Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Voodoo Incident.

I wrote this last April but never published it.  At the time, it had been an insanely frightening and frustrating event.  For sheltered me, raised in small town VA and forbidden to drive downtown as a teen because Roanoke was obviously such a scary place...well, The Voodoo Incident was gigantic.

But that was early last year.  I feel I've experienced a thousand new and unsettling moments since then. I can look back and laugh now. But the point I make at the end of this little story is still just as important today as it was that warm night in April 2014.  I need to hear it in my own journey right now.

I am leaving the writing as is, unpolished. I wrote it in about an hour...the day after...so it is rough. But it's honest.  Here's to still learning lessons everyday.  Enjoy.

The Voodoo Incident

In an attempt to be a good and hip mom, I agreed to take the girls on a late night doughnut run downtown last night, after youth group. Onnie had a newspaper assignment profiling the famous, Portland-come-to-Denver establishment on East Colfax...Voodoo Doughnut. Since our church is on East Broadway, it seemed a ten pm sugar high was appropriate.

The place was busy- I've heard they are always busy. The doughnut selection is fun, diverse and presented in glass spinning towers. The place is funky, cheap, open 24 hours, and very ultra hip...the workers are tattooed and pierced, nice and slightly intimidating. Cash only, and there's an ATM on site to prove the point. I'd be a little afraid to try to pull a debit card out, honestly. “NO DOUGHNUT FOR YOU!”

We drove around a bit, looking for a parking space. East Colfax at night isn't the easiest place to find parking. There was a lovely empty lot almost exactly behind Voodoo...a dentist's office deserted for the night. We passed it once, there was one car in the lot. We slowed a second time, another car was there, and the girls talked me into parking. I didn't see obvious no parking signs and we were honestly only going to be in Voodoo for ten minutes- Onnie will take pics, we will order deliciousness, pay and leave with our sassy pink box.

You know where this is heading, right?

Our experience in Voodoo was fun and silly and I swear we were high off all the sugar fumes. We laughed back down the street, around the corner.

We all saw the lack of our van at the exact same instant.

Onnie didn't believe and ran forward, thinking perhaps that we were deluding ourselves and had parked elsewhere in the lot.

“Mom, our van is gone!”

Of course it was. So were the other cars. I suddenly noticed all the towing signs posted everywhere.

Ever notice how ignorance can morph into clarity quickly when the stakes are high?

Our bewilderment turned to annoyance, anger, despair...and for sweet Ainsley, fear.

I made calls. Found out our ten minute doughnut jaunt was gonna cost us $288.

Not including the doughnuts.

I was angry and felt very incredibly pathetically stupid. Who gets towed anymore these days anyway??

Apparently all the people illegally parked in the lot in front of us, too. We watched it all as we waited to be rescued and taken to our van which was now located in the creepiest and shadiest section in all of Denver- the factory district at Brighton Blvd and I70.

The fact that all those other people were in the exact same predicament as us was little consolation.

Onnie kept mumbling to herself over and over, “We aren't homeless” every time people passed us. Maise realized shorts and a t-shirt don't cover nighttime weather in Denver in April, regardless of the daytime temps.

And Ains? She was freezing and very concerned that gang members were going to kill us. She was shaking and telling us off every three minutes.

Of course, that didn't happen. Ron came to rescue us and we got the van. I've decided having a towing company and trolling parking lots for stupid people's illegally parked cars is a very lucrative business. I'm checking into it...those people make bank.

Is there a point to this story? Sure.

I learned where NOT to park in Denver.


I also learned that life happens and we make it through. Life is now and we can either show up for all of it- the good and bad and bewildering and the crushing and the exhilarating- and feel it completely, knowing we will indeed make it through...or we can opt out completely. There is no in between. The beautiful moments are only guaranteed as much as the terrible.

Sure, we could have avoided the towing last night. But we also would have missed the fun and laughter, and those amazingly good doughnuts. It was about the best doughnut I've ever had.

Here's to our $300 box of Voodoo doughnuts...but not really.

Here's to life. All of it.


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