Why does this type of thing always happen to me???
It started out tamely enough. Alan and I have been switching off, taking one child out per week for some Mom or Dad time. This week it was my turn, and I was taking out 14 year old Emily. A nice, sedate evening, I thought, compared to my previous “kid-date,” with 9 year old Erin, which included feeding ducks in the park on a freezing cold night when all sane parents probably had their 9 year olds tucked into bed already.
I didn’t reckon on the fact that Emily was a child that I had raised. We did have a rather sedate dinner at Marie Callendars, despite the fact that I borrowed Alan’s Mustang and was sorely tempted to speed all the way there. On the way home, however, I mused aloud that I had read that the waves were supposed to be 18 feet today. “MOM!” Emily shrieked. “You have to turn this car around! We have to go look!”
Never mind that temperatures were in the low 50s. Besides, I reasoned, we could stay in the Stang with the heater on. Down to the Manhattan Beach Pier we drove, but upon parking, I was informed in no uncertain terms that sitting in the car was not the way to experience 18’ waves. Okay, well, the waves were not anywhere near 18’, but still. So we got out of the car. I’m British, I reasoned, I can take a little cold. It was then that I was sadly reminded of how long it has been since I actually lived in Britain.
Emily found a scarf in the back seat, which I graciously allowed her to wear, hiding my envy rather well, I thought. Then I remembered Alan’s propensity for disaster preparedness. “Let’s look in the trunk!” I exclaimed. We popped it open and looted to our hearts’ content, finding a sweater, a jacket, another scarf and a baseball cap that said “World’s Greatest Dad.” I got the scarf and the jacket, she got the sweater and the ball cap. By the time we finished stashing our finds under and over the coats we were already wearing, we looked like a couple of snowmen. But we were warm, boy howdy, and ready to brave the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Down to the end of the wind-swept pier we trudged, not really caring about the strange looks of passers-by, partly because we knew we were warmer than they were, and partly because our funny bones had kicked in and we were enjoying the situation with increasing hilarity.
However, you have to understand that I suffer from a strange sort of Pier-Induced OCD. Every time I am at the end of a pier, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to throw something valuable, like my keys, into the water. This night I had to work double time at resisting the urge, because I had my cell phone in the other hand. So this, coupled with the awful smell, the bracing wind and the fact that Emily and I, given any period of time alone together, will generally reach great heights of hilarity, contributed to the fact that by the time we left the end of the pier, we were quite giddy with success and marched back toward shore, chatting and giggling loudly, oblivious to our unshapely profiles.
A man was walking up the pier towards us, but I thought he looked a little strange, so I avoided eye contact. Emily, however, looked right at him and caught him rolling his eyes at us. A few seconds after we passed him, something clicked in her brain and she burst out, “MOM! That was Kevin Costner!”
When we got home, she looked up a picture of him on the web and confirmed that yes, that man really had been Kevin Costner. And there I was, looking like Frosty the Snowman, accompanied by my equally well-padded daughter sporting a “World’s Greatest Dad” hat.
Why can’t I run into famous people on good hair days, or on those days when I fit into my skinny jeans? Or perhaps when I’m doing something amazingly talented and impressive? No, I run into them, inevitably, when I am behaving badly or just plain looking weird.
Still, the evening wasn’t a total loss. After our run-in with the Famous Person, we went down to the sand to lie on our backs and look at the stars (I think our bodies were numb enough not to feel the cold at that point). Just before we left, we saw a shooting star and exclaimed at length and quite poetically at its beauty. Well, okay, we said, “Oh my GOSH!” in unison and then asked each other repeatedly, “Did you SEE that???”
And when our parking meter had finally run out and we were forced to go home, we turned on the radio just in time to catch the beginning of the song “Lowriders,” which I hated when it first came out in the 70s, but which seemed at this point to be the perfect song to blast all the way up Manhattan Beach Blvd., windows rolled down, heater blasting, lamenting over our less-than-fortuitous brush with fame and consoling each other with the thought that we really didn’t put much of a premium on movie stars anyway.
But you know that the next three or four times I go to the Manhattan Beach pier, I’ll make sure my outfit is stunning.