Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I finish exercising, showering and dressing, and lay on the bed watching television to reduce my excitement. I’m about to have the mother of all Cheat Meals at Giordano’s Pizzeria with Mom, Grandma Dot, and two younger Cuzzins. Quantity in this case will not be measured in slices, but rather pounds.

Mom calls when she said she would—after picking up ninety-year-old Grandma Dot from her assisted living home and scooping me up en route to Giordano’s. Mom’s tone jacks my heart rate back up. “Dodge Avenger stalled in front of Grandma Dot’s building and won’t start. I don’t know what to do!!!!!” Mom says.

I calmly tell Mom that I know nothing about cars but call Dad who knows a bit about cars and make sure the key is in the ignition and turn it clockwise not counterclockwise. Our call ends, and I pray.

Another call minutes later. “Grandma Dot had to go inside it’s so hot in here, I’m sweating through my clothes, Dodge Avenger won’t even try to start, it just makes a clicking sound!!!!!” Mom says.

I call Cuzzins to explain that Dodge Avenger won’t move, and we can’t leave it in front of the assisted living home’s entranceway. Cuzzins will have to wait at Giordano’s until I get more info from Mom, who is on the phone with Enterprise. How does the pizza smell? Do you see any pies? I’m so hungry, which reminds me to buy a granola bar from the vending machine to get out of my self-induced brain fog (i.e. extreme hunger to make my Cheat Meal more rewarding).

Twenty minutes later Mom calls. “I have to wait here for Tow Truck, and then head back to Enterprise at O’Hare Airport to exchange for a different rental car, I can’t believe this, this is terrible, I’m so out of sorts, so hungry, Grandma Dot had to go upstairs!!!!!”

Rental Dodge Avenger breaks down at assisted living homeI tell Cuzzins how sorry I am, but they should probably go home because this could be a while. “Enterprise and Dodge Avengers suck,” I say.

I take Cab to change places with Mom so she can spend time, and eat, with Grandma Dot. They order Giordano’s. I refuse to join because this no longer feels like a Cheat Meal.

Tow Truck arrives after four hours thanks to Enterprise’s incorrect dispatch, thanks to Enterprise’s faulty Dodge Avenger, thanks to Chrysler Group, thanks to President Obama.

Tow Truck reaches O’Hare and I think, WWYSGDD (What Would a Young Spry Grandma Dot Do)? That may not be the ideal decision-making tool, but still better than WWDHSCBD (What Would a Drunk and/or High and/or Sober Chris Brown Do). I beeline towards Enterprise. “Dodge Avenger stalled which ruined our family reunion. Is there a BMW I can drive?

Luxury Volkswagen CC rental car in Chicago, IL“No, but we do have high-end sedans, including a loaded Volkswagen CC.”

The next morning, with my hunger and emotions subdued, I put Volkswagen CC to the test. I set the touchscreen radio, power leather seat and mirrors. I pick up Grandma Dot on our way to Starbucks. I make the wrong turn and see Grandma Dot clench the door handle because Grandma Dot has to go to the bathroom because Grandma Dot goes to the bathroom ever eight minutes. “I have to go to the bathroom,” Grandma Dot proclaims.

I have to make up time to get Grandma Dot to the bathroom. WWYSGDD? I crush Volkswagen’s pedal as 4’6” Grandma Dot melts into the seat and puts a dent in the door handle. I now know Germans make great automobiles and Grandma Dot always knows what to do.

Returning early the following morning after a night out including flip cup in Bucktown, a neighborhood of Chicago, with Hooooolz, to finally see Cuzzins for breakfast, I evoke WWDHSCBD and take Tylenol and coffee. Chris Brown sometimes knows what to do.

Before heading back to Virginia, I finally have my Cheat Meal, including both Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s, two of Chicago’s finest pizzerias. On my next visit I will require a Chicago pizza lineup, with no fewer than pizza from five different eateries, for a blind taste test. WWYSGDD? Not have a heart attack, at least, though I can’t guarantee the same for myself.