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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. In fact it’s been since December 6, when I posted “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night.” But I have a good excuse: I had to go to a funeral.
My aunt died on December 7. She was a mere 80 years old, and so still fairly young by today’s standards. (Especially as I myself get closer to that age.) But she had a host of health problems, and so it wasn’t really surprising to get a text from my sister-in-law on December 3. It said Joan was in the ICU, “critical but stable.” But unfortunately she went downhill from there.
So I had to attend “another stinkin’ funeral!” (As we say in our family, having gone through too many lately.) I had to work up until 2:00 in the afternoon, last Saturday, the 10th. Then I headed north, making Gastonia (NC) that night.
The following day I had an NTE. (Near-Ticket Experience, an allusion to an NDE, as illustrated at right.)
I had crossed the line into Virginia about noon, on I-85, and about 20 minutes later some obnoxious guy in a brand-new BMW passed me. (The BMW was so new it still had the paper-temporary license tag.) To make matters worse, he did the old “thread the needle trick,” squeezing between two cars – one was mine – as we rocketed along about 76 mph.
At first I was a bit miffed, but then I figured I’d use him as a “rabbit car.” A Rabbit Car is the mythical entity by which you can go well over the speed limit but not get caught. The theory is that the police will stop the rabbit car first.
So, we were both barreling along about 85 mph. I was slightly behind, and in the right-hand lane.
Right there on I-85 in Virginia the median is full of trees and woods, interspersed with service roads between the north-bound and south-bound sets of lanes.
And in one such service road I saw a police car.
Unfortunately the obnoxious guy in the new BMW saw him first, so he slowed down first. Which meant that I actually passed him before I could slow down myself.
There were seven or eight cars fairly close behind us, so the trooper had to wait to pull out. But sure enough, in my rear-view mirror I could see him get out on the road and start to follow us. Then – quite soon after that – he turned on his “rollers” and sped up.
So I slowed down a whole lot, and also tried getting into the “rocking chair” position, nestled snugly between two other cars, one right in front of me and one right behind.
And for a moment or two I cursed my luck. I didn’t need either an expensive ticket or an increase in insurance rates. But fortunately the trooper passed me and commenced to pull over the obnoxious guy in the BMW. (Who by then was about 10 car lengths ahead of me.)
After my heart-rate and breathing got back to near normal, I figured there was some kind of object lesson there… I may write more about the funeral later, but speaking of object lessons, I got another one a day or two after I got back.
I made it back home from the funeral on Thursday, the 15th. I worked all day Friday, and Friday night was busy unpacking and getting stuff sorted out. Then this happened on Saturday…
I was at K-Mart, buying wrapping paper. It came out to $4.76, so I handed the sweet young cashier a 5-dollar bill and a penny. She said, “Sir, it’s four dollars and seventy-six cents.” And I said, “Yes, it is.” So she said again, real slow, “Sir, the price is four dollars and seventy-six cents.” I said, “Yes, and I gave you a five and a penny.”
So once again she repeated – pointing to each individual number on the cash register, one number at a time – “Sir, it’s four dollars and seventy-six cents.” (As noted, she said it really slow, like she was talking to a moron, or an old geezer. As in, “OMG, this old guy came in today…”)
Naturally my mind HAD been racing with all kinds of thoughts, off in la-la land, your might say.
Part of it was the hectic travel involved in the funeral I’d just been to, and part of it was the upcoming Christmas season, with all the demands that go along with it. But this little encounter slowed me down. (“Grounded me,” you might say.)
I had been on automatic pilot, but now I had to be “in the moment”
So finally I was able to “become the moment,” and explain. I said to her, real slow, “If I had given you a five dollar bill, you would have had to hand me six coins back. Two dimes and four pennies. But by handing you a 5-dollar bill and a penny, all you have to do is give me ONE coin back, a quarter.” So she said, “Oh…”
I figure that somewhere in this combination of experience there’s yet another object lesson.
But one thing is, one day her generation is going to be running the country. Like when we’re in our nursing homes. I mean, who knows? These young people today might end up electing some doofus who’s totally unqualified and untrained to run the country!
Or they might do things like rocket along an interstate highway at 85 miles an hour – or more – two cars at a time, on some delusional “rabbit car” theory.
In the meantime, the encounter with the cashier reminded of the cartoon below.
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The upper image is courtesy of Police Car Lights Flashing …police led light bar …galleryhip.com.
The lower image is courtesy of http://lowres.cartoonstock.com/food-drink-koala-koala_bear.”