Happy Charlie Bravo Day!
Dad here; It’s an unseasonably beautiful morning at the Casa del Whackos. I had a large home inspection reschedule until next week, so I took that as a sign direct from heaven above that I was meant to go for a bike ride. By bike, I mean on my bicycle, my usual twenty mile loop down on the Arkansas River Trail.
But there’s a problem: the inmates all possess an uncanny ability to determine when I’m preparing to leave the house to go do something fun. Work? No one gets too wound up about it, but they lose their minds if they sense something “fun” is on the agenda. And Fun consists of whatever they say it does: a trip to the Dollar Store, a ride on the motorcycle, a trip over to Zach’s house to flounce with his dogs. The real litmus test of how badly they want to use the “G” word(GO?) is “how much does us going inconvenience Dad?”
So, if the warden is to sneak out of the asylum unchaperoned by the inmates, Stealth Mode 2.0 must be activated. Today, I carried one or two items out to the car at a time, waiting the appropriate time between trips to throw the jackals off of the scent. Then a special tactic that I will not be divulging here as I know that there are those reading this that would rat me out to Charlie; this top secret maneuver allows me to get the bike loaded on the back of the CRV undetected.
So far, so good; I divert the dog’s attention with some leftovers from last night and make my escape, or so I thought. MacDuff had seen through my ruse, and was laying in ambush directly in front of my car door. Well, crap. If I take him back inside now, the whole charade begins anew, so I elect to cut my losses and just take the hairy little varmint with me.
But as we pull around the house towards the River Trail and freedom, I am confronted by a foe that I did not foresee, a foe so inscrutable and deadly that I wouldn’t wish it upon my worse enemy:
Oba is Mom’s 86 year old Okinawan mother who lives with us in her cozy apartment. Her sole purpose of existing is visiting with her great-grandson Jude, watching “Alaska: the Wild Frontier”, but most importantly, going out to eat. A lot. Daily. Multiple times daily. Sometimes even hourly. I don’t mean to exaggerate, but she has actually encountered herself simultaneously waiting for a table while taking care of the check at the cash register. As for myself, twenty seven years spent in outside sales and the subsequent soul sucking business lunches, going out to eat carries about as much allure as eating pre-chewed cottage cheese served on a bed of sweaty gym shorts while watching The View. But still she asks, multiple times a day, to the point that I have to employ evasive maneuvers with her as well as the dogs if I ever hope to leave the Casa unchallenged.
But she’s grown way too savvy. She has placed her lawn chair on the sidewalk just outside her Hobbit Hole at the corner of the house, ostentatiously to soak up the sun but really to make sure that I cannot come or go without her knowledge and the resulting extensive interrogation. If you happened by the Casa on a sunny day, you may see an elderly lady in a lawn chair scanning the neighborhood for nefarious activity. But I would see it for what it really is, the equivalent of the Brandenburg Gate, complete with concertina wire and machine gun emplacements and manned by the toughest commando to have ever served on the eastern front.
And there she was, manning her post at the edge of the driveway. This was my only chance at freedom, and there is no time like the pleasant. I had no choice; I had to floor it. The sound of my tires chewing ruts into the gravel driveway in an effort to make my escape effectively drowned out her voice, but even through the haze of dust and flying gravel, I could still read her lips:
“LET’S GO EAT RUNCH!”