It was in the midst of summer break and an August heat wave. Everyone was baking. I had planned on staying right in front of a fan and window air conditioner, reading a light novel, when the service department at my car dealership called.
We’ve had a cancellation and can take your car. Can you bring it in late this afternoon?
Sure, but I’ll need a loaner. I grimaced at the thought of going out in the heat but my car was overdue for its service.
When I got to the dealership, there only one loaner available, a cute red convertible.
oh, what a shame.
I drove home and into the driveway as Sabra pulled up behind me.
A convertible? In this heat? Beach!!
We threw a couple of sweatshirts in the trunk — this is California weather, after all — jumped in and took off.
Let’s get Jane!
Jane had an out of state girlfriend visiting so we kidnapped both and they hopped in the backseat of the cute red convertible.
Do you want to grab a sweater?
Nah, it’s hot.
By the time we hit the freeway, top down, something had happened. Our hair was blowing wild in the wind, we were laughing and we were singing loudly, if a bit off key, to the songs on the radio from the 60’s.
It was magical. Suddenly, we were young, we were single, we were free of responsibilities, we were driving in our cute red convertible during an August heat wave and we were headed to the beach.
Jane started flirting with men in any car without a woman. We joined in the fun. The men were younger than our sons, but it didn’t matter. Most just smiled or ignored us, but a few waved, whistled and flirted back. We laughed and sang just a bit louder.
Let’s go to the Boardwalk!
The Santa Cruz Boardwalk has been there forever. The rides are legend and, here we were, four single women in a cute red convertible on a Hot August Night, getting younger by the minute and ready for fun.
Almost immediately we found a parking place with no meter. Things were definitely going our way.
Let’s go on the Giant Dipper…
Let’s get cotton candy…
We were right in the thick of things, the crowds, the excitement, the carnie barkers when, one by one, we realized something was amiss.
I was the only one with a wallet. It held my driver’s license and 32 cents.
Not one of us had brought our purses. Not one of us had a debit or credit card. We were four single women with a cute red convertible on a Hot August Night at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk with, after digging deep into our pockets, a grand total of $1.87.
It wasn’t enough for an ice cream cone, much less a ride on the Giant Dipper or cotton candy, so we pooled our funds and each got our fortune told by an ancient mechanical Grandma.
She wasn’t very good. Then we got hungry.
So we left, getting back in the cute red convertible with the top still down. We were midway over the hill when the heatwave suddenly broke. Fog and cold air poured over the mountain road, as is apt to happen in California. With nowhere to stop to put up the top on our cute red convertible, we froze. Even in our sweatshirts, we froze. The kidnapped pair in the backseat, without sweatshirts, huddled together, their teeth were chattering. The drive home seemed to take forever.
Sometimes reality can just be so cruel.