After a long grinding week of work, juggling schedules, family activity and what seems to be nonstop carpooling, I took myself to a matinee to see the film Gloria Bell. After pulling into the dark, underground lot, I parked beside a dark car with darkened windows and noticed they had forgotten to turn off their headlights. I felt bad knowing they may return to a dead battery, but who hasn't?
Me and five other people in the theater quite enjoyed the film, there was even applause. And per usual, I wept tiny tears. Dark, empty movie theaters seem to be the place where I like to cry because it happens all the time. I'm guessing because 1) I'm alone 2) No one can see me 3) I see movies with characters resembling actual people, their problems and struggles. Also, Julianne Moore.
For example, I've seen Still Alice at least five times. Weep every time. I cried in The Kids Are Alright, The English Teacher, The Hours. I cried in Crazy Stupid Love! I see everything Julianne Moore is in, and every time I cry. I even wept in Hannibal.
Oh, as a side note, I have a story about that movie as I played a big role in changing the ending. There is NO way Julianne was going to run off into the sunset with Anthony "cannibal" Hopkins. Here is that-- No to Hannibal.
In any case, I returned to my car and noticed this poor person's headlights were still on. Maybe they were seeing two films. I felt so bad. I thought the right thing to do was, at the very least, to see if the car was open so I could turn the lights off.
I peered into the back window and noticed a purse and sweater. My eyes were fixed on this purse, with all the possibilities running through my mind. Did this person just take her money, but left the purse? What woman does that? No one I know. Had she gotten to the theater, and realized no purse, but the movie was about to start so her companion paid? I assumed she wasn't alone like me because I also notice two coffee cups in the console holder.
Then I thought, jeez, someone could steal this purse, sitting there so vulnerable. I ought to take it and give it to security, they could find the rightful owner and all would be well.
Just as I noticed the car was idling, the front passenger window cracked open. An angry man was staring at me, aghast.
"What the hell are you doing staring into my car? What do you want? Step away!"
I was completely startled. "No. No... let me explain When I arrived, your lights were on and I noticed they still were and then I saw the purse.... but then realized..."
"What? That someone was in the car. Get the fuck out of here."
At which point even I realized how crazy I sounded and any further do-gooder explanation was simply making me seem worse. He rolled up his window and I got into my car.
As I was about to press the ignition button, I noticed a phone charging cord hanging from the dashboard and various Scientology pamphlets on the passenger seat and realized this wasn't even my car. Not even close. I drive an SUV and this was a Honda sedan. I was so flustered I had just jumped in without looking. Weirdly the door was unlocked.
The man is still looking at me. I sheepishly slink out of the car and head down toward mine.
He cracked his window again.
"What the actual fuck, lady!"
Okay, it wasn't Henry Cavill, but this was his EXACT facial expression.
I pick up my pace, then sort of jogged toward my actual car, in sandals, which is why I tripped in a kind of kick the cement action, smashing my big toe. But no matter. Was I even on the right floor?
Finally, there it was, my car, a good block down the corridor!
Prius man, and rightly so, must have thought I came to parking lots and just rifled through cars all day long. He was probably calling the police!
In my defense, it was dark, I was wearing sunglasses, I had just come out of a dark film filled with dark scenes in disco bars, with people wearing dark clothing dancing under mind-altering lights. I was disoriented.
I quite liked the film, loved Julianne Moore but was all in my head about the plot. Why did she like John Turturro? Was she that desperate? Where was her daughter-in-law? Was her ex still in love with her? Who got married? I still don't know.
I was wandering around the parking lot in a film synopsis daze. A Julianne Moore dancing daze. The song Gloria was still blasting in my head.
But still, how could I have mistaken this idling car, a Prius, with two people sitting in the front seat, to the car that really was next to mine: an enormous, empty Flex?! Nonetheless, these things happen.
Dark, right? ^ ^ ^ ^
I, fortunately, had a podiatrist appointment to deal with various issues I had developed with my toes due to having been a long-distance runner while in college. In any case, the timing was good, so I stopped thinking about Mr. Prius Man.
During my podiatrist session, my doctor addressed the stubbed toe, which was fine but he seemed gravely concerned with something else.
"Your left foot is so swollen."
"Oh?" And it was.
He went on about how he'd seen this before and sent his patient to the ER and by golly he was right. The ER intervention prevented her from dying due to a blood clot. He told me it could happen to me.
"That is ridiculous. I don't have a foot clot. If it's still swollen on Monday, I'll go to my doctor."
"I wouldn't wait. You'll worry all weekend. I'd go to the ER now."
But I wouldn't worry. I wouldn't even think about it. Then he said:
"Better safe than dead. You're not 35 anymore."
"This kind of thing you have to take seriously once you're over a certain age."
"Okay, thanks doc."
He handed me a slip of paper to give to the ER.
I had no intention of going to the ER or even to my own doctor, but "better safe than dead" kept going through my head... to the beat of GLORIA.
Sure, I was over a certain age whatever that age is according to my podiatrist. But I'm also incredibly healthy. I mean I hike on average 20 miles a week and make healthy green shakes every morning (with my Ninja, which I still love in case anyone was wondering).
Anyway... after relaying this story to the father of my teen children, who repeated the "better safe than dead" narrative, he eventually convinced me to go.
I don't like the ER and haven't been to Cedars since I had my daughters 16 years ago. Anyway, it wasn't bad, very few people... was in and out with a lot of laughs.
Have you been on an airplane for over eight hours? No.
A car? Oh, YES! Carpool.
I told the doctor just to amputate the fucking thing because now I'm missing my Saturday night routine. Which btw, is none of anyone's business.
After some tests, no blood cot, no nothing.
Doctor: Well, it has been hot.
Doctor: I would suggest you cut down on the carpool driving. Sitting in a car for hours, especially in the heat can become a potential clot situation.
Me: Can you write a doctor's note because I would love nothing more than to get out of carpool!
So all in all, everything went well. I saw a lovely film, spent time with one of my favorite actresses, had my feet fixed up so I could receive a proper pedicure just in time for beach season, and had some laughs in the ER. Most importantly, now I have a rock-solid reason to get out of my dreaded carpool.
Rhonda Talbot weighing in on Gloria Bell, Julianne Moore, blood clots, emergency rooms, podiatrists, potential car theft, carpools, and sunshine.