Thursday, November 19, 2015

To the Mean Girl at the Car Wash: Bless Your Heart

Disclaimer: I do not usually dedicate blog posts to mean, hateful people, mainly because there are so many people out there who act like mean idiots these days, I would inundate you with post after post after post after...well, you get the idea.

But yesterday took the old proverbial cake. This car wash incident raised my eyebrows and kept them raised like I had a bad face lift all afternoon. Allow me to explain: I was out and about, running errands and trying to cross about a zillion and two things off my to-do list. My poor car still has remnants of muddy tailgate lots on the tires, and so I pulled into my local 7-Eleven for what I hoped would be a quick car wash. I entered the queue line behind the building and sat there behind four other cars. And waited. And waited some more. After five full minutes and not a single bit of forward movement, I decided that my schedule did not allow for this nonsense. But a car behind me had me blocked in.

I rolled down my window and tried to get the driver's attention, to no avail. I (wrongly, as it turned out) assumed that the girl behind the wheel simply did not see me, and so I put my car in park, got out, and walked back to her car. In retrospect, the story is even more enjoyable when I remember that the fringe of my ankle boots was causing added spring in my step, but I digress. I tapped on her car window and when she rolled it down, asked in my most genteel, polite tone: "Could you please back up so that I can get out? I don't want to wait in this line, so I'm just going to go."

And this person harshly replied, "I could, but I won't. Since you were rude and cut in line in front of me to get to the car wash, I'm just going to sit here."

I started to explain that I was reasonably sure I did not cut in front of her, but thought better of it. Instead, I said, "I'm sorry. But if I leave, you can have my place in line." I noticed that mean car wash girl was now vehemently shaking her head no and giving me The Hand In Face maneuver. I tried reason: "So, you would rather sit and wait for me to go through the car wash than back up a foot and let me out? You would have my place in line once I leave?"

"I sure had. I'm not moving anywhere, just because you want me to." This is what the girl said, in the nastiest tone of voice I assume is typically reserved for negotiating with terrorists or telemarketers.

"Wow, what a kind gesture. Thank you so much. I hope your random act of kindness comes back to you at some point today," I said, in my most drippingly sarcastic, sugar sweet voice. My fringe boots and I turned and headed back for the car.

My story doesn't end there. But before I tell you how this near road rage incident came to a conclusion, I'd like to say a few things to that mean girl behind me in line at the car wash:

Bless your heart.

When I walked up to your car to ask you to back up, you were not only ignoring me out of spite, you were also plucking your eyebrows. In public. I'm not sure if anyone's ever told you, but that is a personal grooming habit that really doesn't need to happen in the bright light of public day. And when you snarked at me, you and those red, angry brows were quite a sight to see.

Bless your public grooming, overplucked eyebrow-loving heart.

I couldn't see your license plate, but I have a pretty good idea by the way you spoke that you were probably not raised in an environment where things like Southern hospitality or manners were stressed. Nor were things like patience, civility, or anger management.

Bless your ill-mannered, short-tempered heart.

Based on the fact that you were not aware that cars driving straight have the right of way (me), not cars making left turns (you), I'm going to also assume that no one took the time to teach you much about the rules of the road or driving. Sadly for you, however, my mother spent hours working with me before I took my driver's test. She also made sure I mastered the art of a very tight, confined space 3-point turn. Which is why my heart lept with joy when I walked back to my car and realized there might be a way out of that car wash line after all.

Oh, the look on your blotchy, just-plucked face when I backed my car within millimeters of yours, turned that steering wheel for all it was worth, and executed the most magnificent 3-point turn of my entire driving career.

Bless your enraged, defeated, out-for-revenge heart.

And when I pulled out of that exit, honked my horn in victory, rolled down my window, flashed you my biggest smile and called out, "Thanks again! Have a blessed day!" and you gave me the the finger, I want you to know that I only thought one thing:

Bless. Your. Heart.

I hope you at least got your Honda Accord clean. And maybe your rage under control.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Clemsoning (And Loving It)

For those of you who may not be familiar with the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being a Clemson fan, let me only begin to describe to you the spectrum of euphoria, heartbreak, triumph, and tragedy that one goes through on a weekly basis. Like many college football fans, there have been numerous times so horrific that the only mantra we can muster is, "next year." I have been known to describe Clemson football as a prince charming type, who exists solely to catch your eye, make your little heart go pitter patter, show you just enough attention to get you hooked, and then only call or come around when you are about to give up on him and move on with your life. Clemson will give you just enough to ensure that you keep coming back for more.

The dreaded term "clemsoning" came about after a particularly disastrous Orange Bowl game in 2012, which resulted in Clemson losing to West Virginia 70-33. Over the last several years, clemsoning had come to mean screwing up in a monumental way, embarrassing oneself in a truly spectacular and public fashion. I supposed you could say Napoleon clemsoned at Waterloo, for example. Clemsoning: the stuff that makes grown men cry. Until this year. As of today, my Tigers are 9-0 and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit himself has declared clemsoning a new term to mean kicking butt and taking names. We are redeemed. We are celebrating. We are--dare I say it--optimistic?

This weekend was the last home game we will be able to attend, and it was a big one. Clemson needed to beat our nemesis Florida State in order to secure a spot in the ACC Championship game, and also,mercifully, to bury the idea of clemsoning. It was an interesting day, to say the least. Campus was filled with nervous energy and you can could feel the excitement all around. A week of heavy rain filled the area with five inches of rain in just five days and made tailgating an adventure sport not for the faint of heart. We wound up in a scenic spot down by the Seneca River on campus, conveniently situated on a 45-degree angle.

We went minimalist because of the weather conditions, but this looks picturesque, right?

Until you consider the *slight* incline we were on. Hold on to your cups!

Thankfully, we had a few minutes of drizzle but the rain never showed up. I'll tell you who did show up on Saturday, though: my long lost friend, Jodi. Jodi and I lived next door to each other in the dorm my freshman year. Through the miracle of Facebook, we reconnected years ago, and had kept in touch but still had not seen each other in person since fall 1996. Over the summer, reading my blog about Duke's mayonnaise, Jodi decided she was more than a little homesick for the great state of South Carolina and so she bought tickets, loaded up her family, and drove down from Chicago. 

Reunited with this girl after 19 years...and we picked right up where we left off (which means with plenty of sarcasm).
Never underestimate the power of mayonnaise.

At this point, it had already been a great day in the life of a Clemson Tiger--decent weather, time on campus, seeing old friends. But it was game day. There was people watching to be had as well. Believe me when I say everyone really dressed for the occasion. Note to self: add "adult tiger onesie" to Christmas list.

First, there was this guy, who was pretty much mobbed with picture requests.
I thought he was a true original, until....

Lo and behold, I saw a pair of Tiger onesies entering the stadium.

Last but not least, I don't want to forget these diehards who were hanging out at the Esso Club after the game,
as comfortable as could be.

The game kicked off at 3:30. There were 83,099 fans packed into Clemson Memorial Stadium, also known as Death Valley. And this game was a nail biter. It was loud and frenzied...and fantastic. My Tigers were dressed head-to-toe in orange, and they had something to prove.

Our seats were above all this action, but having the fans spell out #clemsonfamily was fantastic.

Spoiler alert: the Tigers beat the Seminoles 23-13, which means they are coming to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game in December. Game days are always fun, but this one was special. 

Singing the alma mater after getting the win.

Clemson was voted the number one team in the nation on Sunday according to the Associated Press poll: the first time that has happened since 1982. I guess you could say we really are clemsoning right now--and loving every minute of it.

See you in Charlotte, Tigers!