Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cable Cars: They're Not as Much Fun When You Share the Road with 'Em

In college, at my sorority house, we had a Blast Wall. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The wall resulted from a group of girls – that had come home from "dollar beers" night after too many Bud Lights – gossiping about the week's most interesting topics. In other words, about the embarrassing and hilarious things our sisters had said and done.

“Ohmigosh! Last night? I saw Kelly using the squirty tube of peanut butter and jelly to draw a happy face on the kitchen floor!” one girl exclaimed between fits of laughter and bites of Wheat Thins smeared with cream cheese.

“Did you hear? Claire had pink hair in high school!” another girl blurted while mowing through a makeshift quesadilla and dunking it in an industrial-size tub of sour cream.

That night, the girls decided to scribble these awkward, stupid, and inappropriate details about their friends onto pieces of ripped computer paper, which they then plastered to the walls in the stairwell leading to the sleeping porch. The trend caught on, and soon everyone contributed to the Blast Wall habitually. The only rule? The “blasts” had to derive from sober activities (because the wall would’ve filled up in an hour had we been allowed to list all the dumb things our roommates did after a bottle of wine). Within a week, every inch of the Blast Wall was covered with notes like these:

Kelsey got a ticket for driving too SLOW.

Meghan bought five pounds of butter. (I actually did.)

Jessica’s high school mascot was a UNICORN.

Meghan saw a man holding a sign that read “Homeless Vet” and asked, “Why would a veterinarian be homeless? Don’t they make a lot of money?”

Bri’s skirt was stuffed into her underwear for an hour during class.

Meghan thought peanuts came from elephants. (Don’t ask.)

A year later, I found myself behind the wheel for the first time in San Francisco, driving for hours up and down California Street in the pitch-black night and wailing because my GPS had failed me horribly. The only thing that kept me from running off the road in spasms of tears was the thought of my sorority sisters – and how they would’ve so blasted me for this. (“It took Meghan two hours to find her way home in a city that she’s lived in for a year.”)

I had just registered my Jeep Grand Cheroke that afternoon. I spent hours and hours at the Daly City Department of Motor Vehicles, mostly because I forgot my passport the first time and had to drive all the way back to the city and retrieve it in order to take my driving test and obtain a California license. Arg! Then there was the SMOG check (whatever that is) at a nearby testing center, and to top it off I had to change my license plates myself. So, yes, after a horrendous day of dealing with grumpy old ladies in name tags (I’d be cranky, too, if I worked at the DMV), I maneuvered my SUV back to San Francisco, got stuck behind a touristy cable car for a good twenty minutes, and then became dreadfully lost.

I’ve been on those cable cars before, but only now that I’m a registered driver in the state of California do I realize how painfully annoying they are.

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  1. Wait, if you're a vegetarian, why are you eating beans?