Have you ever seen a classic sitcom misunderstanding and thought to yourself, that could never happen in real life?  I have.  Although immensely amused by “3’s Company’s” 22 minute long misunderstandings, even as a kid, I thought they should’ve been able to straighten things out before the 1st commercial break.

Having now been entangled in several real life sitcom style misunderstandings, I see how Jack, Chrissy, Janet, Mr. Roper and/or Mr. Furley occasionally found themselves in a state of bewilderment.  The fact that it happened every week however seems to suggests they weren’t even trying.

My latest bout with talking to someone while simultaneously having two very different conversations happened in lovely San Luis Obispo.  I was there for the SLO Comedy Festival.  SLO is a great place but I’ve learned that no place is Mayberry.  Heck, even Mayberry probably had a seedy side. Okay maybe not.   Yes, I just used the word heck.   My acute street smarts are only matched by my earnestness.  It’s not innocence but a choice to take people’s words at face-value until I see a need not to.  This earnestness led to me being propositioned by a guy in a pick-up truck.

On the last night of the festival I walked out of my hotel.  I was going to take the 1 mile walk to downtown San Luis Obispo.  As I crossed the street a white pick-up truck rolled up.   Technically the pedestrian has the right-of-way but I’ve always felt something that weighs 2 tons and goes 90 miles per hour has the actual right-of-way.  Or at least the way that’s in my path.  The truck driver yielded.   He slowed down.  I nodded thanks and proceeded to cross.  Then he rolled again.  Not wanting to get ran over, I stopped and he stopped right next to me in the middle of the street.   Now, there were maybe 50 comics and scores of staff involved with the festival, so I thought this guy must be with the festival.  One more thing you should know is that all the comics would meet up back at the hotel to party, drink and be merry after all the shows were over.  Cue the sitcom theme song…

DRIVER:  Where’s the party.
ME:  (pointing at the hotel) Right there.  In about two hours, on the 3rd floor.
DRIVER:  I’m looking to smoke somebody out.
ME:  Again, third floor in about 2 hours.
DRIVER:  How long you here for?
ME:  I’m leaving tomorrow but I’ll be back here (pointing to the hotel) later tonight.

I tried to walk off after every answer I gave but he kept firing questions at me.  Finally, I thought “he knows every thing I know and I really must be going.”  I bid him adieu and tried to walk off.  We had finally arrived at our impasse.  It was time for Mr. Furley to blow his top and for Jack to get everybody on the same page before they all made their way to the Regal Beagle.

That’s what happens in sitcoms.  In real life sometimes head scratching is better than clarity.  The driver was either annoyed by my innocence or encouraged by my answers.  (As all my answers were basically, “The hotel”) As I tried to leave once and for all he blurted out, “Look, I’m just looking to have sex!”  Ohhhhhh.  So that’s what this was all about?  Suddenly his gum chewing became ominous.   Believe it or not, I did not see this coming.  I tried to respond strong enough to make sure he knew that I wasn’t interested or scared and really close to doing what Brooklyn people do when threatened but not be so put off so as to seem homophobic.

I simply said, “I’m not” and hit the side of his truck to tell him he should move on,  It was like I had just loaded up some cargo and was all done.  He obliged and moved on.  Turns out, this guy was not with the festival but where did he come from?  Was he just asking everyone to party?  Some questions aren’t worth finding out.  I was just happy to be rid of him.

I scrapped the walking idea and decided to drive to the show.  A person bold enough to proposition a stranger may also be bold enough to kidnap one.  I drove to the show and hopped on the last show on the last night of the festival.  That’s a happier tale.

Remind me to tell you about the time my friends thought I got a girl pregnant who actually was secretly pregnant but not by me.  (there were two girls with the same name both pregnant at the same time.) …Come and knock on our door…

My other blog about SLO