Unfortunately, this also means that I have to be my own navigator, snack bag opener, and nap preventer. No problem when I'm well rested, but deprive me of a couple hours of beauty sleep and you'll soon find me swerving across four lanes of traffic because I either dozed off or smacked myself in the eye while trying to open a stubborn bag of Cheetos. Add night driving to the mix, and you've got the recipe for fun -- if your idea of "fun" involves emergency lights, sirens, and a frantic call to the insurance company's 24-hour hotline.
"Hello, thank you for calling XYZ Insurance. My name is Candy. How may I assist you?"
Pause. "Your name is Candy?"
I hear a sigh on the other end of the line. "Yes. My name is Candy. Yes, that's my real name. No, I've never been a cocktail waitress or an exotic dancer. I wanted to be an airline pilot, but here I am, in this stuffy call center, taking insurance claim calls. Now, how can I help you?"
My brilliantly witty questions effectively stifled, I decide to move on. "Right. This is Angie Mansfield, and I--"
Candy's entire demeanor changes. At least, the part of it I can hear in her voice. Sounding excited and a little breathless, she interrupts me. "I'm sorry. Did you say your name is Angie Mansfield?"
"The Angie Mansfield?"
I start to get a bad feeling. "Well...I'm an Angie Mansfield..."
"What did you run into this time, a curb? No, wait -- someone's garden gnome. No! I've got it -- a stone statue of a unicorn named Trixie."
Crap. They knew me. Time for a little defensive indignation. "None of those things, Candy, and I don't think I like your tone."
I hear a giggle, and Candy's muffled voice saying, "Hey! Everyone! I've got Angie Mansfield on the line!" followed by more giggling. Finally Candy comes back. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"Do you have me on speaker phone?"
"Absolutely not," she says, but I can clearly hear the giggling and high-fives in the background.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Now, what can we help you with this evening?"
"Well, 'we' can file a claim. I got run off the road."
"You got run off the road, or you drove off the road?" More snickering in the background.
"Well, Candy, the end result is the same, don't you think?"
"Maybe, but the form is different."
I roll my eyes and dream of throttling Candy. "All right, fine. If you must know, I got run off the road by an ice cream truck."
A pause, punctuated by a couple snorts as someone tries to hold back laughter. "You...got run off the road...by an ice cream truck?"
"Yes. He swerved over into my lane in order to pass the horse and buggy."
No one even tries to hide their laughing now. They're positively howling on the other end of the line. I wait for a couple of seconds, wondering if they'll remember I'm here, and then I gently press 'end' on my cell phone.
The car's in one piece, I was able to drive it out of the ditch, and no one's hurt. I think the CSR's have had enough entertainment for one night.
Angie Mansfield is a humor writer, zebra lover, and very good driver. Really. Very good driver. Read more of her humor (rated PG-13) on her spoof news site, the Zebra Rag.