Sunday, August 2, 2009
My name is...
Oh God. I. Am. Mortified. Well, I was anyway. I've kind of gotten over it now so I suppose that for the sake of grammatical, political and all other types of correctness, I should really change that to " I WAS mortified."
A bit of background. About 6 months ago, myself and 3 other cash strapped mamas decided to split the extortionate cost of a year's membership to the local wildlife preserve. Now, while it clearly states on their website that this sort of behaviour is against the rules, they don't actually do much to enforce it. They don't put your pic on the card or anything and and when you go there, all you do is sign a clipboard and BOOM! you're in. To quote just about every teenager who ever walked the planet, "Everybody's doin' it"
And to quote my mother, "You're not everybody."
And therein lies the problem...
You see, I couldn't remember whether or not I was one of the official cardholders. HOWEVER, I did know that my friend "C" was, so on the off chance we were stopped at the gate, I'd just say that I was her. Not that it would come to that of course, after all no one EVER gets stopped at the gate...
We got stopped at the gate.
There were two checkpoints. One of them was being manned by your average, run of the mill "I'm not paid enough to care" employee. This line up was moving at a rapid pace as one by one, customers either paid the equivalent of a week's groceries for their family's animal viewing pleasure or else flashed their cards, signed the clipboard and waltzed off happily to watch cheetahs maul a poor dead rabbit before grabbing a bite to eat.
Meanwhile, over at border patrol... I mean, the other checkpoint, things were moving considerably slower as one by one, would be patrons were interrogated by a grim faced guard who I'm pretty sure was sourced directly from immigration and who, from the looks of things, took her job very seriously.
Guess which checkpoint we ended up at...
I flashed my card and my brightest "Just another Yummy Mummy out for the day with the family! Nothing illegal going on here!" smile and looked hopefully at the clipboard.
She narrowed her eyes.
Dammit. I took a deep breath and looked her straight in the eye as I gave her my fake last name.
She looked me up and down and then past me to himself who had refused to wear his summer jacket on the grounds that the sleeve was dirty and instead had insisted on wearing his winter coat, complete with fur lining despite the temperature being in the high teens. ummm... yeah. Not dodgy at all.
"Spell it." WHAT?!?!?
I rattled off the letters of my new last name with what I hoped was the boredom of someone who had been spelling the name for years. I again looked expectantly towards the clipboard.
A hint of indignation entered my voice. How DARE she question my identity! How did she know I wasn't who I said I was? I wasn't of course, but she didn't know that! Well, not for certain anyways, she apparently had very strong suspicions.
"Full name as written on card?"
I gave my fake name and tried to keep the panic from showing in my voice. SURELY this was it! The people behind us were growing restless and you could almost see their ears straining forwards to hear what was going on. Would she not just grab the damn clip board already?!?!?!?
What else did she want to know? My date of Birth? My PPS Number? My favourite freakin' colour?
"And your address? "
Shit. My address.
"ummm.... I um... "
Desperately, I racked my brain, trying to remember "C"'s address.
"You see, it's just that we only just moved in..."
Oh my god! Were we about to get turfed from the park? Were they going to revoke our card?!?!?
THINK WOMAN!!!! THINK!!!! Wait! Wasn't there something about a bird? A crow or a.. a RAVEN! Yes that's it! Something about a raven!
"Raven something or other!" I exclaimed wildly, not sounding crazy in the slightest, " Yes that's it! Isn't it? Raven something! It's the first roundabout after the petrol station you see, you take a left and..."
She cut me off before I could give her explicit directions to "C's" front door and invite her in for tea. Her voice was patronizing as she explained the terms and conditions of using the season's pass and how only the cardholders "C" and Miss M....
WAIT A SECOND!!!!! Miss. M! THAT'S ME!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!! I AM ON THE CARD AFTER ALL!!!!!!
I adopted my best "between us girls" voice and leaned forward into the opening in the glass partition. My voice, I hoped, was suitably apologetic as I explained the situation and how I was only pretending to be "C" as I couldn't remember if I was on the card or not. I then proceeded to give my own address (the wrong one it turns out as we had in fact moved since getting the card) and various other unasked for and possibly too personal, details of my life.
Somewhere during my mindless rantings, right, I believe after volunteering to show her my id, the clipboard was placed in front of me. I signed my name and shamefacedly ushered my sorry looking crew through the gates.
Thankfully, she hadn't taken me up on my offer to show her my id. As it turns out, I'd left my wallet at home.