Friday, August 3, 2012

Road House, but Without Patrick Swayze

Did you ever have one of those days, where it seems like everybody's gettin' on your case? From your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend? Well, technically, that was Brownsville Station. But I kind of had one of those days, myself. Good thing I'm not a smoker. Or a hanger-outer in boys' rooms.

It all started innocently enough. But because you know that the universe conspires against Val, you know there's more to this story than a trip to town to drop The Pony off at his grandma's house. We called first to let her know that we would be arriving in about thirty minutes. The plan was to pick up a 44 oz. Cherry Diet Coke for her, and grab a sausage biscuit for Genius at the drive-thru. The Pony required no sustenance, thoughts of his imminent diet of Grandma's love already filling the void inside him.

I breezed through the soda bar, only to end up in line at the register behind a man buying a six-pack of beer and four dollars worth of lottery tickets. AT 9:30 IN THE MORNING! I know. Some people just can't put off their lottery tickets until a reasonable hour. A kid was ahead of me, too. Waiting for his brohans to pump some gas into a Mustang convertible. Twenty dollars worth of gas. Big spender. It takes eighty-eight dollars to fill up my Tahoe. Getting out of that parking lot was a bear. A snarly, tooth-gnashing, in-need-of-anger-management grizzly bear. Because there's road construction in that area, you see.

The roads were full of people who don't know how to drive as well as I do. Twenty mile per hour people in fifty-five zones. People with burned-out signal and tail lights who turned without signals. People with signal lights who were saving them for some grand occasion, who simply stopped in the middle of the road. Then turned. Cars swerving over the center line, then pulling off on the shoulder. Trucks. And that was just on the way TO Grandma's house.

I'll save the piece de resistance for the finale. So pardon me if I get a bit out of order. Put the cart before the horse. On the way home, I popped in to get my own soda. I went to the gas station chicken store, because, well, I didn't want those other people thinking I had already drank one 44 oz. Cherry Diet Coke and I was returning for another one. That's almost as bad as buying lottery tickets at 9:30 a.m.

Of course I got in line behind a chicken lady. She had four legs plus an eight-piece box. But I'm not one to ridicule people for their unconventional body composition. Her man had been pumping gas. He came in and grabbed his soda, making the checker all antsy waiting for Chicken Lady to pay. Of course she had to wait for her order to be boxed separately. Then she wanted five lottery tickets and five more of a different kind. She had gas. Plus the two sodas. And she pulled out her check book. Asked the checker her last name. Like she was writing a personal check. Then she asked the date, which was hanging on the wall. Then she grabbed the checker's pen, with the white plastic spoon taped on it for scratching off the verification on scratch-off tickets. And Chicken Lady proceeded to write out her check. Which she could have done while waiting in the chicken line.

Upon leaving the gas station chicken store and heading towards home, I hit three red lights. Of course I did. But while cruising under the overpass, the car in front of me made a U-turn. No signal, mind you. Just veered across the left turn lane, the opposite left turn lane, and into the going-the-other way lane. So I moved on up behind a twenty-mile-per-hourer, who got into the left turn lane by my first soda stop store, and stayed in the left turn lane. In spite of the fact that the turn lane came to an inverted V and then disappeared. On an uphill stretch. Just kept driving in the darn-tootin' middle of the road. I slowed way down to give it room. That car had a handicap parking tag hanging from the mirror. The driver was using one hand to steer, gesturing wildly in conversation with a burning cigarette in the other. Then, you might have guessed, came to a stop in the middle of the road. And made a right turn.

But this, THIS is the grandaddy of all incidents on today's ill-fated trip:

That's a road house. A house. In the road. On the main thoroughfare from my mom's house. I had to drive in the opposite lane to get around it. I really wanted this picture. So I went around the block. Yes. Now those folks who snicker that Val has certainly been around the block a time or two are validated. I am not one to endanger the welfare of others by slamming on my brakes and stopping to take a photo. So I stopped at this side-street stop sign. Looks like that house had a flat tire.

I know what you were thinkin'. That darn Val has been wicked-witching herself all over Backroads again, stealing ruby slippers, and this time, the house just missed her. C'mon. You know you were.

Today was definitely Friday the third-teenth.


  1. I guess when you have four legs, gas and a husband with you then check writing fades to the background? HOWEVER, I would really like to smack check writers up the side of their heads when I am in line behind them and they wait until their groceries are totaled and bagged before they even approach writing! Fill the damn thing out except for the amount dumbass! And if they start fumbling to LOOK for it - thank the gummi mary I don't own mace! Debit cards are much quicker if the moron can figure out their PIN and the the modem! Arghh!

  2. Sounds like you had a trying day. Sometimes it feels like you're the dog, and at other times it feels like you're the hydrant. On this day you were the hydrant.

  3. I have in-laws who are now living in a "pre-fab" home. It's a double-wide trailer, for god's sake. If they weren't such snobs (they bought a bunch of land that the trailer's on), I wouldn't snicker at the thought of uttering the "t" word...

  4. So, you don't have the guts to go back in for a second gallon to guzzle? I can't believe it! Can you imagine your house getting a falt tire?

  5. So THAT'S what the white plastic spoon taped to the pen is for. I've wondered that for about five or ten years, which is the last time I wrote a check at a gas station.

    And--how do you KNOW Patrick Swayze wasn't haunting that road house. that could explain a lot. There could be an "America's Most Haunted" show in this! ("Four legs and an eight-piece box"--LOL)

  6. knancy,
    I heartily agree on the smacking and macing of last-minute check-writers. Especially in convenience stores. I only use checks for bill-paying. Because I think it a bit presumptuous for other entities to take money directly from my bank account.

    But I am, of course, the best hydrant of any hydrant that ever hydranted.

    My Alaskan uncle used to own a Christmas tree farm here in Missouri. He needed someplace to live for the short trips and the six weeks he spent running it over the holiday season. So he bought a double-wide pre-fab. I was shocked at the luxuriousness of the inside. It was a good deal for him, because it came furnished, ready to turn the key, and he could sell it later. was still a tin can tornado magnet.

    No, I do not. I'm all about other people's perceptions of me. I shall not be regarded as a Diet Coke lush! I suppose your house getting a flat tire on a regular basis could lead to the reduction of the spare tire around your middle. I'm speaking of the collective "your" of course. I know Ms. Linda's house does not have tires.

    That's why you come here. To LEARN! Maybe Patrick Swayze was there to make sure nobody put Val in a corner.

    It's a good thing one of those smart-mouthed regulars was not in line with the four legged eight piece boxed lady. Like the one who once heard my order of two legs and two breasts, and hollered, "Every man's dream!"

  7. Kathy,
    BLOGGER ate your comment. But yes, it WAS a fine road house. Much finer than Patrick Swayze's. And finer than his barn house, too.