When I was younger, my dad would take us on random, spur-of-the-moment trips. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even know where we were going until we got there. Sometimes, we never really got there; we just kept driving around. These trips are some of my favorite memories for a couple of reasons: 1. We were together, as a family, experiencing whatever it was that was to happen on the trip. 2. Those “whatever it was” things that happened were some of the most random, off-the-wall moments that you’d never believe it was true if you saw it in a movie.
I often tell people that my family is the real-life version of the Griswolds. We have the type of luck that weird bad things happen on trips, then quickly plummet into a “is this really happening” downward spiral. It really helped define my sense of humor, because you can’t help but laugh at it. Otherwise, you’d probably go crazy. My dad always told me that I should keep a journal about our trips. I wish I’d had. However, these weird things still happen. I may not have a journal, but I have a column in the <<IT>>Metro Spirit<<IT>>. So, here’s my latest entry. The following things actually happened:
A few weeks ago, my Assistant Program Director, Fenway, and I went to Atlanta for an artist showcase. In the past, when we’ve gone on these trips, in-between all the picture taking and social media posts, my phone dies sometime in the night. The wife isn’t such a huge fan of this. So I was reminded to take a charger with me. Even better: I took two. I kept one in my pocket all night, just in case.
Toward the end of the night, I had just ordered what was meant to be my last drink. The night was still going, and I was proud of myself for actually calling it a night before it got too late. However, one of my radio peers had a bit too much to drink and was getting physical outside. Nothing too crazy — he just wanted back in the bar really bad after being escorted out. I helped diffuse the situation by holding his legs still. Y’see, he was being held on the ground in hopes that he would calm down. But this is a big guy, so he was a lot to hold. His legs were flailing about like Fred Flintstone driving a car or like Curly from the 3 Stooges when he would lay down and run in circles. Cops were called, and it got real ugly, but we managed to keep him from going to jail and sent him to his hotel room after about an hour of talking him down. Now, I could finally leave.
When I go to Atlanta, I stay with my big brother as much as I can. He’s got an apartment right there in Midtown. Originally, I had planned on walking by his place of employment to say hey. But after the crazy legs incident, the restaurant he managed was closed. No worries — I’ll just Uber straight to his place. He promised to leave a key out for me.
When I went to order my Uber, I noticed that my phone was on 2 percent. Luckily, I had that charger. I sat in the lobby of Fenway’s hotel and plugged in my charger so I could order my ride. Fifteen minutes later, I notice that the plug isn’t working properly. It charged, but only to around 4 or 5 percent. Just enough to order a ride. I could charge it the rest of the way at my brother’s place. I hit up the app and Eric, my driver, was on his way.
Upon reaching my brother’s apartment, my phone screen goes blank. I walk up the steps and reach into the secret key hiding place, and nothing is there. At least I think so; my fingers were numb. It was about 28 degrees at the time. I check everywhere I could for the key and find nothing. So, I go to check for an unlocked door or window. Nothing. But I did catch a glimpse of my brother’s dog, Jackie White Toes, staring at me through the blinds like “You should come in; it’s cold as a polar bear’s toenail out there!” So I think: ‘Who could I call to help?’ Oh, that’s right, no one. Phone’s dead and there’s no outlet to be found anywhere. Can’t get an Uber, either, for the same reason. But, hey, I got that charger in my pocket!
So, I curled up in my coat and got in a frigid couple hours of sleep on his porch until he got home from work. His first words to me: “Hey … it’s Thursday, and I was supposed to leave you a key. Oops.” I had to laugh. This type of thing only happens to me.
But I’m the type of person who tries to take a lesson from everything. So I will now always donate blankets for the homeless every chance I get. My experience in that cold was only two hours, and it was miserable. I can’t imagine having to spend every day of my life out there.