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Thursday, February 5, 2004

When I had the Saturn in for service two weeks ago, Jennifer mentioned again that I don't drive it enough. Actually, she didn't say that at all. What she said was, "If you go on any long trips in the next three months, bring it back in 3,000 miles. Otherwise, just bring it back in three months."

If I had many more days like today, I wouldn't have to wait three months. I was all over the place, and none too happy about it either. That's because most of the driving I did was to make up for other people's lack of urgency. They created my emergency trips hither (and also thither) by dithering away their own time. Because obviously, everyone else's time is more important than mine.

The insurance agent's time is so important that he couldn't possibly have told me two weeks ago that he would need a signed and sealed indemnity agreement by the end of this week. He had to wait until this Monday to tell me, knowing full well that the person who has to sign it is hundreds of miles away in another whole state (that would be the Boss (the person, that is, not the state, which would be Nevada)).

So I had to drive to Petaluma, where I always get lost, and deliver the signed agreement this morning, having gotten it back in the mail yesterday. Luckily, the Boss had signed it in all the right places, or we would have had a whole new set of emergencies.

I don't mind driving to Petaluma, but I don't care for driving in Petaluma. It's not as bad as Napa, where parallel streets eventually meet (and then you're going northeast and southwest at the same time). But it's bad enough, and I never fail to make several wrong turns. Once I stopped at a payphone so I could call and ask where I was, and how to get where I wanted to be.

This time was a little different. I printed out specific directions from Mapquest. I didn't exactly follow the directions, of course. I turned the wrong way coming off the freeway, but at least I had a general sense of where I wanted to go. I've been there before, but it was a long time ago. It would have been easier if I hadn't seen the scary "Changed Conditions Ahead" sign just before I got to where I thought I had to turn.

I know what the inside of the insurance agency's offices looks like. There's a receptionist at a big round desk, and behind her there's a carpeted wall with rounded corners, blocking off the cubicles and offices so that you can't see the individual agents. That's good, because I didn't particularly want to talk to the jerk who forced me to spend an extra hour of my morning driving. I just wanted to drop off the envelope and get out of there.

The trouble is, I couldn't remember what the outside of the building looked like. The numbers seemed to be going in the wrong direction, so I was looking for a place to turn around. I drove into a section of the industrial park and there, right in front of me, big as a — well, big as a building — was the insurance agency. So I stopped, gave my envelope to the receptionist, and then turned around.

It wasn't until after I got home from that traumatic ordeal that I found out the Boss had another emergency mission for me. There was a bid going in today, one that I didn't even know about. My job was to get it to FedEx in time to have it delivered to southern California before the bid opening time of 2:00 pm tomorrow. I told him to do that I needed it by 2:00 pm today.

He phoned several times and told me that he was still working on it, waiting for more prices to come in, and I should be ready to run with it when he got the final version ready. I waited and waited, getting more and more anxious. At 3:00 I finally got what I'd been waiting for.

I'd like to say I raced to FedEx, but you can't race anywhere in this town at that time of day. And the more of a hurry you're in, the slower the idiots in front of you go. I didn't care all that much, because it wouldn't have been my fault if I'd missed the last pickup. It would be nice to get this job, though, considering this is a slow time of year for us. So I tried my best, and I did get there, after the deadline but before the last pickup.

Later the Boss apologized for cutting it so close. He said, "I just can't seem to get these things to come together before the last minute."

So I said, "Well, it's a good thing this bid didn't have to go in yesterday then, isn't it?"

He sort of sheepishly commented that maybe in that case he would have had to let some of his other work go. Then why didn't you put that other work aside and get it done in time for me not to have to rush through traffic? Isn't my ulcer bad enough, without your fanning the flames day after day? That's what I didn't say.

3 February 2004

Clouds moving east to threaten someone else.

So, Jennifer, there you go. The reason I don't drive any more than I do is that I don't have to. If I had more days like today, I wouldn't need a car, because I'd be locked up somewhere with padded walls. (On the other hand, 3,000 miles in three months is only 33 miles a day. Many perfectly sane people drive much more than that. Or so I'm told.)

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Thank goodness for Survivor night at Tammy and David's. I took my famous (actually Clarence's famous (actually, Clarence's sister-in-law's famous)) potato casserole, which was just as good this time as the first and only other time I made it. And the kids were very entertaining. D.J. read to me out of a book he memorized. Dakota strapped himself into his booster seat and walked around with it hanging off his backside. (If only someone different had been voted off the island, it would have been the perfect happy ending to a long, long day.)

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Buried with The Grateful Dead, came back as a Parrot Head
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