Monday, February 25, 2013


Stuff to do on a fair weather Sunday that urged relaxation and mellowness. Things needed getting done. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

I took the wheel. We set out into the thick, slow Sunday traffic.

The drive to Winco was a slalom. I darted from lane to lane, trying to find those extra few seconds. Between over-the-shoulder lane change glances, I kept an eagle-eye on the road, anticipating and trying to avoid snarl-ups.

It availed us little. An elderly woman in the car just ahead could not make up her mind whether to turn or continue on. Her car hung suspended at the corner, impeding our progress while she considered. The signal blinked like a dim child.

Winco was packed with families doing their weekly shopping. My heart sank when I beheld the full parking lot and the long check-out lines. Maty led the way and I pushed the cart. Anxiety rose as I sought to negotiate around shoppers standing mid-aisle gawking at the dazzling displays of laundry detergents, frozen pizzas, hamburger patties, homogenized milk. They did not think to move their carts to one side or the other.

Our list was short, but it was not a quick stop. My foot tapped as we stood in the line.

Back to the car and another frantic sprint through traffic. Our house guests would arrive anon and there were still things to do. We unloaded quickly and I dashed back out for a birthday cake for Sister Chae.

There was a line at the Baskin Robbins, where I was to purchase the icecream cake. The woman in front of me was chatty. She chatted with the girl behind the counter. She inquired about the ice cream. She inquired about the girl's heritage. She was delighted that the girl was American Indian. Did the girl know that she, the chatty woman, was American Indian, too?

My jaw ached from gritting my teeth.

Grabbed the cake and headed back. Maty was already cooking. I got the grill going and threw on the burgers.

Somehow everything came together at the appointed time. Everything, that is, except for our guests. They called to say they'd be about an hour late.

After the call, I was rueful.

I'd spent all that energy steering the car, steering the shopping cart, steering myself --steering to avoid, steering to save time --and I still ended up in the same place, with events unfolding in their own time.

 There is a larger lesson there somewhere.

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