Thursday, September 25, 2003

One Of THOSE Days

It seemed so simple in my head - drop my wife off at work, pickup two scripts at the pharmacy, get her car inspected while I wander around Sears, stop by Wally World for some sundries, then home, lickety split, and get some real work done.

Late leaving the house because I had to affix the front license plate ( no front plate = no inspection sticker ), off to "The Big City" via the back way to avoid road construction, only to be stuck behind a woman whose head didn't clear the steering wheel, she (we) going 35 MPH, I muttering imprecations to the gods to get her the hell off the road, wife patting my knee and telling me I'll soon be just like her as I'm already old and gray. Finally passed her, only to realize I am now going 50 in a 25 with a car bearing a two month overdue sticker, I slow down as I am bombarded by falling leaves and acorns, dodging squirrels and small children as I make my way through a residential neighborhood. GD squirrels really DO "play chicken" with cars to make us run off the road, y'know?

Drop off SWMBO¹ with only seconds to spare. Phew! Wipe the sweaty brow and back across the river I go, dodging more squirrels and cop cars, arriving at the pharmacy only to discover that it had been closed for a few hours due to a death in the family, so all of the folks who would have been served earlier are now attempting to be served, myself included. Sat in car and did paperwork for about an hour, jogging in every 20 minutes or so to see if my Rx are ready. Finally, 75 minutes later, I hit the road again, fighting through a sewer replacement project for 20 minutes enroute to Sears. Looking good. It's a little before 5 PM. Hardly any cars in the lot waiting to be worked on. Kid at the counter tells me to bring it on in. So I do. And then forget myself, and tell them to fix any "little" thing that might prevent issuance of the coveted inspection sticker. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So off I go, with "It'll be ready in half an hour" ringing in my ears. I browse through tools, and lawn and garden, camping and fitness machines. Nice sale on treadmills, by the way. Then on to appliances, where I fend off the advances of a half dozen salesmen eager to remove their clothes to prove that Kenmore really has a "Super Capacity Washer." Damned TV commercials.
One Of THOSE Days, continued

About forty minutes have elapsed. I wander back over to the automotive center and stick my head in the garage. Hmm. The car is still on the lift but no one is around it.
I sit and thumb through a dog-eared copy of Newsweek. Another half hour passes. I look at the watch. Almost six thirty.

The synchophantic salesboy who'd written my work order is gone, replaced by an equally fawning young man who's nametag indicates he's a "Service Manager". He calmly explains that he'd sent the inspection mechanic out to dinner before he'd finished inspecting my vehicle, as the mechanic was going to pick up a bulb for a marker light. And, by the way, I needed new wipers, too. It would be only a few more minutes -- after the mechanics return -- for the job to be completed.

At 7:15 PM, $41 poorer, but bearing the new, large-because-cops-aren't-getting-any-younger-either, red inspection sticker, my wife's car emerged from the garage and off I went. All thoughts of outside work have been banished (it's dark already). Next stop - Wally World.

Except. I hadn't eaten all day. I am a diabetic and that's a no-no. So I deviated the route just a mite and scarfed down a decaf and a plain toasted bagel. Good to go, I strode into the 'wonderful world of prison labor and Chinese bargains'. Made quick work of the few items on my list and out the door I go ... after waiting in line 20 minutes for the "Slowest Cashier Not Killed By Customers In 2002". At one point, I glimpsed the front manager snickering from behind her podium while the young mother in line ahead of me birthed her third child. (Sadly, she was near as big as I am and twice as ugly. Where's Natalie Portman when you need her, the one "that birthed the Wal-Mart Baby" in that TV movie?)

Out the door to the car in the rain! It was sunny and dry when I started these errands. And so I make my way from the parking lot, satisfied that the errands are done, and it only took ... five hours. Life's grand, isn't it?