I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life. Teen me did a lot of dumb things; they were exciting, sometimes dangerous. Unfortunately, doing dumb things doesn’t stop as you age. Your dumb things just get more frustrating because you feel like you should have a handle on life.
It’s like adult acne. No one tells you when you’re sixteen that you can (and will) still get acne at age forty. If my dermatologist had told me then that I’d have acne my whole life, I would have needed a therapist much sooner.
The same logic applies to dumb things. So here is a list of three dumb things I’ve done in the last few years.
Dumb Thing #3
On a very recent Monday morning, I had a 9 a.m. appointment in Riverside, which is approximately an hour and a half away from my house. I dropped my daughter off at school at 6:45 a.m. (she is a type-A masochist and chose an elective before first period at 8 a.m.). So, I dropped her off and started my drive to Riverside on the 134.
I hate the 134. The first time I drove on it I said, “If I’m going to ever die on a freeway, it will be this one.” I still believe that if I were to get into an accident and die it would be on that freeway. It’s cursed. I know it.
That morning, I white-knuckled east on the 134 for an hour and a half, arrived at this weird white building, climbed the stairs, found the office and smiled at the secretary.
“Hi, I’m Kelly Oxford. I have a nine a.m. meeting.”
When her face looked confused, my stomach dropped. When she flipped through to the last of the day’s files without finding me, I knew it was coming.
“I don’t see you here.”
“Oh,” I said, reaching into my pocket for my phone. I opened my calendar and saw it. The appointment was the following week. Not even on a Monday. The appointment was Wednesday of the following week.
I just smiled, said thank you, probably apologized to her and the chairs and the door and got back onto the cursed 134 for a two-and-a-half hour long trip (traffic going into the city) where I thought I’d die at any moment. My hands hurt, I had to pee. I think my adrenals shriveled up and reabsorbed into my body.
I do not understand how I got both the date and the day wrong. But I felt blessed to have spent four hours driving the 134 without it turning me into another one of its ghosts.
Dumb Thing #2
This one is just flat-out embarrassing. Like, I can’t even begin to explain how much I do not want to write this down. I’m just now realizing it might be the Number One Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done. But I want you to get your money’s worth, so here it is.
I’ve sold a lot of furniture on Craigslist and it’s always been fine. (Okay, yes you know why I’m embarrassed already.) I listed my dining set because it felt oversized and I wanted a smaller one. A nice woman responded, said she was moving to Los Angeles and would send a check for it.
Yes, I know. No checks. I blame being a frazzled full-time working single mom, but I really should have read the fine print on Craigslist that says, “Do not accept checks as payment.”
The woman sent an extra $1,500 to cover the mover who had all of her other stuff and was stopping at my place to grab the table and chairs. Yes, I know.
I deposited the check. The day of the move she called me, “My movers won’t come until you Venmo them the moving money, I’m so, so, sorry but they are literally holding my furniture hostage and I was so dumb to give you the money for them I should have done it myself.”
I assured her I could Venmo the movers her money. The second I made the transaction, it hit me that I’d been swindled, and the check was not a good check and I’d just Venmo’d some excellent liar $1,500 of my own money. THE DUMBEST MOVE OF MY LIFE. I REALLY WANTED TO GET RID OF THAT TABLE AND CHAIRS.
She then began to text me to get more money, and I just kept texting back that she was a swindler and to fuck right off. She called me and angrily told me that she’d trusted me with her money and the truck was coming.
An hour later a moving truck pulled up in front of my house and I felt so guilty for what I’d said to this woman. I ran outside and knocked on the passenger door of the truck. The driver opened the window. “Hello!” I smiled, relieved. “Are you the movers? For the table and chairs?” The driver stuffed some sandwich in his mouth and said, “No.”
I walked back into my house angry as hell. I’d lost $1,500 and really wanted a new dining set. I tried to get the money back, but it was useless. I still have the large dining set.
Dumb Thing #1
This one is short to tell but was long to experience, and also involves the cursed 134 freeway.
The kids and I were on our way to our first vacation as a family of four. We has an amazing invitation to fly from Las Vegas to the Bahamas with our friends. Las Vegas is about a four hour drive. I packed the kids and bags into the car and started driving at five a.m., even though our flight wasn’t until later that night.
I took the cursed 134 to the 15 and then suddenly, out of nowhere, on the border of Nevada, three hours into the drive, I blurted out, “I forgot the passports!” I said it out loud before I’d even thought it. I’d forgotten the goddamn passports at the front door.
My kids were silent. Then, “Mom, you are kidding.” “MOM?” “OH MY GOD I KNEW WE WEREN’T GOING TO GET TO SWIM WITH SHARKS!”
I turned the car around and headed home to get the passports. We made it in time, but oh my god the driving and the embarrassment I felt for making my kids suffer through the ride because I’d left the damn passports at home.
So I think that’s my top three, though I am one hundred percent sure I’ve done other dumb things that I’ve blocked out. You know, to maintain what’s left of my sanity.