My father has a car. He is well into his late 80's, can't see very well and doesn't drive. But, he has a car. It might have something to do with the fact that his last name is Carr. Makes as much sense as any other reason. But, for the most part, my sisters and I don't have it in us to tell him that he doesn't need a car. Depending on how you look at it....we are either wimps or loving daughters. Probably both. In any case, it was time to have my father's car inspected. As with most folks of his age, he is quite set in his ways. To that end, he only permits certain mechanics to work on his car. So, we worked out some elaborate scheme to figure out how we were going to have it dropped off and picked up at some little garage that sits midway on a road that is closed. It is situated across a one lane wooden bridge that looks like it may collapse at any time. Enough said. Our scheme depended primarily on Carmen's schedule. As anyone knows, my husband's schedule is as dependable as winning big in Las Vegas. But, with me on house arrest from my lap banding, one sister living well North of us and my other sister not able to drive 2 cars at once, he was the only option. Things started out well. Carmen had been in Akron but had been able to escape without delay. Things progressed nicely. He pulled into the driveway a little earlier than planned. But, as I surveyed the situation, thanking the odds, one problem loomed. He was on the phone. That was never good news.
Fast forward this story and we had no one to pick up my dad's car. So, I volunteered. This sent shock waves across phone lines. But, with no choice within reason, we had to settle on my sister dropping me off to pick it up. For the sake of safety, it was decided that it would be best if Toni (who turned 16 on July 1o and still does not have a permit to drive and never even sat in a driver's seat) should accompany me. That went well. It calmed a lot of nerves....strangely enough.
For anyone who knows me, they know I have no sense of direction. In fact, the entire Carr clan is plagued with an inability to tell left from right. I use my rings to figure out which is which. When Carrs are in a car together, we say "turn my way" or "turn your way". Like I said, the road where this garage sits is closed. But, there is a detour. My sister gave me the directions using the words "left and right". But, we failed to realize that I was not wearing my rings. So, after making it safely across the wooden bridge of possible death, I just turned. I went the wrong way. After winding down the unknown road, I found myself smack in front of a T.J. Maxx. Finally, a known and beloved entity. Being on a liquid diet, I was in major need of a bathroom break. Knowing that I could find one at T.J. Maxx, I decided it was best I stop.....just in case there's not another bathroom within 10 miles on this stretch of busy retail stores and restaurants. As I entered the store, I immediately claimed a cart.....to carry my purse. Toni headed to the Juniors section as I meandered the aisles in search of the bathroom.
After emerging from the bathroom---which sits at the back of the home decor section--- I felt the great urge to "just look". Since I'm restricted from carrying, lifting or pushing more than 10 pounds, I was sure I would not buy a thing. Anyway, I needed to walk as much as possible to move the "gas" (not real gas....remember that) around. As I rounded the bend into the aisle with candles and stationary, I heard a voice call my name. Like a deer in the headlights, I stopped. There was nowhere to go. WHO saw me???? There I was....no make up, baggy clothes and my arms had track marks on them (my veins are hard to find.....). My manicure was past it's prime and my hair was sprouting dark roots. How did she recognize me? There she was.....an old friend. She was coming towards me. Slim. Lovely. So fashionably cute....as always. A friend from when we spent many long hours at the studio where our girls danced----rehearsals, costume fittings, photo sessions for the girls while we moms discussed diets and husbands and shopping. A wonderful, dear person. Three darling girls. A husband who is a semi-celebrity after having been featured on a national TV series about sports. As she approached, I felt the immediate need to explain WHY I looked so horrible....not to mention more than 60 lbs heavier than when last we saw each other. But, I didn't think that should be my greeting ("I know I'm fat but I just had surgery to fix that!"). So, I did the only thing I could do......I stroked her...... "Oh my gosh Jeanie!" I gasped (still wondering how in the hell she knew it was ME!). After some hugs and kisses, I said "You look like Posh Spice!" Which, yes she did. I would have NEVER really known what Posh Spice even looked like these days if not for the fact that I've never watched or read so many tabloid-type stories than I have this past week. We gushed over Posh's hair and husband. "I just love Posh. I am so glued to her every move. Do you REALLY think I look like her?" she said, touching her hair. "Yes!" I gasped...as if there was any question. Then, I said "Sooooo.....I guess you are wondering why I look like this?" So, I explained. At the end of that, she hugged me. "I am sooo happy for you!" Hmmmm. So, I continued, trying to explain my decision and catching her up on my diet adventures "well, you know, I did all the diets, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins....heck I even did speed." "Ohhhh, I love speed." she cooed. Well, geez, who doesn't? Now before anyone thinks I was "doing speed", I have to explain.....I was taking speed prescribed by a doctor.....for weight loss. But, yes, I loved it too. After a few more discussions, we bid each other farewell with pecks and wishes for luck and promises that we'd "do lunch" soon. As I was lingering in another aisle, waiting on Toni, I once again heard my Posh-look-alike friend's voice......she found me. In her hand, she had a bedspread. "Do you see green when you look at this?" she asked. I looked at it for a few minutes and decided that I did. "Yes, I do". "Oh no! I don't want green!" she stomped her foot. So, I looked at the bedspread again and started to ask a few questions. As we were discussing the problem at hand---it had too much green but the price was just too good to pass up.....Janie said, ever so sweetly......"So, do you have any speed?" Right there in T.J. Maxx in the aisle between the Junior section and the Plus sizes (I guess she knew just where to look for me) while we discussed the problems with golds, greens and taupes, my Posh Spice look-alike friend wanted to score some speed. Funny thing is.....I did have some....the prescription speed. Intimately knowing her pain, I promptly opened my purse and found it. I plopped it in her hand saying "I don't need it. If I do, I can get more." As if I'm a big time dealer......OMG!!! Janie looked so relieved. "You know I gained 12 pounds. I just can't tell you what my life has been like! Thank you!" she confided to me....right there in the aisle in between the Juniors and the Plus sizes. Sadly, I understood. Then, we finished our conversation about the color problems. Not sure if Janie ever bought the bedspread or not. But, she did manage to score some speed. Right there in the aisle between the Junior section and the Plus sizes at T.J. Maxx. And, I was the dealer. No money changed hands. I gave it as a gift....from one life long dieter to another. The two of us.....who live in lovely homes on tree lined streets with manicured lawns and SUVS parked in the driveways.
Toni soon found me, unbeknownst of the transaction that had just occurred in that aisle at T. J. Maxx. "What did you find?" she asked. I pointed to a bead covered box that I thought my sister-in-law would enjoy as a birthday gift and a few candles that smelled nice. "And, what did you find?" I asked her, seeing the pile of clothes in her hands. "Work-out clothes for the gym" she said tossing the items into my cart. "Good" I smiled as I headed to the cash register.
Maybe I think too much or analyze things to death. Or, maybe I just have too much time on my hands. Or, maybe I'm just at place in my life that things relating to weight loss and image and what lengths we will go to be who we want to be are at the forefront. But, I can't help but wonder what pieces of our lives and our self worth are connected to the number on the scale or the size of our pants. And, with that thought in mind.....I ask.....is my journey about these things or is it about more than that? Right there in the aisle at T.J. Maxx, I started wondering.
I have to stop here. The gas (that is caused by the air that they inflated my stomach with) has traveled to my neck and is causing severe pain. So, I am headed to a little Oriental massage place that just opened down the road. Maybe they can move my gas (that's NOT really gas) around. The last time Carmen was there, they made him remove his underwear. I will not. And, I'll cause a huge drama if they make me. The things we do in the name of a Size 10......