I went to the north country for materials for my blocking class. Everyone makes a mini blocking board using a chair cushion, a yard of gingham and some duct tape. A certain chain fabric store north of my home has only one cushion. I need more than one. I ask them to call the next closest store - about an hour and a bit south - to see if they've got any. The clerk assisting me offers generously to do so. If she can find the number.
So I stand and wait while they search. There is no easy to find, well-labeled list of local stores. It's all a big mishmash, not alphabetical, not by state even, but by store number. So unless you have the store numbers of all area or regional stores memorized, it's hunt and peck. I mention "Information?" but either no one hears me, or they choose to ignore me. I am not certain. I prefer to think they could not hear me, because really they seem rather pleasant and helpful otherwise. Finally they find the number. They call. I wait more, standing. The other store has got cushions - 10 of them. They will hold them for me for 24 hours, but all I need is one or two hours really. I buy the gingham (10 yards) and head out for my next stop - tax-free duct tape. I need to make the trip worth something. I decide on the local Target because they have a Starbucks, and I think I deserve something.
In Target I realize a few things. First, I apparently take larger steps when I am in a hurry. Second wearing cowboy boots with a 2.5" heel is a bad choice if your innards are still a bit tender, whether you are standing or moving. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the duct tape is in the back of the store in a corner. Under a pile of paint brushes, right next to a big lady who doesn't want to move who's wearing a large amount of perfume. And the store seems very big all of a sudden. Very, very big. After distracting the lady guarding the paint brushes, I grab my tape and make for the front, slowly, convincing myself that I am "shopping". There has to be an excuse for walking slowly in Target. I remember that I need a salad spinner for this class since the washer in the classroom has died a well-earned death, and I need to spin dry students' swatches. I get back to the registers at the same time everyone else does. How does this happen? As I enter the line, people are jockeying for position, knocking into each other with their shopping carts. There's a lot of glaring and hostility. I keep my eyes front, and my head down. I got a good spot. But I am, as a result, in line. Standing in line. I am no longer enjoying standing. The girl ahead of me has some sort of disease for which she's acquired a prescription, but not enough sense to cover her mouth or use a tissue on her nose. Now I know why this line was so short. I touch nothing. I get done with line.
A positive thing happens at the Starbucks kiosk - I ask for a venti (splurge!) nonfat decaf cinnamon dolce latte and the girl says "Would you like sugar-free syrup in that?" (Why yes I would!) She's lovely and I want to take her home with me. I jokingly say "There's not much left in there now that I've taken out the fat, the caffeine and the sugar!" She laughs a very real laugh, smiles and says "I can give you some whipped cream?" I decline, but am grateful for the offer. She is still lovely and I still want to bring her home. But with the barista tools and stuff. I could keep her in the pantry and she could make me lattes all day long. Nonfat, decaf, sugar-free lattes...
I head south. I get to a small town in NH which is not exactly the cradle of civilization. In fact, it's often referred to locally as "the land that time forgot". And apparently something exciting is happening this town, right this minute. Traffic is stopped in all directions, and no one will move so I can turn around and escape. There's police and fire men and gas men but no one to direct traffic, and they are all very, very busy. Very busy indeed. Big doings. I manage to get turned around and find myself on what appears to be a glorified cow track which I think in winter must just close right up, since it's not wide enough for a plow. Somehow I avoid the entanglements along the way, pods of other folks who made a right a bit too soon and are now in a worse position than they were before. I find myself back in a small pile of traffic - made entirely of confused out of state folks who do not understand where they should or can go. Finally I escape, but only after gently nudging an old lady from CT into the river. But she asked for it. It was her own fault. Indecision on the road is bad. Even a bad choice is better than no choice when the driver behind you is in pain and has another hour behind the wheel just to get to the cushions. And if her car had been a little bigger I would not have been able to get my bumper under hers that way.... I am, by this time, dying. I want drugs. I want my chair. I am not happy.
Girl calls. She and Miss Tray-Tray are annoyed that I am not going to have time for a manicure and pedicure, and that I no longer feel up to one even if I had the time. I punish them for their insolence by sending them to retrieve my chair pads. They're lucky I went easy on them.
I am home now. There are drugs here. And my chair. I hope they find the old lady in the river, when they're done with the big excitement at the Gas n' Go.