October 28 13

I come from good, strong stubborn stock. From pretty much every side of my family. And as a gift, I have passed it along to 2.5 of my children. The jury is still out on the boy, but the girls are just about as stubborn as they come. For the most part, I am thankful for this streak within me. It’s the reason I have been successful in so many ways, and in my mind, stubbornness and persistence and perseverance are all better qualities than the alternative—being plain old vanilla. Sometimes, though, it gets the better of me and the consequences make me wish I was just a wee bit more agreeable.

Let’s take The Great Les Miserables Debacle of 2013, shall we?

I had tickets to take my firstborn to see this play. Honestly, after a really horrible re-entry after getting home from my trip—read: family drama, read: work drama, read: kid drama, read: health drama—it was the one thing that was really soldiering me forward. “Well, this sucks, but at least we are going to see Les Mis!” “Well, I have spent most of today crying, but Les Mis!” Emily was equally excited, and it is this thing that we share, this play. I took her to see the movie, only after properly schooling her in the recordings of several productions of it. We share a lot of the same opinions: it’s sort of weird that Fantine and Jean Valjean just die of “something” but no one ever tells us what they die of, Russell Crowe was a very poor choice, and “Eponine’s Errand” is our favorite part of the entire production, even though it’s basically just a 6-line song. “That bourgeois two-a-penny thing!

The play began at 7:30 and we were well on the road by 6. Plenty of time, which is good because I hate to be late. Maybe even enough time to stop for a much-needed caffeine pit stop, since the show was well over three-hours long.

And here’s where The Stubborn comes into play.

Him: You should use Waze. It’s the only app to use, really. Remember that time you were almost late for the first day of Emily’s shoot? (TRANSLATION: Something I didn’t want to be late for) And you called me in tears that the GPS took you on a road that I would have told you never to take during rush hour and that the GPS is kind of a dumb jackhole?

Me: Yes, but Waze drains the battery on my phone.

Him: But you have a plug in the car.

Me: But then it gets too complicated. I don’t really like complicated.

Him: Use Waze. TRUST ME.

I didn’t trust him, or Waze, of course.

And used my GPS, assuming that she’d guide us all the way to the Princess of Wales parking lot because THAT WAS HER JOB.

But she took me on the Allen.

Where we sat.

And sat.

And sat.

And I watched our arrival time change from 6:30 to 6:45 to 7:05 to 7:15 to 7:24 to 7:31.

Taking a highway that you can’t get off of once you pass the point of no return and realize that you’d made a terrible mistake is pretty crappy at the best of times.

But when you have somewhere important to be? When you have precious and excited cargo in the back? When you are uncomfortable with downtown parking?

Insert Total Ali Meltdown here.

In tears, we finally made it to the Princes of Wales parking garage. Well, *I* was in tears. And I was sweating too.

Lot full.

We found another one close by.

Lot full.

Finally we found a lot that only took coins and we had to dig beneath the seats of the car to find enough change to equal the $15 we had to pay for parking and then motor over to the theater, late.

We made it to our seats by the beginning of At The End of The Day, only tripping over seventeen people.

I felt like I had failed my kid. It was truly and completely my fault. Allowing the GPS to lead us into the colossal parking lot known as The Allen At Rush Hour. Allowing myself to completely lose my mind and my cool in front of her. Allowing us to be late for this very important date.

But, I looked over at her face during the performance.

And I felt her squeeze my arms during the teary bits. (It’s always Empty Chair at Empty Tables where the waterworks start uncontrollably dripping down our faces)

And I saw her smiles during intermission.

And I knew that she’d already forgiven me before we even got there.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.30.09 AM

So I’ve forgiven myself as Miss Emily is no worse for wear and we had a wonderful date night, just the two of us.

But I’ll never forgive my GPS.

I’m just stubborn that way, I guess.

  1. I’m like a man and hate asking for directions. Even in foreign countries on our trip, I would be like “no! Let me just look at the map and I’ll figure it out.” Because the street names were in Hungarian or Czech, so of course that would make it easier.

    Basically what I’m saying is, I totally understand.


    ali replied on

    I’m totally okay asking random strangers for directions, interestingly, I’m just stubborn when it comes to learning an entirely new battery-sucking gps app…when my actual gps should be doing her job. Grrr. Frustrating.

    But I”m laughing thinking about you wandering aimlessly through Europe :)


    Kristabella replied on

    I was not wandering aimlessly. I always had my map!

    And when in doubt, that’s why I added International Data to my phone so I could use my phone and Google Maps.


    Comment by Kristabella on October 28, 2013
  2. So glad you made it Ali – I totally understand your
    passion for this musical and the desire to have your daughter see it too!! I have seen it so many times, London, Montreal (twice) and countless version on DVD, and the not-as-good movie version (with Russell) but the (live) musical is my absolute FAVORITE of all.
    I can even feel how panicked you must have been knowing she’d miss the beginning – but looks like it all worked out.
    I learned long ago to TRUST my man when he tells you which directions to use/follow .. hope you learned your lesson LOL.


    Comment by sarah on October 28, 2013
  3. OH THE EVER LOVING ALLEN – it’s my nemesis. Glad you girls had a great night, sorry to hear about the drama. xo


    ali replied on

    I may have vowed to never take the Allen going south ever again…


    Comment by Louise on October 28, 2013
  4. This post made me cry! I feel your pain, and your disappointment at arriving late for something so important. But the happy ending made me very happy for you guys. Glad it was a great night, despite the stress getting there. xoxo


    Comment by Loukia on October 28, 2013
  5. I don’t like being late either. I’m glad that you finally made and enjoyed the show. Les Mis is my all-time fave musicals :)

    p.s. I use Waze and nothing else….eventho it sucks my battery too :(


    ali replied on

    I used Waze yesterday to get to and from Emily’s downtown audition. It was amazing, I will admit…


    Wendy [mapsgirl] replied on

    Glad Waze worked for you. But I’d much rather hear how the audition went :) Good luck to her!


    Comment by Wendy [mapsgirl] on October 31, 2013
  6. Did I ever tell you about that time when I was driving to a job interview in the US and got lost? I drove around Detroit Tiger stadium for hours. And of course there was no way in hell I was pulling over in Detroit to ask for directions.
    I say that the sweat and panic was worth the experience that you both shared together. Love it. I think that I would much rather preferred a live performance. And yes, Russel Crowe was a weird choice.


    ali replied on

    oh my god! The same thing happened to me when I was in high school driving to a college interview and got lost in Cabrini Green (read: NOT A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD)in Chicago! OMG.


    Comment by Kimberly on November 1, 2013

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