Driving With No Sense of Direction: The Jessie Pingle Story

Can we all just give each other multiple praise hands emojis and be glad we live in a world with GPS? Because GPS finally cured what lots of young people (okay, just me) had back in the day: Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™

There were no cell phones or Google Maps or Waze when I was a 20-something lass accidentally driving through bad neighborhoods. You know what we had? A folded-up map that all dads made us put in the glovebox that a) was totally useless because maybe 2% of people can actually read a map b) even if I could read a map, I was terrified to unfold it because everyone knows it is physically impossible to refold a map.

Like this, but with paper and a lot more swearing.

Let me tell you just how bad life with Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ could get in those dark days before GPS.

It was St. Patrick’s Day sometime in the 90s. My boyfriend was a monster but he looked like a normal human so my stupidity is excused. We were going out with his friend and his friend’s sister (who was also a monster but masqueraded as a Hooter’s waitress). We went to a bar in Columbus that to this day I refer to as “that place where I threw up in a leprechaun hat.”

After everyone was completely wasted, we all piled in a car to go to the next bar and get completely wasted. (I’m sorry to tell you that drinking and driving features heavily in this story.) I looked around blearily and realized that Monster Boyfriend was not in the car. I tried to tell the monster sister to turn around but it was like the Quaalude scene in Wolf of Wall Street. In my head I was talking normally but in reality it was just slow-motion and hilarious nonsense.

Pretty spot-on, actually.

The friend was on the verge of passing out but through some sort of drunken telepathy I managed to convey the seriousness of the situation. He convinced his monster sister to take us to his car and we would go back to the bar and retrieve Monster Boyfriend.

Somehow, I ended up driving because apparently “passed out” is a higher level of drunk than “threw up in a leprechaun hat.”  I then got behind the wheel (bad idea) and drove around an unfamiliar city (even worse idea) to try and find the bar.

You guys. It was awful. My Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ was even further impaired from the mass amounts of alcohol coursing through my veins and I’ve never tried so hard to sober up in my entire life. I think I knew the name of the bar, and maybe remembered the street name. Meanwhile his friend was passed out in the backseat and it was basically like driving around with a dead body. It took hours… even though in hindsight I’m pretty sure the bar was only twenty minutes away. I had to stop at multiple gas stations to ask for directions. Because GPS had not been invented yet. Also because I was drunk and kept forgetting what they said but mostly the GPS thing.

By the time we found the bar, the place was deserted and the manager was ready to call the cops because (surprise, surprise), Monster Boyfriend did not take kindly to being deserted by his girlfriend and friends and had not been shy about expressing it.

Exactly this.

I’m just going to skip over the screaming fight that ensued and bring us to the part where we started the long drive home. I drove perfectly… right up to moment I was pulled over five minutes from home. I felt quite sober at this point but I’m guessing a sobriety test would have said differently.

“Her blood alcohol level is too high but her dance skills are off the charts.”


But no worries, people! Because this was 20 years ago and I was in my prime. Even after throwing up in a leprechaun hat I had enough va-va-voom left over to bat my eyes and solemnly assure the sweet, innocent highway patrolman that yes, I would be very careful driving, because “there are a lot of crazy people out tonight.”

Monster Boyfriend was grimly silent during this exchange but after the kindly officer tipped his hat and skipped off whistling into the night, his friend woke up long enough to mumble, “Way to go, Jessie,” before he passed out again.

It was the worst night of my life up to that point, and still ranks somewhere in the Top 10 twenty-some years later. And it could have all been avoided had GPS been invented…wait. Is that even true? I think the situation actually came about because we all drank too much. Even if GPS had been invented I was still a drunken idiot.

Time travel… GPS…. leprechaun hats… THIS MATH MAKES NO SENSE.

Wow, this was a real waste of time. Sorry, everyone. Just be grateful you’re born in a time when Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ has finally been eradicated. Also, don’t drink and drive. That’s why Uber was invented.

Uber: You probably won’t get assaulted!™

The Holiday of Existential Crises

New Year’s is annoying.

Not for the usual reasons: New Year’s Eve with its accompanying inflated cover charges, the strange urge to wear glitter, and those annoying “restricted menus” restaurants always throw at you. No, I don’t want garlic herb chicken with steamed vegetables, Chad. I know you have stuff to make cheeseburgers back there.

Don’t make me hurt you, Chad.

No, New Year’s is annoying because it makes you think. Holidays shouldn’t make you think. Holidays are supposed to be about drinking too much around  your family just so you can handle the alarming amount of toddler warfare. Holidays are about eating so much sausage that you start speaking German. That’s what the holidays are about.

But New Year’s messes with your head, man. You start questioning your very existence and every choice you’ve ever made. You realize everything’s pretty much the same as last year (and the year before, and the year before that). At least it probably is if you’re a person who is married and in her mid-to-late thirties. Okay, late thirties. OKAY, I’M TURNING 40 IN 7 MONTHS.

And I’m handling it JUST FINE.

Because when most of your big “life decisions” like kids and marriage are already done and over with, what’s left? Soon the boys will be graduated and on their own. (And by “on their own,”  I mean probably still living with us but not paying rent or doing anything useful around the house).

So once the boys are actually gone, then what are Eric and I to do? Just sit around still being young and super-hot? That gets boring, guys. Trust me.

So exhausting being us.

Should we buy a cabin in the woods? Not a horror movie cabin where I’d get stabbed in a horribly inventive way, but a pimped-out fancy cabin that has a hot tub and enormous windows that I never have to clean because we’re stupid rich. I’ll learn to make jam and decorate my house so country modern fabulous, Pinterest will explode out of sheer jealousy.


Or should we buy a place in the city? We could live in a cool historical building from the 1800’s but someone else fixed it up right before we moved in so it has brand-new plumbing and a really strong WiFi signal. Plus a sick balcony where we can light candles for sexy times but also has total privacy because you know everyone wants to check us out. We’re young and super-hot, remember?

Maybe we’ll travel and live in a new place every year. One year in NYC. One year in L.A. One year in… where else is there? Those are literally the only two places they ever show in movies and TV.

Anyway, New Year’s sucks. And, for the record,  I knew this before Jennifer Lawrence, because she could be my daughter, almost. Also, these plans of mine sound pretty pricey, so I better get back to writing my book. There’s a lot riding on this thing.

Yep. This is me.

The Grinch Who Stole Pingle Christmas

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been lounging on a beach while husky bronzed man-servants brought me fruity cocktails. Alas, the real reason is sadly bereft of oiled muscles and sexy coconuts.

Last month, whilst wearing a green visor and using an old-fashioned adding machine to balance my checkbook (as everyone does), I discovered a thief had absconded with a large amount of my hard-earned money.

The description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.
Description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.

Somehow, someone way smarter than me hacked into a bunch of debit card numbers. My card and my husband’s card were included in this nefarious plot to ruin Christmas. I have no idea how this person got both of us. What I know about hackers is what I see in TV and movies, and somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as they make it seem.

"Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD."         "I don't think that's how it works."
“Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD ” “Um… I don’t think that’s how it works.”

What really, really sucked is that it was our debit cards, so it was like, real money. They drained our checking account. So we basically woke up and Christmas was gone. The Grinch snuck into our checking account and cleared out the place. He got the presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! The tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! The bags!

Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?
Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?

I just felt so… violated. Did I bring this on myself with my sexy online purchases? Did we drop our poor, innocent debit card into a shady part of the internet and just walk away? All I know is that our debit card is now curled in a corner of the shower sucking its thumb. That’s on you, hackers. How do you sleep at night?

"Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually."
“Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually.”

Anyway, I don’t know how it happened, but it happened at the worst time possible. Not that there’s a good time to get money stolen, but right before we go on the biggest shopping spree of the entire year? Kind of bad timing, guys.

Our bank credited back our money eventually but we had to get through the entire month of December with nothing in our account. The week of Christmas we finally got our money back. THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS. My husband and I were both in our busy time of year at work; we couldn’t take any days off, so he did all the shopping on Christmas Eve while I worked from home. Shopping and wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve? Not fun. Luckily there was plenty of wine left over from Thanksgiving or I would have been very grinchy indeed.

Christmas Eve, basically.
Christmas Eve, basically.

Needless to say, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this season, and no one was happier than me when it was time to kick Santa’s big butt out the door.

For my husband and me, 2015 looks to be filled with paranoia and lots of hiding money behind toilets. Maybe not even our toilets. By the way, don’t look behind your toilet.


Nothing to see, folks.