Several years ago, I was a court reporter, reporting depositions and public hearings around the Pacific Northwest. Since I didn’t work for the State, these proceedings didn’t take place in courthouses or major cities. We’d go to whatever town the witnesses lived in and set up our laptops wherever we were directed to be. We might end up in downtown Seattle at a plush highrise law office, or just as likely be set up in a basement apartment in Dufur. Freelance court reporters learn to travel light and to expect the unexpected.
One winter day, I got an assignment for a deposition in Rhododendron, Oregon, a small town in a mountain pass somewhere on Mt. Hood. (I’m not being vague. I just never found it.) This was 2004, after paper maps, but before GPS, so I MapQuested the directions. Simple enough, according to Mr. Quest. Go up Lolo Pass Road for several miles, and you can’t miss it!
At the base of the road, a heavy chain was strung across the entrance (in my defense, there was no actual sign saying CLOSED). Since I’m basically a pleaser and MapQuest said to take THIS road, I sighed, but hopped out and pranced across the snow skiff in my stilettos to unhook the road block, and proceeded on. After several sloooow miles up (and up and up), the road seemed to be getting narrower and snowier. As I peered out of my windows in the eerie quiet, on my left, the snow-covered mountain was going STRAIGHT UP, and on my right was a deep forested ravine going STRAIGHT DOWN. In answer to Kenny’s Big Question later that day (“AT ANY POINT did your brain say “Gee, this probably isn’t a GOOD IDEA??”), yes, it did occur to me to try to turn around, but by this time, that was no longer an option. The road was barely the width of my car. And since I can’t back straight out of our driveway without taking out half the begonias and an entire row of underground sprinklers, backing up on this curvy, steep road was dumb even by my standards. So I kept driving. Up. And up. And up. Some miles later, my car plowed headlong into a snowbank and stopped. Well, crap.
Having a fairly good idea of how Kenny was going to react to this latest adventure, I briefly considered walking the rest of the way, but since I was wearing a skirt with pantyhose and 3″ heels and I was essentially buried under 6 feet of snow with no idea how far away Rhododendron actually was, I conceded defeat and called Kenny, who showed up 2 hours later with his dad and a tow truck, both men yelling and waving their arms about dumb blondes and finding my body in the spring and WHAT WAS I THINKING???, while Dad hitched my car to his truck and, with Kenny steering my car while they both drove BACKWARDS, they slowly towed my little car back down the hill.
It’s been 9 years now, and every time I get another one of what Kenny calls my “Stupid Ideas,” he looks at me and says, “Lo. Lo. Pass.”
“C’MON,” I wailed, after a recent Great Plan was squashed like a cockroach by yet another reference to Lolo Pass, “Golfers get one of those Mulfords, or Melanies, or whatever they’re called.” “Mulligans,” he replied. “They’re called Mulligans.”
Yeah, I want one of those. A Life Mulligan. A big, cosmic “we’ll just pretend this never happened” do-over. Show of hands to anyone else who could use one. Someone? Anyone?