One day in late April I didn’t make my bed.
It was just one those days where I was running behind. Totally my fault, as I’d probably been wasting time on Facebook, cuddling my animals, or writing a blog post. Because of my tardiness, I had rushed out of the house without going through my normal “chore” routine. Clothes were on the floor, dishes were in the sink, sheets were in a crumpled pile on top of the mattress.
This wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that I was supposed to be meeting my mother at my house a few hours later. No worries. I figured I’d just leave for home ten minutes earlier than planned to do a quick pick-up before Mom got there.
Of course time got away from me and I was running late, again. And of course, because my mother is a responsible adult, she was a few minutes early. She called when I was about ten minutes from home informing me that she had arrived and would let herself in using her key. “Okay, love you, see you soon,” I said. When I was thinking, “*&%$@($%), my house is a disgusting mess and my mom is going to see it all and have no choice but to judge my un-made bed. I must get there pronto to distract her from the sight!”
So off I went. When I saw a man standing in the middle of the road making strange gestures with his arms, my first thought was, “Oh shit, there’s someone in the middle of the road, I should probably slow down.” It didn’t even dawn on me that I had been speeding, or that the man standing next to the unmarked car might be a cop pulling me over.
So then of course I’m kicking myself because in my frenzied need to prevent my mom from seeing my messy house not only have I received my first speeding ticket ever, but I had now given her even more time to become aware of what a slob she raised. Awesome.
Lesson learned. If I had just made my bed none of this would have happened.
I’m not kidding when I tell you I have made my bed every day since. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I went to court for the ticket and told the judge the (abbreviated) story above, and informed him, too, that I have committed to making my bed on the regular. I avoided the points, paid the fine, and moved on. Or so I thought.
On Thursday of last week, as per usual, I was doing some morning yoga before work. Randomly, Tyler was working from home that day. This is important because, as per usual, Tyler adds a little bit extra to my story.
So, I’m in down-dog, just sinking into my practice and really relaxing when JD starts barking at something outside. It wasn’t his usual “hey-I’m-just-letting-you-know-there’s-a-stray-cat,” or “the-wind-blew-the-wrong-direction,” bark. It was a “who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are-get-out-of-my-yard-before-I-eat-you,” bark. So I get up and look out the window to investigate. I was expecting a delivery truck or someone trying to sell me solar panels or something.
Instead I see two men and one woman, dressed in all black, wearing kevlar vests with “POLICE” across the front.
Fully prepared to be an upstanding citizen, I step out on the front porch. I’m expecting to identify a photo of some terrible person who’s done some terrible thing – because…Law and Order, obviously.
Instead they ask for ME! Am I Melissa Clark? (Sure was, until a week ago!) What’s my middle name, how long have I lived here, what’s my birthdate? Right about this time Tyler makes it outside and I very sarcastically inform him that they are here to arrest me.
“Take her,” he says. “We’re married now. I can keep everything for myself.” Funny, right? Until they inform me that, yes siree, my information matches the ARREST WARRANT they are holding.
Saving grace: the picture. Clearly not me, as the woman in the photo has at least fifty pounds on me. Which I point out to them. After I do so, Tyler casually comments, “Well yeah, but you’ve lost some weight lately.” Again I roll my eyes because that’s the kind of shit he says. And also because I’ve gained weight so it’s totally not true. And because, whatever, it’s definitely not me and they should definitely see this.
Then two things happen almost at once. I realize their unmarked cars are parked down the street, not particularly visible from our house. Then there’s an “all clear” over the radio as a fourth cop comes around from the backyard.
My initial thought: I was so close to doing yoga in the back yard instead of the living room! What if I had been in happy baby pose when they showed up??
And next: Oh shit. This is actually serious. They didn’t want us knowing they were there until they were actually here. AND they were prepared for me to make a run for it out the back. Oh. Emm. Gee. OMG!
Eventually we are all in agreement that the woman in the photo is most definitely not me, and then I’m the one with questions. Like WTF, seriously why are you here?
After a day of detective work by a friend who actually knows what he’s doing and several hours of Facebook stalking by yours truly, we have found the answer.
On April 28th I didn’t make my bed.
There is a woman, with my same exact name and age, and almost the same height, who has been in and out of the judicial system for years. Because of the ticket, my information went into the system on May 7th. Just so happens that an arrest warrant for her was issued a few days later. The police went looking for her, and they found…me. And my giant, guardian bear-dog, and my smart-ass husband. And had they entered the house they would have also found my very neatly made bed.
Moral of the story: No matter what, no matter how late you are, just make the goddamn bed. You never know what might happen if you don’t.