Posted by mwallach on March 16, 2012 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere |

Dear That’s Life,

It is a fact that more than once I have started this column with the words, “Even for me: this is a good one.” While I might have believed that the last time I wrote it, I do not know why I tend to doubt the insanity of my own life. Each time something else occurs that tops the event before, I remind myself that this is why I have a column.

There are some pieces of clothing you buy knowing they will be a staple in your closet for years, with the versatility to be worn on a number of occasions. Such was the case with a dress I bought a few months ago that I adore. Its only downside is the zipper. It is quite small and somewhat fragile in comparison to the weight of the fabric. I understand it is intended to seemingly disappear, leaving an almost seamless back. Regardless, it is not strong enough and even early on, did not function perfectly.

Nevertheless, I wear the dress to death and it was my choice for a bat mitzvah I had last weekend. And like it had happened in the past, zipping it closed was a problem. (Note to all cynics: yes, it fit just fine.) Having asked my eldest to zip me up, she informed me that she could not get it to close about two inches below my neck. Already running late and eager to get in the car, I told her it was fine. As long as the clasp at the collar was closed, we would try again when we arrived at the party. I rationalized I was tall enough anyway that it ultimately would not matter if the dress did not close completely. With three of my children joining me and the rest of the family staying home, the four of us headed to Brighton Beach.

We arrived about a half an hour late but luckily found the perfect parking spot. Car in park, I hurried the kids out of the car only to remember the zipper on my dress. It needed to be tried once more. Turning my back, I asked my eldest if she could please finish zippering me up. She took one look and said, “Um, NO – no I cannot.” Perplexed, I asked her why. “Because the zipper is up THERE and it is open until THERE!” she said, pointing to my neck and the lower part of my back respectively. It seemed the zipper had finally split completely, leaving my entire back exposed, rendering it impossible for me to get out of the car.

While many women are comfortable with low cut, open back dresses, I am not. Besides which, this was not that kind of dress. It was meant to be closed. A wardrobe malfunction worse than I had ever experienced, I was now in a bit of a mess. I quickly asked my daughter to check the trunk and see if my husband had perhaps stowed a jacket or sweater. “You are going to wear his EMT jacket to a bat mitzvah?” she asked. At that point I would, I said, because I was in Brooklyn and could not get out of the car without having the world see more of me than I had ever intended. Unfortunately, I had no such luck – there was no jacket – and I was back to square one. At my insistence, the kids went inside to the celebration while I assessed the situation.

There seemed, at that point, to be two options. I could either go buy a new dress or drive all the way back to Woodmere. Either way, I still had to return to the bat mitzvah. Not only had I responded that I would be there and wanted to partake in the festivities, but my kids were there and needed to get home. I called my husband for advice. Once he stopped laughing, he agreed that those were indeed my only choices. “Why don’t you go into Flatbush and just get something in that store you like?” he said, only for me to point out the obvious. “How am I supposed to even get out of the car and get into a store?” I asked. “Good point,” he said, only to make some kind of crack about how my wide open dress would definitely attract attention in the heart of Flatbush on a busy Sunday morning. “I think you should come home,” he said, and I agreed. After texting my daughter as to the plan, I headed back on the Belt Parkway and returned home.

To complete my paranoia, I pulled into my driveway and walked into garage backwards in an effort to avoid glances from people on the street, lest someone get a glimpse of my unintentional exposure. The wardrobe change took just around five minutes – the beauty of having a closet filled with black dresses – and I headed back to the car. Hitting very little traffic, I arrived in Brooklyn with plenty of time left at the celebration. Unfortunately, the only thing that was missing was my parking space. It was gone and there was not a space to be found. I finally pulled up to a “No Parking” zone filled with parked cars, except for one available space. While debating whether or not to take it, a police officer approached my car.

“Officer, why are all of these cars parked in a ‘No Parking’ zone?” I asked, only to add, “And can I park here, too?” Checking the dashboards of the cars around me, he explained that they had special permits allowing them to park in that area while I, unfortunately, did not. In no mood to take “no” for an answer, I said, “But, Officer: I am already an hour and 45 minutes late to this bat mitzvah and you have to hear what just happened to me.”

In explicit detail, I proceeded to explain the entire saga of my dress. When I was done, he was in no mood to fight either. “Okay,” he said, “I won’t give you a ticket if you park here – but I cannot promise no one else will either.” Weighing my options, I asked him how much the ticket would cost should I get one. “Probably around $100,” he said. In light of everything, it was a chance I was willing to take. I parked the car and went inside.

As if this was not crazy enough, after I finally sat down at a table with a much needed plate of food, I noticed the same officer had come into hall. It seemed he and two other officers were invited to the party by the grandfather of the bat mitzvah girl. “Only me,” I thought to myself, laughing at my karma. Speaking later to the girl’s father, he asked if they were going to make it into the column this week. “Are you kidding?” I said, laughing. “You have no idea just how much it is about you.” We said our good-byes, went back to the car and true to the officer’s word, there was no ticket. And this, again, is why I write a column.

So, what did you do last Sunday?

As Seen in the South Shore Standard March ’12

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