virginia suburb with Julie, breaking into someone's house. Now, by breaking in, I mean, entering the domicile completely uninvited. Julie did have a key that was given to her by the handsome soldier who lived here, who also happened to be her ex-boyfriend. He also happened to have professed his undying love for Julie and tossed around some bullshit about getting married that very day.
What I learned on the drive over was that she was sneaking into his house to confront him about some infidelity. What I didn't learn until I was in the house, in the dark, was that the infidelity was LIVE AND IN PROGRESS. What clued me in was the high-pitched screaming and the naked body running past me in the moonlight.
I want to say that I wisely stayed away from the bedroom, but if I were wise, I would be at home in bed in Cheverly. Quiet, Rockwellian Cheverly. Cape Cod homes and autumn leaves. Quiet meandering streets populated with school teachers and members of the foreign service, and me, the neighborhood nightmare.
So, after a lot of screaming and naked fleeing, we were soon back in my Toyota Tercel heading over the bridge. We parked right on Massachusetts, facing her building, while Julie ranted about this guy, and how he couldn't be trusted alone with Rose O'Donnell he was so promiscuous, when out of nowhere, a sporty sedan comes barrelling past and screeches to a halt in front of the building. The boyfriend storms out of the car and into the building.
Julie gets out of the car. Oh shit.
"FOLLOW ME!" she yells. Before I can say anything, she jumps into this man's car and starts it. Not because he has stupidly left the keys in his car in the middle of the night in downtown DC but because he has stupidly given her a complete set of his keys, house and car. What a moron.
Have you ever been downtown in DC? It's a grid-patterned city with criss-crossing avenues named after states, and this particular neighborhood is positively filled with cars. Cars inhabit every available parking space. There are apartment buildings, bars, clubs, restaurants, and embassies, all filled with people. We drove in a meandering path of rights and lefts until we were on the other side of Dupont Circle. Miraculously, Julie finds an empty space, and executes a perfect parallel park.
I forgot to mention that I am laughing so hard that tears are streaming down my face. I can barely drive from the hilarity. And when Julie turns to join me and the headlights hit her face, she is in the same state. I think one of us just might wet our pants. Once she's in the car, we have one more problem to address. Julie has given her ex-boyfriend a set of keys too, so he may actually be in her apartment waiting for her. We decide to drive back and check things out before heading to Cheverly.
We're a half a block from the building when we see him. He's carrying a huge microwave and looking perplexed. He's scanning the street in all directions, and I'm afraid he's going to see us, but he doesn't. He starts walking as he's looking, but I can see him struggling with that microwave. We pull quietly around the corner and park, laughing as quietly as we can with our heads under the dashboard.
Julie wants to go up to her apartment, so we sneak into the side door and run up the stairs. The place is immaculate, and you wouldn't know he'd been there except that the microwave--his gift to her--is gone. Then the phone starts ringing, and I really wish she wouldn't pick it up, but she does. I hear her telling him that he will have to find the car on his own. I'm sure he'll be back any minute. I beg her to leave with me. Crashing at my place is a much better idea, but no. She won't go.
We barricade ourselves in the bathroom and fall asleep. In the morning, the microwave is on the floor of the apartment, but he is gone.