Driving for a Paycheck

I’ve finally figured it out! There are two signs on each car I drive seen only by Special Drivers. (Special, of course, meaning unusual, distinct, specific and obviously run-of-the-mill.)

I’m sure the sign on the front bumper says, “Pull immediately in front of me, proceed really, really slowly, and then wash your windshield.” The sign on the rear of the car has got to read, “Please tailgate.”

And don’t get me started on weekend traffic.

I’m not perfect, and I have vowed to change my ways: turning weaknesses into strengths like…say…cussing at, cursing, or calling other drivers dirty names. Currently, my employment involves driving various vehicles. I had almost made my nearly unachievable goal of being cuss-free for an entire week, but then...

Back up the truck to last Monday and find me buckled in, engine running and sitting at a stop light. With my own eyes I witness not one, not two, but three drivers speed past me and through the intersection—through the red light. What? Only one car was hit and it wasn’t mine. (I was happy as h*ll is hot about that.) Before I realized, words escaped over my tongue and between my lips for God and everyone with a window rolled down to hear. I called all three of the Special Drivers the same bad name.

Tuesday, different intersection and one car length ahead of me, a driver decides to change lanes. Oops—doesn’t see the car next to him. “D*mn, that’s gonna hurt.” The word blurted itself out of my mouth as though my voice had a brain of its own.

On Wednesday, I figured saying Sister and Brother to acknowledge the sobs are children of God too would be a good thing. Plus, and this is a big plus, instead of saying naughty words, I substituted good words. For instance, Sister Wad of Dip, Brother Adam Henry, Sister DS, Brother What are You Thinking? Are you thinking? Sister were you born (insert word of choice) or are you practicing for a contest? That kept the cussing away until a semi truck came inches from rear-ending my 2018 automobile.

Honestly, Thursday began with cussing. An oil truck, complete with a dirty, round tank, (one that either delivers clean auto oil or picks up used oil), was eastbound down Mt. Vernon hill. Rear brake (singular) was a-burnin’. I sped past that driver, who reminded me of a supervisor I once had—round and constantly smoking.

On that very Friday I created fictional—sort of—characters from dippy drivers I witnessed behind their wheels. Not one of my creatures received a dirty name! I know, b*tchin’, huh?

But I learned not all idiotic things happen while driving.

There I was delivering paperwork to the Jefferson County Courthouse (not my own). Alas, I was NOT in the now, not focused on the job at hand, head in an imagined book… I lost the one and only key to my employer’s new car. Wait—there’s more. Wearing out my shoes, I repeatedly raced to the parking lot to ensure the car was still there. The last time out, I ran into one of the sheriff’s deputies—he was on duty—Sh*t! Armor is stiff. In my defense, he stood on my side of the walkway.

I’m humbled now and mending my ways. However, I’ve enrolled in Cussing Anonymous because I still drive for a paycheck.

Why is it at least 60% of gray or white vehicles being driven in fog are done so without headlights on?

Why do people signal after they’ve changed lanes? Why do so many new vehicles have broken blinker bulbs? Why do blinkers not shut off after people have turned?

How in the world is it possible to read a Playboy Magazine and drive at the same time? (rhetorical question only)

I find my morning commute to work is indicative of the rest of the day.

When there are three lanes headed in the same direction, why can’t some drivers pick one—just one?

Phobia noun pho∙bia \ foe-bee-a

Actually, I’m okay with bees but those wasps, yellow jackets, mud daubers—whatever they’re called—freak me out.

Speaking of fears, take Steven King—but don’t keep him—that guy writes horrors few humans can possibly survive, let alone think of: Carrie, The Secret Window, The Shining...

Now that I think about it, I have an irrational fear of science fiction writers too. What if I sit by such a warped genius in say, an airplane? Yikes! (Yes, Ken. I know you write sci-fi.)

Why in the world is that movie, The Time Machine so popular? Bad movies, a whole different level of anxiety.

What about those people who write literary fiction and those who are professional poets? How in the world can I face them, let alone actually engage in a conversation?  Smile, nod, “Beautiful,” repeat. Smile, nod, “Beautiful,” will certainly show my lack of knowledge of the genre. Never mind the obvious inexperience with a thesaurus.

Two crows, Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off, who was left? Consequently my phobia of bad jokes.

Then there’s—Holy eight legs, Batman!  That’s a huge…found a big boot to stomp it, but lost track of the hairy, speedy little devil.

Now, where was I?

Then there are snakes. As a child, I loved being around gardener snakes here in Colorado. No lie. Then one day, deep in the Ozarks as friends and I sat on a river bank a long, thin thing rapidly sashayed across the water, showing off the inside of its mouth. My so-called friends ran off and left me captive in the life-threatening situation. That cottonmouth snake pretty much did in my love of reptiles.

Oh sure, then there’s the fear of failure. Fear of success. What?

What happens if I write and sell a good book? Good books? (Success and self-defeating behavior often travel side by side, at least in my world.)

Having actually finished THREE manuscripts, stories, possible books, future fame and fortune endeavors, I then thought about edits and rewrites followed by my critique group. (Insert uncanny music.)

Abruptly, I rediscovered false safety also known as putting off today what can wait until tomorrow, trepidation, apprehension…. My mind immediately puts out an SOS to my body in such situations.

What the…?

Dang spider. Where’d I put the boot? Hairy thing is fast.

Which brings me to thinking about that carnival ride, the spider? Octopus? Yuck.

Moving on. But now I can’t get roller-coasters off the brain. Oh, gee whiz…s l o w l y going up that big hill…DOWN! The stinking bar that’s supposed to keep me in sure feels loose. Crap, more height. A loop, who the, what the, WHY incorporate that in a ride? A loop. I don’t want to be sick in public.

Great! There’s one stall available in the women’s bathroom. An OUT OF ORDER sign is duct-taped across the seat. And there’s no TP.

So, returning to the fear of failure, the fear of success thing. When my mind puts out an SOS to my body regarding such situations, I am entangled in the fear that I’ll never eat chocolate again. I don’t know the correlation between the two, but I rush to the store:

Candles and Diet Pepsi are optional

Now I have to worry about a diet again. If…dang spider. Where’d it go now? Oh, my head itches.

Harry has escaped repeated efforts of photos and the bottom of my boot again.

 

 

The Drive-in Movies

There I was at Sam’s Club on 52nd near Wadsworth yesterday and that’s when the memory surfaced. This is where the drive-in used to be. (One of those places where families, friends and dating couples went to watch movies on a humongous screen while sitting in their car, one speaker hanging on a window.)

Ahhhh…

After our parents found the best in-the-middle-of-the-dirt-lot-parking-place, where we experienced the first surround sound system ever, (one speaker per car x 100+/- cars), us kids trotted to the playground in front of the gigantic screen. We played as far into the darkness as possible, until horns beeped, demanding children return to their respective car.
After the first seconds into the cartoon just about every mom, trailed by kids, walked for what seemed like miles to potty. Often the trip was on false pretenses because some kids just wanted to see the vast variety of available treats.

A friend of mine and her four sisters seemed to always walk in front of our car on their way to the restroom/refreshment bar and disrupted my concentration of Woody Woodpecker—until that night. They never showed.

Worried until I saw my friend at school the next day, she explained her mom was never taking anybody to the bathroom again, at least at the drive-in. If anyone in their family had to go, the only container available was an empty coffee can (in or behind the car) or the dirt parking lot because her mom was tired of missing over half of most movies.
Oh, the horror!

At age 16, the same friend and I enjoyed our first trip alone to the drive-in movie theatre. However, we missed the movie because of the romantic antics of the couple in the car in front of us.
The next thing I recalled was my friends and me were short of money for the drive-in, so we pooled our finances. Still short on funds, I volunteered to hide in the trunk of the car just until the driver found a place to park. That lasted about thirty seconds. I pounded and kicked and yelled to be let out. The attendant who took our money, (sort of like a person at a toll road booth), ran to the car and demanded the trunk be open. We were kicked out and told never to return.

However, at the prime age of almost 18, a (new) friend and I arrived at the same drive-in, in style—I drove a 1968 GTO with Hurst automatic racing gears. Oh yeah. We pulled next to the speaker pole—but too far from in front, and then I reversed—too far back. That’s when my car died. Not to worry, remember every car had a speaker. Besides, the show was Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie. You remember the one. Only the mime spoke.

To quote Skipper, the head penguin from the Madagascar gang, “Kowalski, analysis?”

You gotta love irony.

Tracker the #Cat

I don’t recognize myself in the mirror this morning; not a complete oddity. But what in the world caused the short, fresh scratches scattered on three-quarters of my face? Looks like teeth marks on my nose too—little teeth. But what’s really throwing me off is my…

Do you know what a beehive hairdo looks like? Actually, my hair resembles a Christmas tree made from multiple bird nests.

I’m raking through the mess of tangles and s l o w l y returning my hair to a semblance of my hair, and what do I find? One white whisker, two fake guppies, three half pieces of yarn, four minuscule bunches of brown, black and white fur; five milk jug lids, six feathers from a cat toy, seven pieces bordering on the cloth from a pretend mouse filled with catnip, or regurgitated food mixed with cat fur, eight undistinguishable…things, nine chunks from what I suspect was my favorite pair of flip-flops, ten plastic grasshopper legs, eleven chewed crayons, and a green foam ball.

Evidence doesn’t lie.

All I did was put us on a diet. My cat and I started together—he on his limited intake and me on mine. However, in order to save lives, I’m no longer dieting.

My cat seemed content when I went to sleep last night. Well, there was that one, okay two, three incidents right before I switched off the light. He was staring at me and meowing with the tactless sound only a half Siamese cat can make. R-r-r-r-r-yeeeeeeoooowlllll…meeeeowwww-a. Over and over. “No,” I said to him. “No milk, no meat, no chicken, no dry food.” (I tried not to laugh at his response: His eyes shifted from side to side as if he was thinking and then remembering what could possibly change my mind. After he lets out a loud, deep sigh, he turns his back to me and, oh if looks could kill, I’d be six feet under. My feline disappeared into the bathroom to dump the trash can and unwind the toilet paper. All of it.

Maybe I shouldn’t have laughed?

Who knows what will disturb a cat and when? Good thing he wasn’t really upset with me, or he would’ve put a paw over my mouth. The paw on the mouth thing—I believe—is not only when I sing. (After all, my voice sounds nearly professional when the radio is on…loud.)  I’ll have you know, my vocal abilities are no match to his feral yowls during the obscurity of night, or after he’s done playing in the water. No contest for eeriness there.

Tonight, I suspect he’ll attempt to take over my pillow when I’m sleeping to reiterate his point. Yeah, he slumps over maybe half of my favorite, can-only-sleep-with-this-pillow, pillow. Gradually, he pushes against the back of my head with his rear feet, claws extended, and then yawns. To top off the scenario, he then innocently bats his giant green-gold eyes at me when I turn on the light to see what in the world is happening to my head. (Never hurts to double check. He is a cat.)

Oh sure, now he’s curled up on the chair, head hanging off the cushion in one of his “I’m so adorably cute!” poses. Of course, he’s purring too. Ignoring and manipulating are more of his specialties—depending on his mood.

Spitefulness can be matched.

“Gosh, you know what I’ve forgotten?” I ask my above-average-intelligence cat. “The amount of weight the veterinarian said you need to lose. Oh dear, I’ve misplaced the vet’s phone number too. I suppose you will have to remain on your diet indefinitely.”

That got his attention.

Tracker: "I'm so adorably cute."