Oh no you didn’t…

nascar pass-1

Do you ever have one of those days where it’s going great until something so bizarre happens that you can’t help but say “WTF?”  Unlike stories though, there is rarely any foreshadowing to real life craziness; the days are always perfect until they are not.

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, warm and sunny, typical for the end of September in SoCal.  I got up relatively early for the second day of my four-day weekend; sweated through my 7:15 am spin class; came home; took a long hot shower and casually read a wonderful short story by Grace Paley over breakfast before venturing out to run some errands.  After my last stop, I headed back home looking forward to spending the afternoon reading or painting.  As I’ve gotten older or just because I am trying to be one with the universe, I am conscious of being a polite and cautious driver.  I pull back and motion others into my lane, I keep a good distance between myself and other cars, and wave in gratitude for being allowed to pass.  Yesterday however, circumstances beyond my control channeled into my being a dangerous and uncontrollable spirit, a creature so powerful and unpredictable that it has come to me only once before.  It was intentional that time and only because it was necessary and in a controlled environment as I was behind the wheel of a real Nascar on a real race track.

I was happily listening to my tunes as I entered the freeway and merged into the driving lane as required well ahead of a dirty, beat-up, old, white four-door sedan.  I noticed the sedan change lanes, pull ahead and change back into my lane.  It seemed odd but not terribly disturbing.  Still needing to move left to catch the freeway home, I changed lanes again at which point the white sedan moved in front of me while the driver proceeded to wag his finger (WTF?).  Not believing what had transpired, I moved over again as a test and watched incredulous as the sedan scurried into my lane ahead while the driver wagged his finger again.  I understood then how Dr. Bruce Banner could be incapable of controlling the Hulk as I felt myself being taken over by  “Leadfoot”,  the native american spirit animal of speed but this time it was enraged.

First, Leadfoot lifted my hands and forced them into a simultaneous gesture so offensive I dare not describe it.  She then (because Leadfoot is female) scanned the freeway noting the placement of cars and open spaces and calculated the speed and distance required to blast between them. I tried to bargain with her, “It won’t work! It is not a movie” I said but Leadfoot now in complete control was positive the plan she’d formulated to entrap and elude the enemy would work and refused to listen.  Then, with the skill of an NFL quarterback, Leadfoot head faked left, casually drifting into the next lane long enough to engage the enemy.  When it was obvious that the enemy had committed to the lane change, she floored it to the far right, weaving through cars and pushing her white German stallion as though it was being chased by the devil himself.  At first, the enemy tried to follow only to find himself trapped by a surge of slower traffic and trucks as planned.  Soon, he was a mere white spec of dust in her rear view mirror.  When it was clear that we were no longer being followed, Leadfoot vanished leaving me panting and my heart racing.

The energy required to transform to Leadfoot and back left me famished and exhausted so that when I finally arrived home all I could do is grab a quick snack before crashing on the couch for a much-needed nap.  When I awoke, more than an hour later, the whole episode seemed too improbable, too much like a dream or rather a nightmare.  There are no dirty white Sedans who refuse to allow you to change lanes – are there?

Playing Adult Telephone

ConfusedScene: Southwest corner of the 6th floor in an office tower in mid Los Angeles.  Of the nine employees who inhabit the space on a somewhat regular basis only four are present – all women.  Woman 1 (Dark Helmet) – small, impish over sixty, wears her hair like a helmet; Woman 2 (Storm Trooper) – medium height, mid-fifties, stomps around the office, executes orders without thinking; Woman 3 (Maggie) – petite, young, sees everything, says nothing; and me (call me Hermione).

Dark Helmet:  “Storm Trooper can you come here for a second?”

Storm Trooper walks five steps from her cubicle to Dark Helmet’s: “Yes Dark Helmet”

Dark Helmet: “Can you tell Hermione that the invoice does not match the backup.”

Storm Trooper:  “Yes Dark Helmet.” Storm Trooper takes five steps in a slightly different direction to Hermione’s cubicle:  “Hermione. Dark Helmet says the invoice doesn’t match the back up.”

Hermione having heard the exchange, takes a deep breath and looks at the invoice she submitted over a week ago.  Dark Helmet is correct – the description says  7/13,20/17 but the attached report just says 7/20/17:  “It appears to be a clerical error.  Can I just correct it?”

Storm Trooper takes another five steps back to Dark Helmet’s cubicle: “Dark Helmet. Hermione says that it is a clerical error and asks if she can correct it?”

Dark Helmet: “Tell Hermione that she cannot change the invoice description – they will have to submit another invoice.”

Storm Trooper takes another five steps back to Hermione’s cubicle: “Dark Helmet says you cannot change the invoice, they need to submit another invoice.”

Hermione gets up and walks the five steps to Dark Helmet’s cubicle – irritated: “Is there any way that you can just ask me directly about this invoice?  I can hear you from my desk and it seems silly to have to talk through Storm Trooper.”

Dark Helmet: “It is Storm Trooper’s job to talk to you about the invoices and I am busy with other things.”

Hermione: “I am not adding to your work.  All I am saying is that if you are going to interrupt what you are doing to talk to Storm Trooper, it seems just as easy and more efficient to talk to me about my project.  I can hear you anyway.”

Dark Helmet: “Well I didn’t know what you were going to answer.”

Hermione is not sure how Dark Helmet’s response is apropos to the question: “So we all have to play telephone through Storm Trooper?”

Dark Helmet: “Yes”

Maggie snickers in her cubicle as Hermione walks away.

The total of the invoice in question is $400.00.