Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taking a break

As is often the case, my gas tank is perilously near empty.  It used to happen that my father would graciously utilize my vehicle to run his weekly Saturday morning errands, after which he would fill up the tank for me.  Those days appear to be over.

I exit the building and dart across the parking lot to my waiting oven-like car.  I would prefer to stroll leisurely as it is a nice day, but I am on a mission and time is of the essence. 

In order to avoid being stranded on the side of the road during my lunch break, I make a pit stop at my local Petro Pad.  Pay-at-the-Pump has made my life so much easier, and I ponder this as I stand and wait for the tank to fill with regular unleaded gasoline.

When the pump shuts off, I carefully remove the nozzle so as not to squander any precious and overpriced liquid petroleum.  After my receipt is in hand, I depart.  The whole transaction has taken less than five minutes.  Perfect.

Today is my lucky day; all the stoplights are timed in my favor.  Before I know it, I am on the freeway on the way to my mission's destination:  my house.  In good traffic, this journey takes about 15-20 minutes.  Traffic is good today. 

I arrive in my neighborhood and wonder at the lush beauty of August in Minnesota after a good season of rainfall.  Unfortunately, I do not have time to stop and smell the grass in front of my house for too long.  I push the button for my garage door to open and drive in. 

After fumbling for my keys for what feels like several minutes, I am finally in the house.  I consult my list of tasks.  First is "dog meds."  This is because today is Lena's day for Heartguard and Frontline.  Like an absent-minded fool I neglected to take these with me before I left.  I grab these quickly as I have made a point to keep them in a central location to avoid 30 minutes of hunting through cupboards and closets.

Second on my list is "scarves."  In my rush to depart on Tuesday, I was not able to locate the black shawl/scarve that my mother asked to borrow for a wedding on Friday.  In the meantime, I have thought of another potential hiding place for this item, and I go to find it.  Eureka.  I make a split second decison to grab a pink and blue pashmina for myself.  Time is of the essence, you know.

Third on my list is "mail."  As this is located outside the house at the end of my street, I opt to move this to the bottom of the list and move on to the next item:  "chocolate."  My mother picked up some wonderful confections from DB Infusions of Madison, WI last weekend, and I need to have them with me so that they don't go bad before I get home this weekend.  Into the bag they go.

There is nothing else left on the list except for the mail, so I grab my bag and head out the door.  I briefly ponder whether it would be more efficient to walk to the mailbox or drive.  I decide to walk.  As usual, my mailbox lock fights the insertion of the key with extreme valor, but I prevail.  It is only a matter of time before the tide turns against me, but for today, I am victorious.

Thankfully, the piece of important mail I seek is NOT in the pile.  Oh well, you can't win them all.  I walk back to the house, throw all my listed items in the car, and back out of the garage.  Absently I push the button to remotely close the garage.  As I drive out through the neighborhood, I pause in a brief panic to try and remember if I closed the garage.  I consider looping back, but this would take too long and traffic on the return voyage can be unpredictable.  If someone wants to steal my old bike and the foosball table, oh well.

Sadly, the lights are not in my favor on this leg of my journey.  People are driving like slow-witted dust mops, and I grow impatient.  After what feels like two hours (but is only 10 minutes) I am back on the freeway.  I drive over the speed limit, but within the threshhold for tolerance.  I breeze into the parking lot just in the nick of time to find the my parking space is still available.  It's a small victory, but it pleases me.

I march back into the office and return to my desk, slightly out of breath, but ready to resume working. 

Mission accomplished.

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