A few months ago, Mike received an invitation from a fancy hotel inviting him to an exclusive dinner titled, “An Evening With Peyton Manning (google football player if you are like me).” Calm down, we aren’t that cool. Like we had to pay. It wasn’t a free dinner with Peyton Manning.
This was a “couple’s soirée” and by default, Mike had to take me. Me who has never once watched a football game. Me who deplores social engagements. Me who has a penchant for blurting out a live stream of consciousness. ie: “People need to stop eating placentas. That is just nasty.” Couple we are having dinner with make subtle eye contact, man grabs his wife’s hand and gives her a reassuring squeeze that says,“Don’t you listen to her. Our baby is super advanced because we munched on its birth sac.”
Mike decided to invite two of his friends because apparently, the husband stalker-loves Peyton Manning. I tried to tell Mike that he was about to singlehandedly ruin the poor guy’s life because meeting Peyton Manning would inevitably be the pinnacle of his existence. Like nothing can EVER top this. He would probably start drinking heavily, quit his job, and spiral into a deep depression. There really is nothing else to live for, especially if you don’t like Nordstroms or reality tv. But I have like a billion other things to feel guilty about and I wasn’t taking this one on.
On the morning of big event, I decided to go up to the club level at the hotel to write. I was hiding in a corner, drinking coffee out of a bowl because I thought they were cups, when Mike’s friends came in. I slouched down in my chair because I am inexplicably weird. I listened as they adoringly called their kids and asked them how church was that morning. Ironically, I had just gotten off the phone with my kids asking them how they fucking managed to spend $80 at Walgreens.
Anywho, later that afternoon, Mike handed me a lanyard and we were ushered into a private room with about twenty other people in the hotel restaurant. People who had flown in on private jets. People who had been anxiously waiting for this meeting for months and now it was finally here! I could feel the nervous, palpable energy coursing through the room. An hour passed and still no Peyton. I excused myself and went to ladies room to try to drown myself in a toilet.
I wadded up my Spanx and tossed them in the trash because my pancreas had become lodged in my lung, strolled back out into the lobby, played a little Candy Crush and called my sister to see what she was doing. And that’s when I noticed a frenzy of hotel employees, anxiously pacing back and forth, communicating through their ear pieces with sweat beading across their foreheads. I cocked my head to the side and narrowed my eyes.
I swindled up to the guy in charge and casually said, “Ole’ Peyton is a no-show huh?” The guy sized me up to see if he could trust me. My kind, gentle, soothing, green eyes seemed to say, “She’s safe, tell her everything.” Gay men LOVE me and the feeling is mutual. They have impeccable fashion sense, they are allergic to vaginas, and they can lift heavy shit.
With tears in his eyes and an exasperated high-pitched little voice, he opened the floodgates, “Noooooo! He’s not here. We have been trying to confirm with him all day. Texting, e-mailing, more texting and we have heard nothing. Nothing! He is probably experiencing an emergency. And now I have to go in and make the announcement to all those people.” I waited to see if he was going to stamp his foot.
I gave him an awkward, reassuring pat. “There, there now. I seriously doubt Peyton died. He probably just forgot. I guarantee the poor guy is constantly being hit up to do shit for people. I actually feel sorry for him and those rich people in there are not heartless bastards, they will totally understand.” He nodded, summoning his courage. Omg. That dude was so, so screwed.
I decided to Ryan Lochte the sitch and stay out in the lobby while he went on his soul-crushing mission. I waited a few minutes and laughed hysterically when my sister told me to change my lanyard to read, “An Evening Without Peyton Manning.” Then, I happily sauntered back into the now silent room a few thousand dollars richer and innocently asked, “What happened?!”
Mike said, “You are never going to believe this….” Suddenly, the door burst open and guy squeaked, “HE’S COMING! PEYTON’S COMING! It was just a scheduling mix-up! Everything is fine! Everything is fiiiiine people!” Oh Yippee, we have to pay after all.
Mr. Manning arrived looking disheveled and sort of frazzled. Like he’d been woken up just moments ago from a heavy afternoon nap. Or forgot about a dinner party in his honor. Two qualities I happen to loooove in a person. He was super apologetic and really nice. Surprisingly, I didn’t try to smell his hair or bring up placentas. I just shook his hand and said, “This totally sucks for you too, huh?” He laughed, which I took as a definitive yes. Mike just stared at me.
The next night I was in bed when my “friend” Mer, sent me a picture of her TV. On the news was a man who was dying and apparently, his last and final wish was to meet Peyton Manning. Awesome. THIS WAS NOT MY FAULT UNIVERSE.