Margot wants to get to her birthday party while texting & driving in a fog. It goes badly.
Late for The Party
"Hey Teenie. That $300 is mine! I can even smell it! Last one to the terminal is a....Tadpole, Ha!!"
Tad Ortez heard from his trucker buddy Willison on the CB. "In case you forgot, my handle is 'Teenie Weenie Bikini' and don't you forget it. And this bikini will get there before you. You'll be stuck in the granny Lane! And by the way, nothing irritated Tad more than being called "Tadpole". Why do I let him get under my skin?....
"Eat my shorts you Bean-Popper!" Tad knew that Willison used speed pills to stay alert.
The bet was on. Tad could feel his smooth and responsive Peter Built 18 wheeler. She was eager for the highway. "Don't need no beans tonight, Willison responded. "All I need is my K-Whopper. I'll be waitin' for you at the terminal. I just love counting money....Tadpole!"
It was time for pedal to the metal. Call me fuckin' tadpole, Tad grumbled to himself. He'll eat those words when I get there first. What a worm....
Tad knew this stretch of Hwy 30 on the Columbia River like it was his own neighborhood. Every tavern, every stoplight told him how close he was to the terminal. But not tonight. He couldn't see squat in the dense fog. Yet that $300 was already burning a hole in his pocket.
A night on the town for Jenny and me real soon. Oh, how I want to show her a good time. Keep movin! he told himself. Get past this fog and blast away. Ham hocks & butterbeans and Jenny across the table! HeeYaw tonight!
A truckers life on the road resulted in one divorce already. Tad was determined to not disappoint another woman by being out of town so often.
Don't back off the hammer tonight. The gas pedal felt limber and responsive to the engine. I'll get home. It's only fog..... Keep movin!
"Feeling the weight of guilt now forever released. It's no longer there. Notice how light you feel." Margot Green, Cht. was near the end of this therapeutic hypnotherapy session for Will. She let him sit with the subconscious journey he had just completed. Insights, releases and receiving blessings from above to contemplate.
Normally there would be no hurry. before bringing them back to everyday awareness, but not this evening.
"Let innocence fill you. Feel innocence. You are innocent now. Receive it fully....." She let Will feel this for a moment before counting him back up from his hypnotic trance.
"And remembering everything you've seen, felt, and heard on your healing journey. Coming up now. I am counting from 1 - 5. At the count of 5 you will be here fully returned to my office. All right 5....4....3
Notice your body. Notice your feet....2....and 1... Up all the way."
It took a moment before Will opened his eyes. "Oh boy. I knew that I had been carrying some guilt, but this..." Will was still remembering how guilt got started during childhood. "Phew! Guilt ruled my entire life!"
"Till now," Margot smiled. "How do you feel?"
"Like a huge weight has been lifted. But I had to forgive myself first. Right?"
"Sounds like you know the answer already. And, I hate to rush things but, I need to get going. It's getting foggy out there. Are you fully returned?" Hypnotic subjects must be fully 3-D oriented before driving.
"Yeah. I just feel so different. So light. Wow." He faced her directly now. " I want you to know that this feels life-changing. I can't thank you enough."
"See you next week. OK? Take Care." Will slipped into a windbreaker and departed.
All right, Margot reminded herself, Pack up everything you're gonna need: briefcase, purse, rain gear.....smartphone. But the office phone was beeping red: You have four messages. OK.... after all, it's a weekend coming.
Phone machine playback #1 Beep - "If you hypnotize me can you make me bark like a chicken? Ha!"
God how I hate these stupid calls. Ever since I placed that Yellow Page ad for hypnotherapy services. I don't do stage hypnosis.
Fog seemed to threaten her safe arrival at Hoyt House. But in the foreground of her mind were other matters: Finally setting the wedding engagement date with Josh.
Beep... "My name is Katie Smith. I can't wash my dishes. It terrifies me to touch the sink! My blood runs cold to even think about it. My kitchen is such a mess like you wouldn't believe. The landlord wants to evict me. What can you do to help me?"
She will definitively take up more time than I have to give away right now, Margot reminded herself.
She gazed through the October window panes of her office, noticing the growing fog.
Beep... "When I return from hypnosis will I remember anything?" Now that's an easy one to answer.
First on my to-do list.
Beep... "Hi uh. My name is James R. Watson, Jr." He paused to clear his throat. "I'm calling you about the possibility of getting false memories. If I'm under hypnosis with you, can you place a false memory in me? I just want to know more about how all this works."
He sounds a bit too concerned about false memories. A lot more to his story no doubt.
But Margot had eminent matters at hand. I'm just going to get on the road tonight before the fog gets worse. The gang at Hoyt House is waiting for me.
And her guts told her: Get moving. Really soon! They say that drivers tend to speed while driving in a dense fog. She felt a grab of anxiety. No! Focus Margot!
This was not pea soup yet, but bad enough. She longed for the comfort of her own apartment watching TV. But not tonight! Party time for the "Birthday Girl"!
Her best friend, Lauren, spent all day preparing Hoyt House. The old Portland two-story Victorian on northwest Hoyt Street still held its charm in spite of flaking paint and lose woodwork around the old windows. On windy days the glass panes even rattled.
The "Late Margot Green". That's what they call me, I know, and for good reasons. But not this time, dammit!! The scolding's she received as a kid for being late lingered inside. Shoelaces just don't cooperate with fingers of a seven year-old. They just wouldn't stay tied!!
And there was Margot's middle school principal Bill Butler, known as "Bill Butthead" by all the students. He never handed out compliments and often criticized certain students publicly. "You'll even be late for Judgment Day, Margot!", he would announce publicly.
The whole notion of Judgment Day and heaven & hell was foreign to Margot. Her parents were definitely Woo-Woo types. Crystals and incense. Prayer flags and chants. Her father, Darwin, always called Margot his Indigo Child. That made her feel special, but she didn't know exactly why.
Margot remembered her mom and dad rambling on about the latest New Age discoveries as if she was listening. Not... But Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles... They were awesome! They meditated to find answers. They practiced astral projection and made contact with the dead. Cool....
That was a lot easier to swallow than, 'There is no time and there is no space.' From an early age, Margot recognized that peculiar accent from India. Boring.
One notable breakfast morning had been blazed in her memory. Her father had been attending EST. conferences for several months.
He blurted out proudly, "I'm finally alive! I'm an asshole! It's wonderful!".
Margot and her mother stared at one another briefly. Did we hear him right?
"What's so great about being an asshole Dad?"
"I just felt dead inside until I admitted to being an asshole. So I'm an asshole. Wonderful! It's made all the difference...."
"Hugh?" She could not believe her ears.
"You'll understand this when you grow up."
Margot looked at it. "I don't know if I want to grow up if it means I have to be an asshole."
Her dad Darwin considered this. It reminded him of that old saying: "From the mouths of children comes wisdom."
Adult Margot moved the shift lever into reverse. Backing out of the parking lot, she watched carefully for oncoming traffic from left and right. In the distance she could almost see the Hwy 30 onramp. She entered 927 NW Hoyt street Portland, Oregon into her Nuvi GPS.
Driving and texting Margot...how stupid. Choosing to ignore that inner voice, Margot just couldn't contain herself. She and Josh agreed to set the date tonight. We might have a Christmas wedding!
How do people do this texting thing: Press the right keys while driving. For her to actually text, she needed a stylus. Nevertheless, Margot braced the iphone on the steering wheel just so. Alright. Thumbs ready.
Look up, Look down and press the right keys. "OK Margot, watch out.", she said out loud. It always helped to give voice to her anxieties. A bit of self coaching might be in order. "Hope other drivers can see me." She wanted to be seen better in the now dense fog, so she set her headlights to bright, only to be faced with wall of whiteness.
Margot dialed Josh and thumb texted "Shud it be in dec?" She was imagining herself in a light blue long dress for the wedding.
Ting! Margot's cell phone announced a new text. It was from Josh. 'umm... i just need more time. Lot to think about. just need mor tim"
Look up. Look down and press the right keys. Look up. Look Down and press the right keys. God, I hate this, so scary. And the fog... Then she texted, "think about? what?"
Josh merely replied: "I just need mor time."
About to double over, She felt his words punched her in the gut.
Look up. Look down and press the right keys. "How much mor?"
With the dead weight of emotion hanging in her gut, Margot slowly merged with traffic toward the barely visible Hwy 30 onramp. She knew the value of verbal self coaching. "Just keep the same distance from the guardrails and I'll be fine. Watch for driveways too and pedestrians Margo."
She could feel her clammy palms sliding over the steering wheel. Rubbing them on her pants did little to absorb the dampness. Her shoulders now knotted tight. Oh for a massage.
Il call yu nxt week"
Next week! Look up. Look down and press the right keys. Looking down is so scary.
"Wt r u saying?" Look up. Look down and press the right keys.
Oh where is the send icon? There it is. Margot guts grabbed at her with each thumb-stroke.
Look up. Look down and press the right keys.
"i lv u margot but..."
Look up. Look down and press the right keys "r u calling it off?"
Fuck! It's gonna be a white knuckle drive tonight. But I have three hundred bucks waitin' for me if I get to the terminal before Willison. Tad could imagine Jenny's face brighten. 'A night on the town! Really? Oh when?'
Tad had been watching two dim lights in the distance. Could be tail lights, he told himself. But, far enough away... "Keep movin' Tad", he told himself.
God, how I want to be good to Jenny. Better than that clown she was married to. Violent bastard! Gotta calm my nerves. Where's that new pack of menthol's dammit?
Like many truckers, Tad had developed multitasking skills. Watching the fog blanketed road, Tad felt around the console for the yet unopened pack with his right hand. I should have opened it before I got moving, oh well. Just pull off the wrapping with my teeth.
He began chewing away till that tantalizing aroma of a freshly opened cigarette pack filled his nostrils. There's nothing like it. Using his knees to steady the large round steering wheel, he smacked out a lone cigarette and put to his lips.
Where's the damn lighter now? Pay attention Tad! With his left hand he grasped the steering wheel and felt confident enough feel around with his right. But the butane lighter slipped out of his fumbly fingers and fell down to the floor of the cab next to the accelerator.
Now he really wanted it!. He punched on the interior light. There it is, gotta orange color. Just reach down but watch the road Tad. He slipped his wedding ring finger around the lighter and slowly pulled it up from the dark floor. We're OK. Just flick it and light the cig.
But in the dimly lit cab focusing the flame on the cigarette tip required both eyes. Just long enough to miss those two dim lights that seemed far enough away a moment ago. Now they were glowing snowballs thrown his way and soon to hit the windshield.
"What!! Oh no! Oh no!" Tad dropped his now lit cigarette and slammed his weight onto the brake pedal. Truck tires screamed as compressed air slammed the brake pads in place.
Grasping the steering wheel with sweaty hands he turned his semi sharply to the right. Maybe I can avoid a direct hit and just end up in the ditch.
But he knew what was coming: That ain't gonna work. I can't stop this truck in time! The enormous 18 wheeler practically devoured the Honda civic as it smashed into it t-bone fashion. After careening over the top of the little car, the enormous semi came to a stop.
Tad released his seat belt and looked down. Oh God no! God no! God no! Opening the truck door, he almost fell the eight feet between him and the blacktop highway. But he carefully picked his way down. Feeling around with his boot he found purchase on what was left of the driver's side window beneath his semi. Jumping onto the blacktop, Tad landed on both feet.
He peered into the front seat of the Civic and saw the driver's crushed body, now lifeless. Oh no! Oh shit! Oh God! What Now?
This ain't real. It can't be real, Tad repeated to himself. Succumbing to bodily tremors he attempted to dial 911 on his flip phone. Damn fingers won't hold still long enough! Gotta dial 911. Can't see no more with tears in the way. No night on the town for me and Jenny now. His finger pads finally landed on those three important keys.
Look up. look Down....Look up. look Down. Did he get my text? What's that? A blasting truck horn. Margot felt a powerful jerk. Oh the windshield....
A long sense of quiet filled the now imaginary little car. I must have been daydreaming, she told herself, but for how long?
Then she heard a calm voice. "Look up Margot."
Oh shit!! Stay on the road! Margot gasping now: No daydreaming allowed! Where are the road lines? Terrible visibility. Glad that there's not much traffic tonight. And by the way, whose voice was that?
Margot's GPS: "Recalculate ....Recalculate "
I just can't be late again. It's my own birthday party. Come on Margot speed up. The highway is so quiet. I'm barely moving. Margot felt around for the gas pedal.. How fast am I driving?
The dashboard was a blur. Is the speedometer broke? Just stay on the road Margot. Play it safe. You'll get to Hoyt House on time, she tried to convince herself.
Where's my cell phone? I should call them. I'll be late. This fog.... She felt around the console and tried to poke fingers into familiar cubby holes. No luck. But to avoid getting rear-ended, she chose to not slow down and pull over. Even that was scary. Where are the guardrails?
The eerie quiet from outside her car was somehow audible. I should be past several stop lights by now. What happened? This is like driving through water! I wonder what time it is. Is that a police car?
Coming at her all too fast was an Oregon patrol state cruiser, blue lights flashing, siren screaming. It was followed by an ambulance, it too screaming. "Can't they see me!!" Without slowing down, the cruiser got closer and closer, intent on a head-on collision. I can't serve out of the way!!
In a flash the patrol car and ambulance were behind her, leaving her gasping. Phew! How did they miss my car? They could have killed me! Margot felt shaky.....then moaned: "All I want to is just get to Hoyt House in one piece and not be late."
GPS: "Stay on the illumined road. Stay on the illumined road."
"I would if it was illuminated!" Instead of fog, now Margot noticed a grey misty atmosphere. No sounds. No feeling the damp cold outside. Her hands still tightly gripped what seemed to be a steering wheel.
Don't be late Margot. Hurry up! Without understanding how, she found herself at the front door of the old Victorian house in Portland's old town.
Talk about a white-knuckle drive! Phew! I don't ever want to do that again. So grateful I arrived safely, she concluded. Thoughts about Josh were lead weights around her heart.
How did I get here anyway? Am I dreaming? No time for deep questions....Ring the doorbell. Margot could barely push it. It's so stiff. Must be rusty.
Deciding to use the door knocker instead, Margot's fingers passed through the heavy hinged metal. Next, she knocked and pounded on the wooden door as best she could, resulting in nothing. She looked through the bay window and waved. Puzzled at the lack of response from those inside waiting for her arrival, Margot stepped around the blooming azalea shrubs surrounding the bay window. She wondered at their lackluster blossoms. They should be fed better fertilizer. Lauren and Bob never were very earth-connected.
Reaching up through damp contorted azalea branches, she rapped on the old glass windows. That seemed to get Lauren's attention.
Finally! Margot hurried back to the front door to be let in. Laurel opened the door and peeked around. Then promptly closed it in front of the birthday girl's face.