Highway Robbery

Last we left our hero, she just had her first ever front-facing car ride in the back of a stranger’s car on the way to Baltimore’s impound lot with Daddy the week before Christmas to try to get Mommy’s car back and pick her up at the New Carrollton Metro so he can have this uncomfortable conversation in the livingroom with a much different context. If you haven’t read that part (The Kindness of Strangers), I recommend it, but far be it for me to tell you how to spend your time.

..continued from before

Kelly had just dropped Mabel and I off at the impound lot and refused to give me her phone number or email address or twitter handle. I assumed at the time that it was because she wanted me to know that this was purely an act of kindness, not to be repaid in any way. But it’s also possible that despite my panicked sobbing on the streets of Baltimore and my daughter and wedding ring, that I still appear as that much of a creeper to women. Regardless, I didn’t have any of her info. Which would have been fine had I not left the baby bag in the car.

Now I’ve got problems. Up until this moment, I had the baby seat and enough food, diapers and pacifiers to last at least a long weekend if necessary. But now I had a starving baby who would likely soon run out of the patience she summoned from her mother’s genetic side. Upon noticing this, I ran back out of the dingy, dirty impound office to see if it had taken Kelly over seven minutes to navigate her way out of the lot somehow. It did not. She was gone.

I ran back inside to see if I had put it down and forgot. Nope. I ran back outside to see if Kelly was circling around back. Nope again. Still gone. My only hope was to wait for her to find the bag in her car and bring it back. Damn my creeper haircut.

The panic lasted at least 10 minutes as I was waiting for the impound jerkwads to enter my info into the computer. Oh yeah, I got there before my car. Then I finally noticed that I had the bag on my shoulder this entire freaking time.

I am truly surprised how horribly I panicked in this situation.

So I was able to feed Mabel while waiting for the jerkwads to do whatever they needed to do to get my $300 and allow me to get my car and leave. We were stuck in this tiny room that reminded me of the bathroom from Saw with between two and four other people. I was taking up both chairs; one for her baby seat because there was no floor space, and the other to sit on so I could feed her. Once again, people understood. And stood. Thank you, kind people of the Baltimore impound lot.

We were stuck in this position for about another 45 minutes and despite being exhausted, Mabel never fell asleep. But she also never cried. Again, she must get that from her mother. When I finally had to pay, I needed both my arms to sign the paper. The lady behind me offered to hold my baby. She seemed nice enough, as I have already indicated. But Mabel’s car seat was right behind her and didn’t have scary-looking fingernails that might poke, scratch or frighten my precious 5-month-old child. For some reason, I didn’t want to offend this stranger I didn’t know. And ultimately, I wanted her to feel that she helped me out. So I gave my baby over to a kind-looking stranger for 15 seconds. Why the hell not? I just rode in a car with another stranger for 15 minutes.

We got the car back and Mabel was asleep before we left the lot. We made it back 15 minutes late which was not too bad considering. In the comfort of our livingroom, with her favorite meal which I had just cooked for her, I broke the news to my wife. She was a lot more understanding than I remember her being. Maybe she could see I was shaken up. Maybe it was the tilapia, rice and steamed yellow pepper. Or maybe people just wanted to be nice to Mabel and me today. But this conversation was the perfect surprisingly positive nightcap to my evening. Thanks to all involved, especially my forgiving and patient daughter. This thanks, of course, is not extended to the jerkwad that wouldn’t unhook my car from the truck.

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