So, we have an elderly friend, MILlie, who moved into town a year ago. MILlie needs to go to a doctor. Instead of choosing from one of the thousands in San Antonio, she wants to see her former doctor. Which is fine. Except that he is 2 hours away. And MILlie doesn’t drive. For a recap of the beginning of this story, you can go here.
After finally getting the doctor’s correct name from MILlie, assuring her that I did, indeed, intend to have her accompany me on the trip, doing an internet search, calling a wrong number that directed me to the right number, calling the right number only to be told I needed to give them more information which I didn’t have, calling MILlie to get More Information, calling back to give them More Information, not being asked when I called back the second time for the More Information..
I made an appointment.
We were in business. I marked the date on the calendar for MILlie’s appointment and cleared my schedule for our road trip.
MILlie came over a few days ago.
“I need you to cancel that appointment,” she said.
I raised an eyebrow. At least that’s what I think I did.
“May I ask why?” I cautiously said.
She pulled out an entire section of the newspaper from her purse.
“I was afraid you were going to argue with me, so I brought this as proof,” she said.
“Don’t Ever Drive in this Town Two Hours Away Because The Roads Suck and You Will Die a Horrible Death” the headlines said. Or something to that effect.
“The roads are terrible there because all of the oil trucks are ruining them, and I would hate for something to happen to you just because you were driving me to the doctor,” MILlie said.
The roads are terrible here, too. But, I did not point this out to MILlie. Part of me was jumping for joy that I wouldn’t be going on the road trip, part of me was resenting all of the time I spent planning this adventure, and part of me was thinking about the last time I took MILlie to a doctor in town – which was not an experience either one of us would like to re-live. The environmentally concerned part of me was ticked off at all of the oil trucks, and the financially desperate part of me was wondering how I could cash in on this whole oil thing…
MILlie said, “So you don’t mind canceling the appointment?”
“Are you okay with me picking a doctor here in town?”
I gulped. ”Alrighty then. I will get right on that.”
As soon as MILlie was gone, I called the 2 Hour Away Doctor. ”Uh, do you guys have a recommendation for a doctor here in San Antonio?” I asked.
“We’ll have someone call you back with that information.”
I’m still waiting.
Something tells me I’m going to wish I’d made that road trip.
A few months ago, I wrote about one of my parking pet peeves – Backer Inners. Now, I have a confession to make.
The reason that Backer Inners drive me crazy (no pun intended) is because I am a Wait Arounder.
I know. You hate me.
I am one of those
vultures people who drive through a parking lot, looking for cars that are about to pull out. When I see people entering a car, I glide to a stop a few feet from their spot, and put on my turn signal to politely indicate that I plan to use that spot as soon as they vacate it.
One of my friends despises Wait Arounders. She deliberately takes her time getting into her car, adjusting her mirror, checking her makeup, shaving her legs, etc…, until the Wait Arounder eventually gives up and goes hunting for another spot.
I am worried that one day, my friend will be in a parking lot and I will inadvertently Wait Around, not knowing that she is the person in the car, and it will become a Stubborn Test of Wills that will end up on the 6:00 news.
I may be a Wait Arounder, but I am a well-mannered Wait Arounder. Unlike the one I encountered today.
Dimples and I left a restaurant, and got in our car. I turned on the air, and then thought it might be good to check my iPad to see if her books had come in at the library so we could swing by to pick them up.
I heard the honk, and looked around. There were two cars parked pretty close to each side, but they were empty. No one was behind me.
“What was that?” Dimples asked. ”Was that you?” She likes to blame me for anything that irritates her.
“No. I think someone was just locking their car.”
Honk. Honk. HONKETY HONK HONK!
I looked a little bit farther. A truck was waiting, and the driver was looking at me angrily. He was a Wait Arounder. And he was rudely insinuating that I was being rude by not Backering Out.
I thought about my friend, the Anti-Wait Arounder. I knew what she would do.
Dimples looked at me expectantly. I have been trying to teach her to be more assertive.
But the truck driver looked rather big and red-faced. And possibly shotgun carrying.
I have also been trying to teach my daughter to stay alive.
I pulled out of the spot.
“Some people are so impatient,” I said to Dimples in a calm voice. I turned up the radio.
And said some very not nice things under my breath about rude Wait Arounders.
That’ll teach him.
As you may know, mattresses and I have a somewhat turbulent relationship. Lately, it seems as though we have mattresses coming out of our ears. Which is an interesting mental image when you think about it…
Conversation between Cap’n Firepants and me as we are driving along the highway:
Me: What are we going to do with the 40 year old mattresses that we just picked up from your mom’s apartment?
Cap’n Firepants: I don’t know. I think when we order the new mattresses that they will pick up the old ones.
Me: From our garage?
Cap’n Firepants: What the -
He swerves to avoid a box spring mattress that is lying in the middle of Highway 281, with its guts, including wooden boards, strewn all over the highway.
Cap’n Firepants: Someone is going to get really screwed up by that.
Me: I think I figured out what we can do with those mattresses.
On Monday, Dimples and I began our Spring Break Adventure with the Globetrotters. (Dimples is my 9 year-old daughter. The Globetrotters are our world-traveling relatives, who live in Houston. The fact that they travel a lot is ironic, when you think about it – since the actual basketball playing Globetrotters are probably not allowed to “travel”.)
Dimples never seems quite certain about my navigation skills. I try to tell myself that it is not me that Dimples lacks confidence in, but that it is the Houston drivers. Of course, that doesn’t explain her saying, 5 minutes after I have backed out of our San Antonio driveway, “Are you sure you’re going the right way, Mom?” But I think most people would forgive her for tremulously asking, “Do you want me to read the directions to you?” as I glance down at my trusty Google print-out on the seat beside me once I reach Houston, and the windows of our car begin to vibrate while cars whiz past.
If you have never driven in Houston, you must try it some time. It will make you appreciate the love that Texans have for concealed weapons.
While we were in Houston, we learned that it had just been named #3 of the Worst Places to Drive.
Mrs. Globetrotter hails from St. Paul, MN – coincidentally chosen by the same magazine as the home of the best drivers.
You can see how driving in Houston might be frustrating for Mrs. Globetrotter.
“I hate Backer-Inners!” she seethed as we were hunting for a parking place on Tuesday at the Houston Galleria.
I have to agree. Backer-Inners are very irritating. I do not understand the need to spend 10 minutes to back into a parking space so that you can quickly whip out of it when you are finished with shopping. I am pretty certain that, if you did the math, it would take you less time to pull in forward, then back out quickly over the crowds of shoppers when you are done. Then you have the extra bonus of having rid the world of a few more Real Housewives of Houston.
But, neither Mrs. Globetrotter or I am from Texas. So we apparently are unable to understand the logic of Backer-Inners.
We also saw Backer-Inners at Target, the underground parking garage for the 3-story Restoration Hardware, and the Kemah boardwalk.
The only time I have been jealous of Backer-Inners is when we are leaving a concert at 11 P.M., and they have the advantage of Forwarding-Out into the line of traffic that has wound around the 10 levels of the parking garage while we stare at the wall and forlornly turn on our car lights hoping that someone will take pity on us and patiently hold up the rest of the line while we try not to hit poles or other cars as we counterintuitively reverse into the traffic.
I don’t know if Backering-Innering is what put Houston close to being the best at being the worst, but considering that the majority of drivers are maneuvering oversized trucks into spaces designed for compact cars, the mystery becomes even more confounding. Everything is bigger in Texas – except the parking spaces.
Dimples never questioned the driving of Mrs. Globetrotter while were in Houston, so I suppose that’s a sign. I don’t know why the kid thinks I’m a bad driver. Her aunt is the one with the nickname “Crash”. And I did not learn how to drive in Texas. I learned in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the drinking age is 3, the driving age is the first time your dad passes out at the wheel, and there’s no need to park when you can get drive-thru daiquiris.
Dimples got a new book yesterday, “How to Be the Best at Everything”.
Since, I have been striving to be perfect for over 40 years, I was eager to read a 100 page book that would let me in on the secret.
So I randomly opened the book to one of the middle chapters to see what information Fate wanted me to glean first.
How to Improve Your Memory
Really? Could the darn book have been more prescient? I mean, it’s like the author was actually one of the two people who read my blog. My memory problems are what I complain about on a regular basis as I try to get people to believe that aliens or terrorists are trying to wipe out our remarkable recall skills by poisoning our food.
This is how bad my memory is. Two years ago, I got a ticket driving in a school zone on a street that connects the two schools where I work. Don’t get me started on how there is no school in sight of the actual zone, or that it’s not one of those helpful, solar-powered flashing light signs. Or that there were no students anywhere in the vicinity because they were actually IN SCHOOL!
As you may have perceived, I was pretty p.o.’d about that ticket. And the attitude of the police officer did not improve my feelings.
You would think, with the strong emotions that episode yielded, I would be more careful from then on in the school zone.
Nope. Oh, I spent a few months driving way out of my way to avoid the school zone altogether, but I finally decided that was ridiculous. All I had to do was not speed. Jeez, how hard is that?
Apparently, for me, pretty friggin’ hard. Here is a typical trip from one school to t’other during the school zone time:
I get in the car and lecture myself that I must remember the school zone. I pull out of School #1‘s parking lot at 20 mph, and turn the corner. I go down the street that leads out of School #1’s neighborhood, chanting the mantra, “School Zone, School Zone, School Zone” the entire time.
I reach School Zone street, but it’s not the Zone yet. It’s 35 mph. “Don’t forget, don’t forget, don’t forget.”
I start thinking about what Wonderbutt might be currently redesigning in my house. Pass the School Zone sign. Crap. “YOU FORGOT AGAIN. YOU ARE SO LUCKY THERE ISN”T A COP WAITING RIGHT THERE. SLOW DOWN, YOU FOOL!”
Red light. Still in the School Zone. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Wonder what my next blog is going to be about…
Green light. Let’s go!
Pass the end of the School Zone sign. Crap! “YOU FORGOT AGAIN! WHAT, ARE YOU A COMPLETE IDIOT THAT YOU CAN’T REMEMBER SOMETHING THIRTY SECONDS LATER?”
Wait a second. What was I talking about?
Oh, yeah. The book. I have a feeling this chapter is not really going to help me.
I’m going to check out the chapter on “How to Survive an Alien Invasion” instead.