I probably shouldn’t blog about my new boss, but I can’t help it. Remember how eager I was to get rid of the last guy? I even threw him the most awkward retirement party the world has ever seen. Well now my new boss is a woman—which felt like a victory at first. I hoped for feminist badassery, mentorship and an end to the chronic misogyny of this godforsaken place.
You know how well my hopes usually work out.
Her true nature revealed itself when we left for a presentation off-campus. I knew it’d be horribly boring and tedious but it was the sort of thing my previous boss—in all his crunchy elitism—would’ve gobbled up. She didn’t know any better so she agreed to go and insisted upon driving.
I followed her leopard print kitten heels across the parking lot to her shimmery blue Mercedes and waited for her to finish fluffing her curly brown bangs in the rearview mirror. As soon as she put it in Drive I knew my life was in danger.
“You’ll want to stay in the left lane,” I said.
She pursed her lips, obviously annoyed that I’d interrupted her story about how someone at a restaurant told her she was beautiful. But it was important– we were nearing a roundabout and she needed to stay in the left lane or else we’d be stuck in the wrong direction.
“This lane?” she asked, veering to the right.
“No, no, the left lane,” I said again. “Then go straight through the roundabout. You’ll take the second exit so we just keep heading West.”
She nodded, seeming to understand.
“So anyways,” she went on. “All my son’s friends know I’m the Cool Mom because I’m okay with buying condoms for all of them—“
She suddenly jerked the car to the right.
“You said this way, right?”
“No! Go THROUGH the roundabout.”
She swerved back into the left lane and sailed towards the roundabout, completely disregarding the bright red YIELD sign. I was about to thank God for there not being any other cars trying to pass when BLAM!
She’d failed to actually go ROUND the bout and hit the break just as we sailed over the curb, screeching to a stop in the middle of the concrete circle.
“Oh,” she said. “I was probably supposed to drive around it, huh?”
I died laughing. There was no way I could hold it in. I waited for her to join me, thinking it’d be a bonding moment. This is how I make all my friends, like “Hey, remember that time I was a moron?”
But no. She just stared at me. We were idling motionless in the center of the roundabout, surrounded by immaculately cultivated flower beds, and she didn’t find it the least bit funny.
Another car drove around us, staring in open-mouth shocked at the two of us parked in the center of the roundabout. My new boss thought for a moment then put on her blinker and hit the gas, launching us back into the flow of traffic. It was taking everything within me to not start laughing again. I tried to ease the tension by making conversation.
“Yeah roundabouts are a little confusing if you’re not used to them.”
“Well they have them all over my neighborhood,” she said dismissively.
This didn’t help. I could silence the laughter but I couldn’t prevent my body from shaking with it. We barely made it to the first red light before I lost it again. The whole time she just sat there with a face of stone, completely incapable of seeing what was so funny.
I made it through the evening by saving my silent tears of laughter for the darkness of a power point presentation. Later that night I tried to tell Alex the story but couldn’t make it. I kept picturing what it must have looked like to see us sailing straight into that landscaped barrier. I could feel the terror of her car’s bumper screaming, “abort, abort, abort!”
My stunted storytelling must have exhausted Alex because he promptly passed out when we made it to bed. I lay on my back for a while, listening to the rhythmic sound of his breathing. My thoughts drifted to life’s great questions— then I pictured the way our heads snapped forward when she hopped that curb.
I lost it.
Alex lunged forward, frightened from sleep and ready to fight off a home invader. But there was no invader, only my bellowing laughter echoing in the night. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re actually safe. Not at all. Because I’m pretty sure the scariest thing in the world is a person who can’t laugh at themselves. Someone like that is not to be trusted.
Do you know anyone who can’t laugh at themselves? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done while driving? Have you ever laughed at an inappropriate time?
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