So then…my husband’s navigational system says: “Turn left here.” David looks at me smugly and smiles, proudly heeding the advice of his new car as he turns left with a flourish.
I admit: I am pretty impressed at this equipment that has talked us from our home all the way over the hills to the new house of our friends, Ted and Sara.
And before the system can say another word, we spot the valet parkers in front of our friends’ lovely new home.
The place is packed, indoors and out. Everyone seems to be having a good time and I can hear a jazz combo on the patio. David and I grab a couple crab puffs from a passing waiter.
I don’t see our hosts right away, but I see the gift table, so I add our offering to the pile of elegantly-wrapped gifts.
We have a couple drinks, chat a bit, and eat a few more appetizers. Then David says, “You know, I don’t recognize anybody here.”
I look around and, although these happy, animated couples could be friends of ours, I have to agree no one looks familiar.
Good grief, are we party crashers?
I ask a passing waiter, “Excuse me, have you seen…uh…the host?”
“Yeah, he’s in the back,” he says oh-so-helpfully and pushes through the crowd. (Argh — Couldn’t he have said the name of the host?)
David rolls his eyes at my failed investigative technique. He heads to the bartender with that “I’ll find out what’s going on here” strut, but I pull him back.
“Discretion, David. Wait here.” I head up the stairs.
“OK, ‘Nancy Drew,’” he says in a tone that I could swear borders on sarcastic.
So I conduct a brief surveillance upstairs and report back: “I checked out the family photos and no one even remotely resembles Ted or Sara.”
“Hasty retreat,” David mumbles as we hustle outdoors, trying to escape detection.
As the valet pulls our car around – yes, the deceptive, devious little car that led us so sadly astray — David asks whose house this is.
The valet says, “Ruth and Roger Perlman — 25th Wedding Anniversary. Why? Where are you supposed to be?”
As the other valets giggle (yes, giggle), I realize my housewarming gift is still inside! So while David gets the car, I run back in to get it.
Just as I reach for my gift, I lock eyes with a woman in a stylish silver evening gown who looks more than a little surprised that I’m helping myself to the gift table. I smile tentatively, then dash out the door to the getaway car.
So we make it to Ted and Sara’s, a few blocks down, where we are teased for our tardiness. David begins to tell the charming story of our mix-up until my swift kick to his right shin changes his mind. Discretion, David.
I hug our hosts, give them the gift, and head to the nearest bar. We drink; we eat; we have a great time.
Just as we gather to watch Sara and Ted open the gifts, the doorbell rings.
My heart skips a beat. What if it’s the woman in the silver evening gown? What if I had accidentally taken someone else’s gift that was wrapped like mine? Maybe it’s Ruth Perlman demanding the return of her 25th Wedding Anniversary gift!
Fortunately it’s just another tardy party guest.
I sigh with relief and vow never to take directions from a talking car again.
— Darcy Perdu
(Ever end up at the wrong party? Or led astray by a talking car? Perhaps Mapquest or Google Maps duped you? Share in the Comments Section!)