Good music and fireworks, that’s all we wanted. Yesterday evening, me and my friend pulled into the parking lot of a large stadium. Yes, the clouds were gray. Yes, a few small droplets of rain had sprinkled the windshield. Yes, we decided to go for it anyway. It’s the rainy season in Florida, so getting wet and having fun go hand in hand.
We were bopping to rock music all of 15 minutes before big fat droplets of rain began falling. All around us umbrellas were opening. We didn’t open ours. We had no umbrella. We aren’t the sort of adults who carry umbrellas. We’re the sort who own multiple umbrellas and leave them in the hall closet or the trunk of our car. Wherever the least useful place for an umbrella might be is where we keep ours. But we’re Floridians, and we don’t punk out for rain. Besides, it usually passes. How bad can it get?
We almost drowned.
As the rain became a steady sheet of liquid pellets pummeling our eyeballs, we discussed the possibility of retreat. Then a glimmer of hope. Directly in front of us, eyeing us, an attractive guy. This was no regular attractive guy. This guy had an umbrella. In his eyes, I could see him calculating and considering. Alas, the math didn’t add up. Two of us plus one of him plus one average sized umbrella equals chivalry is dead. I would have gladly formed a man sandwich under that umbrella, but he lowered his head (in what I take to be shame, shame, shame) and turned away.
Finally, mainly because our phones were in danger of being destroyed, we admitted defeat and turned toward the direction of our car located in a parking lot far, far away. Then came the lightning; the kind of lightning you see in National Geographic magazines. The umbrella adults didn’t seem to notice. Every one of them kept their metal rods raised high in the air, each one a potential conduit for our planet’s electric power. I may be mistaken here, but didn’t I learn in science class that holding metal objects in an electrical storm while standing in puddles of water is a bad idea? Maybe I’m wrong, but as I made my way through the umbrella-wielding crowd, I lamented how ugly I would look when the news cameras arrived and asked for my eyewitness account of the scene of mass electrocution.
Oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned that my mascara was by now running directly into my eyeballs– the intense burning told me that. I was assured by my friend that yes, indeed, I looked like hell in a handbasket, as did she. Between the heavy, pounding rain and red, bleary eyes, it was a miracle we even found the direction of the exit, but we trudged along until just before the exit, a glimmer of hope. Under a long canopy, squashed together, were hundreds of people seeking refuge.
I approached the crowd, emboldened by the prospect of a ruined phone, and asked, “Excuse me, does anyone have a plastic bag?” Nothing. No response, unless you call staring blankly a response. I keep it moving. It’s a big crowd, bigger than any crowd I’ve ever spoken too– remember I said hundreds of people. I ask again, “Excuse me, does anyone have a plastic bag?” Nothing. I add, “I don’t normally look like this.” One person chuckles, everyone else is dead inside. I keep moving down the line, my friend walking alongside me but far enough to deny association if questioned. Again I ask. Everyone stares. “I don’t normally look this hideous, please does anyone have a plastic bag?” Nothing.
You mean to tell me a bunch of suburbanites with children have no plastic bags to spare? I see you fuckers in the grocery store putting your single items into plastic bags. I know you’ve packed up juice boxes and grapes and Cheerios. I know you stopped for chips and Lunchables before you arrived.
It all came to a head when a DOUCHEBAG teenager, with a look on her face that said I was the grossest human she’d seen in her life, pointed her phone at me. I can’t remember the last time I’ve wanted to rip someone’s hair clean out their head. Oh wait, I do remember, but I wasn’t soaked with rain then, and my eyes weren’t burning, and my clothes weren’t plastered to my body, and my phone wasn’t in danger. She was playing with fire. It’s also possible she caught my threat to her life on tape, but I’m okay with that. Cash me outside, howbow dah?
Finally, after walking through ankle-deep puddles, we made it to the parking lot… only to realize we had no clue where we parked the car. We wandered between cars, lost and laughing at ourselves, for many minutes before we stumbled onto an oasis in a sea of cars– a tent full of people barbequing. Surely these people would have a plastic bag what with all the hot dogs and hamburger buns, chips and soda. “Excuse me, is there any chance you all may have a plastic bag to spare?” The first man starts looking around for a bag and is literally stopped in his tracks when one of the women in the tent gives him a death stare. Scared shitless, he can’t even muster up sounds but puts his hand up in a gesture that says, “No, we have no such thing for you here. Please keep it moving and don’t look at me any longer than you already have. You’ve done enough damage already.”
As we’re turning to leave, a second guy (with a bit more spine) offers us, through a faint whisper, an empty hot dog bag. I swear he looked like one of those shady characters selling stolen watches from his coat in a dark alley. We thanked him quietly and kept it moving. See that stupid teenager, who will in all likelihood go on to live a bitter, joyless life, I’ve still got it.
After 20 minutes in the parking lot, we found the car and drove home pantless, still laughing at all the weird humans in the world.
It’d mean the world to me if you followed me over on Instagram.
Tonight’s Lit Talks: I heard a fly buzz– when I died- by Emily Dickinson Instagram Live 8pm est.
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?