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The Bizarritudes Continue
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On the way to the Book Festival, I stop to pick up a friend who is also a "Reader" (we have our own secret society, those of us who love to read, live to read--passwords, handshakes, and all). She gets in the car, settles herself, we're on our way. No sooner do we get past the first major intersection than she receives a call on her cell phone: her granddaughter is having her baby and the baby is arriving NOW. Dilated 3 centimeters. Must hurry and get her back to her house, we make quick plans for tomorrow. Maybe.

OK. Illegal U-turn and zipping down the streets so recently viewed at a leisurely pace. Drop off friend, heigh-ho how shall I amuse myself today? Hmmmm...I need gas. So I pop into the first gas station I see, pull up to the pump, swipe my credit card. So far, so good. Then it beeps at me and it wants my zip code (security check on credit card, standard stuff). I start tapping away at the key pad. What's this? The only key that works is the number 3. All others, including the "Cancel" key are dead. Not good, especially if your zip code starts with a digit other than "3". It doesn't. You'd like to cancel the transaction. You can't.

Flustered, I drive to another gas station. Price the same, seems all right. I pull toward the first pump and here comes a pickup truck with lawn mowers, hoses and trimmers in the back. The pickup truck drives through the street intersection, stops just beyond the pedestrian crosswalk, hesistates, goes in reverse and reverses back across the intersection. The light (robot to you, Will) is still green, thankfully. He (yes, it's a man at the wheel) continues in reverse, across the street, backwards up the driveway into the gas station and reversing still, pulls between me and the pump I had mentally claimed as my own.

At this point, I'm rolling to a section of the station as far from this disordered gentleman as I can get. But, wait! It's not over yet. The pickup disgorges its passenger (not its driver). The passenger looks at the pump, picks up the pump handle (which is useless, because the pump hasn't been activated by a credit card), puts the pump handle back on the machine, jumps back into the passenger seat and away they go (forward gear, this time) back out into the street.

What the hell is that all about? Beats me.

I fill my tank (gasping at the outrageous price) and head for the grocery supermarket. Yes, the same one where the bubbe got her ticket. I pull in, park and get out just in time to see two SUVs jockeying for a single parking space on the other side of the lot. The loser, irritated, I guess, backs up to get a little headway, and drives up over the curb onto the sidewalk and "parks" there. Is it something about this particular store? A refugee from the Bermuda Triangle perhaps?

Bemused and more than a little astonished, I drive home with my purchases (milk, potatoes, onions). I open the gate to my yard and shut it just in time to keep the neighbor's dog from charging me full speed, full volume coming at me from my own back yard. What? Neighbor hears the ruckus, comes out of his house and apologizes. His visiting stepdaughter had mistaken my gate for the gate to his house and had let the dog into the wrong yard.

Alrighty, then. I'm ready for the rest of the day. Bring it on!

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