Self was about to start grad school at Stanford University.
Dearest Mum went with her. We did a jaunt to LA and stayed with a distant relative in Glendale.
The relative’s name was Lucy. She was living with an American guy named Bob. She drank a tall glass of green liquid every morning, she said it was good for you: pure chlorophyll.
Self tried a bit and it tasted disgusting, the consistency of mucus.
One night, Dearest Mum and self returned to Lucy’s home to find it dark, locked, nobody home. We drove around for hours, just waiting for Lucy to show up. This was the era before cell phones, so the only recourse we had were to use payphones.
Dearest Mum spied one in front of a liquor store. She said, Get in there and use the phone.
Self said, What? No! It’s a liquor store!
Nevertheless, self being a very obedient 21-year-old, she got down from the car and used the payphone that was right in front of the entrance. Dearest Mum remained in the car. When self turned around after making a series of fruitless calls to Lucy, she saw that a car had pulled up right next to Dearest Mum. Two men were inside that car, staring intently at Dearest Mum, who was clutching the steering wheel with both hands. Self would call that “a white-knuckle clutch.”
Whereupon, self jumped back into the car, Dearest Mum va-voomed out of the parking lot with screeching tires, and we drove around and around for two more hours, until we were pulled over by a policeman.
The policeman walked over to Dearest Mum’s window and shone a flashlight straight into her face.
What is it, Officer? Dearest Mum coo-ed in her sweetest, most girl-y voice.
Ma’am, we pulled you over because we thought you might be drunk.
What? Me? Drunk? Dearest Mum’s voice dripped outrage.
Well, the Officer said, I see you’re not drunk, Ma’am. But here’s the thing: me and my partner have been following you for a bit because: A) You braked on a green light; B) You switched lanes in the middle of an intersection; and C) This is the fourth time you’ve passed this corner.
BWAH. HA. HA. HAAAAA! Self had to assume her best poker face during the exchange.
Now I’ll tell you what, Ma’am, quoth the cop. You see this big intersection right here? You make a left at that intersection, and you keep going, and you keep going, and you don’t stop until you see this big hotel, and you wait in that hotel for your friend to get home.
Self doesn’t know why it never occurred to her to share this story before.