Thursday, May 24, 2012

Did I Tell You This One Already?

He's saying, "There's no reason to go home yet. 
My sources tell me your drug dealer neighbor is still hiding under the pool scum." 

I was getting my hair done today (don't hate me because I'm beautiful) and I was on my eleventy billionth story (because Sharon is very patient and didn't stuff a towel in my mouth) when she said, "Have you written that story down?" And I said, "Huh? What? You were listening to me? What kind of very patient kook are you anyway?"

But she was right -- both about telling you all the story of the dentist and the police and the drug dealer neighbor, and also about the patches of gold she wove into my hair.

Sharon is really good at her job.

So, one day, when we lived in Puerto Rico, I took all four of my kids to see the dentist. That's an adventure tale all its own that started with the traditional 'fake language barrier' and the 'pretend lost appointment booking,' and ended six hours later with my pantomiming the act of keying the car which had been deliberately placed behind my van by the snotty beautician in whose spaces I had apparently parked.

She had no idea who she was trifling with. She's lucky I didn't just drop my kids off in her lobby, tell them it was free hair gel day, and take a cab home.

At any rate, the hostage situation was finally resolved, and we dragged our exhausted and novacained kiesters away from there.

As we pulled onto our street, however, I saw several people wandering around the area, all dressed quite smartly, as though they had just attended a funeral or perhaps been grocery shopping. Puerto Ricans always dress smartly. We would go to soccer games wearing our shorts and t-shirts and sporting the standard American hairstyle of "shoved into a giant clip and ordered to behave itself," and the moms of the little Puerto Rican players would invariably show up looking as though they had just arrived from the Oscars. 

One of the problems created by these well-dressed street people was that someone had parked at the foot of my driveway. Sheesh. Keying two cars in one day? This was getting old.

So I rolled down my window and beckoned to one of the women. She came over, and I asked her if the owner of the car would please move it. She found them, and they did.

Then they all did more well-dressed wandering while I unloaded four kids and the umpteen bags of paraphernalia that had stood between me and throttling the living daylights out of the dental receptionist who refused to check our insurance coverage on the grounds that she was busy chatting on the phone with her sister. I probably should have told her I spoke Spanish, and that from the sound of things her sister's husband was a dud. 

As soon as we were all on the driveway, there was a flurry of activity in front of the neighbor's house. Suddenly the well-dressed funeral guests morphed into well-dressed police officers, all drawing their weapons and rushing the house, shouting menacing police words like, "Policía! Policía! Don't make us key your car!"

The woman who only moments earlier had bypassed the opportunity to invite me to leave the scene before the bullets started flying was now screaming at me to get my kids and myself inside the house. She backed this up by showing me her Dunkin' Donuts punch card, which she evidently thought was her police badge.

Ha! That was funny, huh? She didn't really do the donut thing.

Well, I will be the first to admit that I'm not real good in a crisis -- I'm more a second wave, 'drop off a casserole and tell you to call me if you need anything' kinda gal -- but even I knew that the last place my kids and I should be was inside the house that shared a wall with the drug dealer next-door neighbor.

So I hustled everyone back into the van, and drove off in the opposite direction of the drug raid. That's always a good direction, by the way. If you're lost in some inner city barrio or my quiet suburban neighborhood in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and you stop to ask directions and they say, "Well, just down the street we're hosting a lovely drug raid," my advice is to thank them and then head the other way.

On this occasion, I drove around the corner and parked. Once out of immediate danger, I was, of course, profoundly curious, and not a little hopeful that someone would lock that guy up -- not for peddling the snake oil he'd tried to sell us when we first arrived until he learned that my husband was a federal agent, at which point he went with the questionable marketing strategy of diving into the bougainvillea every time we pulled into the driveway -- but for letting his pool get all green and manky. Honestly, if you're going to spend a large portion of your time on the lam, assuming false identities to stay one step ahead of Interpol, then for heaven's sake hire a pool guy.

So I called my husband and asked him to call the local precinct and find out what was happening with the cops and the drug dealer neighbor, and then I drove around the rest of the block to see if I could watch him being dragged out of his house and arrested on chlorine violations.

Imagine my surprise, then, to discover that everyone was gone. Gone! Evidently my drug dealer neighbor was nowhere to be found, which is just shocking considering how stealthy the police had been, hanging out in front of his house for 20 minutes, fingering their guns and polishing their badges and perpetrating other sneaky cop stuff. So I assumed they'd trekked up the road to get their Dunkin' cards punched and brush out their mink stoles, and I headed for home.  

When I was maybe two houses away, David pointed up and said, "Hey, what's that guy doing there?"

Sure enough, they'd left a spare policeman, holding a rifle and waiting on our roof in case the drug dealer neighbor returned and had been struck blind while he was gone. The cop certainly wasn't making any secret of being on the roof; at one point I'm pretty sure he had a pizza delivered.

What could I do? I sure wasn't sticking around until Johnny Sniper decided to come down and borrow my bathroom -- or, in lieu of that, engage my neighbor in a high-octane gun battle.

So I turned around, drove back to the dentist, parked in the beautician's parking space, and got my hair done. And while I was there, I told her eleventy billion stories, starting with the one about the dentist and the police and the drug dealer neighbor ...

Ha! That was funny, too, huh? I didn't really do that last part. I think we went for donuts.


Kristi said...

I've spent 5 minutes trying to come up with a funny response to your post. Alas, I must be at my wit's end, because that's the best I can do. Anyway, thanks for a good laugh. I always enjoy reading your blog!

Kristina P. said...

I feel like you need to write true life "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. Whatever happened to that sex ed pop up book of yours?

wendy said...

ha ha,..I REALLY WANT the sex ed pop up book.
Yup, I think you could write a book of Humor, just around all your life's experiences...which my dear friend...ARE NOT NORMAL. (tee,hee)

My daughter is a hair dresser, and I can imagine all the stories she hears from her clients.

JoLynne Lyon said...

Funny! I got nothing clever, either, but I enjoyed the story.

Kazzy said...


Oh you and your international adventures! You and your hubby would be the perfect Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

Christine Macdonald said...

The Adventures of You! Love it. xo

Becca said...

sometimes i want to come live in your house.

Brittany said...

I think my daughters should come live with Becca at your house. They are always complaining about how boring my house is. Yours sounds a lot more exciting and I bet Becca yells far less than I do.

AS Amber said...

What's a "bougainvillea"? This was so funny! I think you've eluded to this story before but I'm pretty sure you've never told the whole thing.

I laughed right out loud when the dude on your roof ordered a pizza. Hahahaha!!!

Stephanie said...

DeNae, this is you at your very best. I love it!

Rebecca said...

I'm with Kristi, nothing snappy coming to mind. Probably because I haven't had my Sunday nap. But that's a great story! Can I send my bored teens to your house for the summer? Pretty please? I think that adventure tops the one where you were trying to get a license in Vegas. Does fun just follow you around?