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What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Catherine’s return home for winter break has meant certain adjustments. We are getting used to the strange hours she now keeps, and having to share everything again — the TV remote, the bathrooms … and the two cars.

Yesterday, the effort went awry.


Having finally returned home late yesterday afternoon — with one of the cars — after sleeping at a friend’s Sunday evening and hanging out with a several girls all day yesterday, Catherine announced she was going to the gym and then going out again. Bill wanted to grab a beer or two. Having been in the house all day without a car, I was determined to get to yoga.

A plan was hatched.

Catherine would drop Basil at the local watering hole, then go off on her own. I would pick him up after my class or else he’d walk home. Text-messages would be used if any of us were to deviate from the scheme.

I went to yoga and tried to get my mindfulness on. Checked the phone afterward. No message from Basil, so went home. Checked the phone before getting out of the car in our driveway to find this message: “Not walking. Car 2 me.”

I replied that I was on the way, stuck the key back in the ignition and headed back out in the night. Texted him when I arrived.


Watched several families and couples leave the place. Others enter. Cars come and go.

Dialed his phone a few times. Went to voice mail each time.

“Where R U?” I texted.

His reply confirmed I was at the right place.

I waited some more, texted again that I’d been waiting outside for 10 minutes.

“Kk,” he said.

I don’t know what possessed me to move my gaze at that point, but when I did, I was looking AT OUR OTHER CAR, parked ever so nicely two spaces away.

Catherine must have made arrangements to leave it with him, then had one of her girlfriends drive. Somehow — telepathy? — I was supposed to know that.

Mustering all the peace and calm I’d spent the previous hour trying to cultivate, I put the car in drive and headed home.

This morning Basil confessed he hadn’t actually read all my text messages. He had tried to tell me that he didn’t need a ride. The rest were apparently the technological equivalent of the deaf ear he turns when I speak around the house.

I told him that in the future he could walk.

Photo: Simon Huggins/Flickr

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


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