Years ago, a very close friend told me she is convinced that my life is a sitcom, and we are all just playing the parts that are written for us. She continued on about no one being able to actually have this much drama and comedy in their lives unless it was made up. So it became a running joke, long-running still many years later, that my life is a sitcom.
Something like that old movie The Truman Show with Jim Carrey, but with a humorous spin. Other people in my life (the show) get their scripts and know what’s going on. But me? I’m just living it and trying to survive. Like Truman, I wasn’t aware it was just a show.
But after she pointed this out, I began to notice times when it truly felt like it must be sweeps week or something. Like the amount of drama or the hysterical absurdness of life in those moments could not be reality, and had to be the result of a bunch of crazed writers sitting around a table saying, “Let’s see how she gets out of this! The fans are gonna love it!”
We’ve even joked throughout the years about popular characters being brought back, plot lines that seemed to follow current events, and cliché characters that needed to be written off the show.
It’s been fun sometimes to realize that we’re doing a crossover with the Travel Channel or some wedding show. And thankfully, we’ve never done a crossover episode with COPS or Celebrity Rehab.
As funny as this storyline is, and as far as we have been able to take it and apply it to my life, it has also become somewhat of a coping mechanism. If I am having a particularly bad day, I will joke that it must be a high ratings day. If I am stuck in traffic for an abnormal amount of time, then those stores along the road must have paid high product placement or advertiser fees.
If someone really hurts me or makes me angry, my friends will comfort me by saying how upset the viewers must be and how the ratings will soar. I actually had a friend tell me one time that she didn’t want to travel with me (in real life) because she was worried she may become a recurring character (in my imaginary show life) and she didn’t need that much drama.
Even now when things start to get completely crazy around me, I find myself thinking, “Oh, wow. We must be on camera. And me without my lipstick on and my hair not combed.”
Take this morning, for instance. Dr. Smooth is attending a state conference for the Technology Student Association. We had to be at the hotel this morning for a 7am event. Now, in case you didn’t know, I am NOT a morning person. I believe God made sunsets because not everyone wants to watch it rise. So to be ANYWHERE before 7am is a bit of a stretch.
And I may as well admit that I am ALWAYS late. It is one of my biggest faults, struggles, defects, whatever you want to call it. I am notoriously 10-15 minutes late. No matter what I do.
Dr. Smooth, on the other hand, is meticulously on time. And to say that it irritates him for his mother to be late when he needs to be somewhere is an understatement of understatements.
So I had planned to leave the house this morning at 6am for the 20-30 minute drive to the hotel, arriving no later than 6:30am for the aforementioned 7am event. Piece of cake.
Do you realize at what ungodly hour you would have to get out of bed in order to leave your house at 6am? Do you realize how unfair it would be to have a dog wake you up by throwing up in the bedroom exactly one hour prior to that?
Let’s face it. If something wakes you up a couple of hours before the alarm, you can usually go back to sleep. But when you lay back down and see that the alarm will go off in 45 minutes, it ain’t happening. I should have just gotten up and gotten ready right then, because sleep was done.
Even so, we actually left the house on time at 6am. (you thought I was gonna fall back asleep and oversleep, didn’t ya??) And I must admit, we left on time largely (fully) because My Knight got up and made breakfast and helped get out.
I asked Dr. Smooth if he was nervous about the competition. He replied he was only nervous that we would be late. I scoffed at the idea and carefully explained how much time we had to get there and how that was plenty more than what was needed.
We pulled into the hotel parking lot at 6:28, a full two minutes ahead of schedule. Dr. Smooth refused to admit he was impressed that Mom pulled that off.
As we headed across the parking lot to the convention center, he remarked that only five hotel rooms had lights on against the dark sky. This should have been a noteworthy observation, but it was early and I was happy to be early and we just kept walking.
We entered a completely deserted convention center, and for just a moment, I wondered if the zombie apocalypse had actually happened and we were the only survivors. There was not another living being in sight. (No dead ones in sight either, just to clarify). We wandered through the hallways, scanning the marquees for any sign of the 7am meeting.
His advisor was not answering her cell phone, but we had a schedule and a map with us, so we pulled it out to match it to the directional signs on the wall. Oddly enough, there were no rooms listed on the wall signs that matched the name of the room on our schedule.
We kept walking. Soon we had traversed the entire length of the convention center, and we were ready to open the wide double doors into the hotel lobby. For just a moment, my overactive imagination ran ahead of us, and I envisioned that we would open the lobby doors and find it completely deserted with only music playing a haunting tune in the background. (Maybe a Walking Dead crossover episode???)
I turned to Dr. Smooth and said, “I feel like we’re in some alternate universe where we’re at the right hotel but no one is here, or we’re at the wrong hotel, or we didn’t set our clocks right or something.”
“It’s weird,” he said. “Are you sure this is the right hotel?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I asked her if it was the same Doubletree we were at before and she said yes.”
Luckily, there were other live human beings in the lobby, so we were able to find a hotel phone and ask to be connected to his advisor’s room number. The operator asked me to confirm the name before calling a room at 6:30am.
The name on the room didn’t match. He said there was no one in the hotel by that name. I gave him the other advisor’s name. No one by that name either. I gave him the name of the school. The name of the convention. He said he couldn’t pull up room information by that and he needed the name on the room.
I was running out of time and options, so I tried her cell again. She answered.
“It’s the Doubletree we were in last time, right?” I asked.
“Yes!” she answered enthusiastically.
“The one by Universal?” (where we stayed year before last.)
“NO!” she answered. “The one by SeaWorld.” (where she stayed a few years ago, but where I never stayed.) Ahhhhhh. Communication is a lovely thing. Until it breaks.
We rushed. We ran. We hurried as though the zombies had spotted us and we had to make it back through the convention center without being eaten alive. (Need I tell you that Dr. Smooth was not happy with me?)
We drove at the highest possible legal speeds (maybe a smidge over) to get to the correct hotel. It wasn’t physically possible to be there before 7am. But I tried.
When we finally found it, (after two u-turns, because why on Earth would any part of this trip be easy at this point?), we found this hotel to be bustling with people and filled with lit guest rooms. Stark difference.
I called the advisor to say we were there, ask where we needed to be, and express my deepest apologies for the mix-up and being late.
“Oh, you’re fine. Calm down. Come up to the room and catch your breath. He has three hours. He just has to be in there by 10am.”
I got up at what time, and he has to be here when????
And at moments like that, it’s honestly helpful to say, “Oh wow. We must be on-camera right now. I hope my hair looks good and this skirt doesn’t make my butt look big. ‘Cause you know the camera adds 10 pounds.”
Those silly writers of mine. I’m sure they got a good laugh over this one. We’ll get her up early, allow her to actually get somewhere early, tease the viewers with a Walking Dead crossover feel, then make her late, and then when it’s all said and done, she’ll actually have plenty of time.
I hope my viewers are happy and the ratings are good.