April 2, 2007

Tee Ess Tee Elle...

Too. Stupid. To. Live. Seriously, I should not be allowed to PUT GAS IN MY CAR lest I blow up Georgia. I should not be allowed to eat anything but finger foods, lest I stab myself in the back of the throat with a fork or put some unsuspecting fellow diner’s eye out with same.

My only comfort is that my friend Karen Abbott is possibly worse. I dunno though. It’s close.

Last week she told me Sara Gruen (author of what turned out to be my FAVORITE book from last year) was flying in to the Atlanta Airport with the entire Gruen Posse: Mr. Gruen and the three auxiliary boy Gruens. They had a SIX AND A HALF HOUR LAYOVER, and their flight landed about half an hour after Karen’s flight (she was coming home from a trip to meet her godson). so Karen’s plan was to wait at the airport for the Gruen-zoo and take them all back to her house, feed them, let the boy-pack gambol about in a park, and then return them to the airport.

Me: In what car? That’s SIX people, Karen.
Her: Chuck’s SUV is big…
Me: It seats 5. You can’t say to one kid, WELL, your BROTHERS get seatbelts, but you are kinda the SPARE, so you just hang onto the roof. I tell you what, you take Marta TO the airport, and when you come back on Saturday, I will come get you AND all the Gruens in my SEXY MOMMY McVAN, which seats 7 people with still room for a VERY LONG DOG to sack out on the floorboards.

So it was decided. I had Karen forward me Sara’a email with her flight info so I would have the number.


1) Sara didn’t take her cell phone on vacation. She thought to ask for KAREN’s number so she could put it in her husband’s phone, but Karen did not ask for Bob’s number. So Sara could call us, but we could not call her.

2) The airport was CRAWLING WITH A ZILLION HUMANS---mostly sweaty, mostly smelling vaguely of beer. Here I am TRULY not sure which is DUMBER, me or Karen. Your call:

a) Karen, who KNEW it was something called final 4 weekend, but did not connect this event with why the airport smelled like Hairy Man Brewery and was so crowded that, had we been standing in a primitive culture instead of an Atlanta arrival gate, I would now be LEGALLY MARRIED to the guy behind me.


b) Me, who didn’t know it was final 4 weekend, or even what final four weekend WAS. I still don’t, to be honest. It has sports in it and makes a four minute drive from the interstate to Kar’s house in midtown take 45. That’s all I can tell you.

3) We stood peering at the gate that all deplaining sorts come through, and we saw nary a Gruen among the tipsy masses as they churned and teemed and pushed each other and grunted, crazy to reach sport-nirvana. And Sara didn’t call. We stood there for over two hours, with various split ups so one of us could check the baggage claim and the airport restaurants and have her paged.

4) Finally we left the airport and went to Sweet Devil Moon and ordered WAY TOO MUCH TAPAS and drank a vat of Sangria and then Chuck came and got us and took us to a movie, and SARA never called even though we left at least 10 messages on…a phone we knew she did not have.

5) Then we got home and looked at the email.
And noticed her flight was actually coming in SUNDAY.
And that her email, which we had both read, NOT ONLY said the DATE, but also said, “Hey Karen, My plane gets in THE DAY AFTER yours, so maybe we can meet up…”


I had ALMOST forgiven myself by pinning most of it in KAREN, saying it was HER fault because she SAID it was the same day so ALL I had really looked at was the FLIGHT number, and *I* was not the dumbest here… but then, today, I had to go to my doctor for my annual check-up, and I drove relentlessly to his OLD OFFICE where he has not been for SIX YEARS NOW, and then sat in my car blinking in puzzled wonder when I saw his old building was not only CLOSED now, but a HEAP OF TORN DOWN RUBBLE.



Posted by joshilyn at April 2, 2007 1:03 PM

Ha! Sounds like the day was somewhat salvaged, though, by the trip to Sweet Devil Moon. I could do with a vat of sangria right about now.

Posted by: Leandra at April 2, 2007 1:17 PM

I feel your pain Joshilyn! I can't tell you how many times I've done things like that. Especially when things are clearly spelled out for me.

Speaking of basketball, take a look at my friend Bob's blog for his take on the misspelling of West Virginia on the NIT Championship T-shirts last week.


Posted by: Patti D at April 2, 2007 1:35 PM

LOL, I love this story because it sounds SO MUCH like something I would do my very self.

Incidentally my 'zine did an interview with Sara for this month's issue, and whilst I don't wish to be spammy, I found her SOOO SWEEET, I think she would be terribly tickled by this post.

Posted by: Andi at April 2, 2007 1:38 PM

I was supposed to judge my very first ever barbecue competition on Saturday, as a brand-new novice judge for the state of SC, and I went to Barbecue University, and I got up extra early to tire out the dog running so I could be gone all day, and I picked up my friend and drove nearly two hours to the festival and then we got there... and I got the time wrong and we were an hour and 18 minutes late. No barbecue.

Posted by: Courtney at April 2, 2007 3:07 PM

YAY,YAY,YAY, WAAHOOOOO! I'm not the only crazy person in the world, or even GEORGIA. You always make me feel sooo much better!
I think,I will let you take that coveted place that now is void because of Anna Nicole's passing! (too uncouth?)

Posted by: Desi at April 2, 2007 4:41 PM

Hey, it happens to the best of us. Really, it does.
Hope you made it to the airport at the correct time on the day you were supposed to be there. Would that be today? Ugh. Hate airports. Too many people, not enough fresh air. Not at all like bookstores. or coffeehouses. Speaking of which, when is TGWSS going to be out? And did you tell us it has a new name, or was that just one of my crazy dreams?

Posted by: dee at April 2, 2007 6:24 PM

WAY too funny. . .especially the dr.'s office. But you are very much like one of my favorite quotations, "Women don't do too much. Women have too much to do." Which goes a long way to explain why we sometimes sort of go a little too heavy on auto-pilot. PLUS you were probably puzzling out some wonderful new plot line in your head, so we forgive you for being human and love you for being marvelous.

Posted by: Roxanne at April 2, 2007 7:49 PM

This is why I can't sleep before big travel thingies - picking up or dropping off - no sleep.

Posted by: Cele at April 2, 2007 8:47 PM

Sometimes I worry that my mind is going and then I come read your blog and think that maybe I am not so abnormal after all. As always, thanks for making my kids ask me why I'm giggling again.

Posted by: Tracy at April 2, 2007 9:37 PM

I just let myself off the hook for so many stupid things I have done, 'cause you just bested them all! At leat you were a day early and not a day late. Thanks for the regular doses of laughter you send our way.

Posted by: dana at April 2, 2007 11:40 PM

it never would have happened if you had JUST told us the pink socks story...and the stolen owl story...and that reminds me, I must go post "the story that could only have happened to meeee" ;)

Posted by: Elena at April 3, 2007 8:16 AM

Sweet Devil Moon? That is just wrong when Pura Vida and Loco Luna are so close and WAY, WAY better. Just sayin' :)

Posted by: Chris at April 3, 2007 9:39 AM

Sounds like me. On my way to work, I turned on some street that DOES NOT take me to the office. Dropping off hubby's suit at the drycleaners at lunch, I blew right past the place. Then when we went to pick up the truck at the mechanic's, we found it was NOT fixed because it wasn't due until TODAY. Pennsylvania has its share of crazies, too!

Posted by: Therese at April 3, 2007 9:58 AM

Ahhh... I feel better.

Posted by: Heather at April 3, 2007 12:16 PM

You can have a TSTL day and make it sound hysterically funny. That is truly a rare and wonderful gift.

When I try to recount one of my TSTL moments, it comes out sounding, well, stupid. My latest TSTL moment just happened as I was almost choking on lunch while reading your post. I really should know better by now.

Posted by: Elizabeth at April 3, 2007 12:45 PM

Sadly enough, I could see myself doing the same thing. Thanks for making me laugh.

Posted by: Jessalyn at April 3, 2007 1:17 PM

Pura Vida may be my favorite casual dining restaurant in Atlanta...BUT. You can WALK to sweet devil moon from JKaren's house, and I do not drive if I have been drinking and I won't drive with someone who has been drinking. So.

At Sweet Devil Moon, try the yuca balls with chicken and raisins in the center. Delish. Also the Mango Avocado Salsa and the beef skewers.

Posted by: Joshilyn at April 3, 2007 1:30 PM

Which one of her books was your favorite? I've heard great things about Water for Elephants, but the others look good, too. Which should I try first?

The Final Four thing could happen to anyone. I teach at one of the universities that frequently goes to the Final Four and I still forget it all the time, which makes my students look at me like I am this enormous dunce. Maybe it is their vengeance for all the times I stand there with my eyebrows scrunched in puzzlement wondering how they could honestly, truly not know what centuries Napoleon lived in. Or World War II took place. Or similar.

Posted by: Laura Florand at April 3, 2007 1:43 PM

Also, may I say that judging by her book, Karen may be a LEETLE impractical for airport pick-ups, but she must be QUITE fascinating...

(Congratulations on the book, Karen!)

OK, now I will quit letting you distract me and get back to work.

Posted by: Laura Florand at April 3, 2007 1:46 PM

Laura, thank you for saying that! Rest assured, though, that poor Chuck, who had to deal with us after we downed the aforementioned vat of sangria (actually, it was two vats!), found me less than fascinating at that particular moment... but he ALWAYS finds me impractical.

Posted by: Karen Abbott at April 3, 2007 2:31 PM

Oh poor Joss *pet*pet* You are not TSTL. I almost missed a flight home once for very similar reasons. Not that I would have minded, I was visiting my boyfriend.

Posted by: Heather Cook at April 3, 2007 3:38 PM

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was a wonderful book! I loved it. I read it in 2 sittings

Posted by: Desi at April 3, 2007 4:50 PM

ROTFL See, this is why I so heart Mr. Husband, because he lovingly keeps you safe and sane so the rest of us can alternately devour your books and spew breakfast beverages out our noses. How many other authors can offer such a diversity of entertainment? It's clearly a gift. = )

Posted by: David at April 5, 2007 8:26 AM

I finally got around to listening to my cell phone messages today and you guys were HILARIOUS!!!!!!!! One of you also accidentally called me back from the restaurant--HEEEEE!! I enjoyed some sangria vicariously...

Posted by: sara at April 9, 2007 3:11 PM