How does one find oneself in the parking lot of a retail store eating yogurt with a fork in her car?
Not a cup of yogurt, mind you, but a dinner-sized yogurt-fruit-granola parfait. And the store was appropriately, in this case, named Hobo, which is what I felt like huddled in the front seat, wondering whether an officer would come knocking on the window asking what the hell I was doing.
What I was doing was improvising. The day hadn’t gone exactly as planned. My well-thought-out plan was this: a morning lovingly sending my daughter off to school, followed by a productive work day, a quick but efficient treadmill workout, a healthy bite to eat in the campus cafeteria and a lovely evening with the ladies in my book club.
My work bag was packed, my gym bag was packed, my lunch was packed and for once, I had mapped my route to my evening location (conveniently located just two miles from my office yet somehow still requiring Google support).
A messed up Monday is what happened instead: A quick hug as I shoved my daughter into her classroom as the bell rang; a conversation on the street corner with another mom that left me walking into the office 10 minutes later than expected; and a slew of impromptu meetings that left the to-do list on my white board untouched and me with an hour to run and wash off the stink in the campus locker room.
My run was derailed, however, when having already stripped off my sweater, I found myself rummaging half-naked through my bag. Clothes, check. Towel, check. Makeup bag, check. Running shoes, nowhere to be found. It was probably for the best since my head was raging and my body felt like a limp rag.
With a newfound hour to fill, I headed to Hobo (think Overstock.com but in a giant, kind-of creepy warehouse) where I felt a bit foolish returning two robe hooks totaling a whopping $3.51, but hey, money’s money. I wandered aimlessly until finally heading to the car where I debated between eating the already prepared yogurt that remained in my lunch bag and finding a sub shop. I also debated a nap, but sleeping in a parking lot seemed like pushing things a bit too far.
My rare bout of frugality won out and even the lack of a spoon didn’t deter me from chowing down with a fork in the front seat—without even turning on the car despite the cold temps. Extreme fatigue had set in, and perhaps a slight fever.
A smarter person may have simply gone home, but I persevered and learned a valuable lesson. No matter how well you plan, sometimes shit just doesn’t work out. That’s when you need to improvise.
In the end, I had a lovely evening of conversation with friends—and thanks to my aimless wandering through the cheapskate store, I’m now the proud owner of a 100-foot garden house, which means I can now wash five months’ worth of winter grime off my car.
Things always have a way of working out.