Adventures on the Road

Having survived the stomach flu yesterday along with a serious ribbing from my coworkers and friends for it, I felt well enough to attend my Japanese class followed by a trip to Colorado Springs for a Reformed Church conference tomorrow (I didn’t want to travel through Denver either way tomorrow with the World Series in town). It has been an interesting day to say the least.

After my Japanese class, I was heading back to the highway and had already spotted a gas station with the cheapest prices. I pulled into the place and was amazed to see bare-bones pumps. All that was there was your choices for grade and that was it. No pay at the pump or any other gizmos that one sees in most other gas stations these days. Seeing others going to the small window of the nearby building, I followed suit.

Inside, a grizzled, overweight woman in her 60’s sat, looking like she hated her life. I suppose if I were in my sixties and was stuck in some small room taking money for gas through a small window all day long, I’d hate my life too. Anyway, I told her I wanted to fill up which seemed to throw her a bit. After all, everyone else was saying things like, “$2o on pump 1. $15 on pump 2,” etc. She told me the only way I could fill up was to leave a credit card or cash. Either way, I was leaving something valuable. So even though it troubled me to do so, I left her my card. After all, there are countless other ways for people to steal the number other than some old lady in a box taking money for gas. I did my thing and had no troubles with her.

The next bit of fun happened on the Interstate as I drove through Denver. Traffic was fairly heavy, though going the speed limit (55 mph). I was in the far-left lane of 4-5 lanes since speeds were a tad faster there. At some point, a car tried racing up in the lane to my right, obviously in a great hurry but with no where to go. So, he briefly decides to come over to where I am anyway but since he is in a car and I have an SUV, I decided that he could just hit me and I’d hammer him other ways. Since I didn’t move and he had no where else to go, he went back into his lane and then slipped behind me as I and the cars in front of me passed cars in the lane to our right.

The moment there was a break in the cars on the right, he again tried to race up as if he could cut in front of me. However, because I was keeping up with the cars in my lane, he again found himself with no where to go but to slip back in behind me. Then for the third time, he found another break in the cars and racing into the lane to my right, he again attempted to see if he could cut in front of me, but that was impossible. Since his windows were completely blacked out, I couldn’t see the driver’s reaction, but someone driving like that is sure to be highly pissed to not get what they want.

So this time instead of slipping back behind me, he tried going to the next right lane. He tried to race ahead again, but the traffic was just to heavy to allow him to do what he wanted. As a result, he fell further behind me. For a mile or so, I watched as he tried to make advances by using every lane he could, only to continue to fall further and further behind. Eventually, I lost sight of him in the throng of cars. I figured eventually he’d succeed and he’d be racing up to cut me off again. However, I never saw him again.

Some 45 miles later, I’ve made it through Castle Rock and am cruising at a nice rate of speed. A truck from Washington signals they are merging into the left lane and so I let them in. A female hand comes out of the driver’s side of the truck and waves at me, and I wave back to acknowledge them. We cruise along and a couple of miles later, a female hand holding a cup emerges from the passenger’s side of the truck and releases the cup. I’m far enough back that I see the cup bounce off the Interstate before it flies up and hits me in the windshield, splattering the remains of a shake on the glass. Nice. I love quality people like that. They raced on and since they were now traveling well over my limit, I was glad to see them go.

I get to my hotel with no further problems and set up shop in my smoky-smelling non-smoking room. I take off to drop off a load of video tapes to the Goodwill that is just a few blocks away. I was stunned to see that not only that the Goodwill were doing some major business today based on people having to park everywhere, but there was a lengthy line of cars for the drop-off dock at the back of the store. Since the drive to the dock is fairly lengthy, there were at least a dozen cars along that drive and three of us still on the road. Two of us were in the center turn lane. The other decided to make his left turn to get into the drive but there was no way he could, so he’s blocking an entire lane of traffic. Fortunately for him, the street we were on had light traffic.

Still, the few cars that came through showed their drivers irritation at having to snake around someone blocking an entire lane of traffic. For his part, the driver was as close to the car in front of him as he could get without touching her bumper. For her part, she was over a half car-length behind the vehicle in front of her and chatted away on a cell phone as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Personally, I suspect she knew the man in the minivan was behind her and blocking traffic, but she wasn’t going to move up since he was the dummy to turn as he did and block traffic.

Surprisingly, even though the number of cars continued to grow, the guys working the doc were very efficient and I don’t think I ended up waiting five minutes before one jumped the gun and tried to empty out the back of my SUV. I had to tell him the stuff was in the back seat.

With that out of the way, I was off to my credit union to drop off $3.50 in rolled up pennies (they don’t have an office where I live). I drove over and got an ugly feeling when I pulled into the empty customer parking lot and a group of people were emerging from the credit union building. Sure enough, they had been closed for nearly 30-minutes because who would want access to a credit union after 2pm? Apparently I’m the only smeg head who would. I did note with some irritation that some other banks and credit unions in the area were still opened and I remembered that I’d been sent a survey in the mail from my credit union. Maybe it was time to fill that sucker out and say “thanks” for staying open so late on Saturday.

Well, I could drop the penny rolls in the collection plate, so I decided that I would swing by Carl’s Jr. to grab a burger. I haven’t had one in over a year and since it was a block or so away from the credit union and I could smell the burgers, why not? It didn’t take me long to figure out why not. The drive thru lane moved ever so slowly. Eventually, the car in front of me got to the speaker and we waited for five minutes. I couldn’t believe it. Then a punk drove up behind me and began to casually smoke while staring at me constantly for over a minute and blowing smoke in such a way as to be blowing it at me (though it never reached me). I decided that Carl’s Jr. could do without my business and left the drive thru lane to see no one holding up the works and someone at the drive through window looking dumb. I bet that would have made me sick again.

So I picked up some Fazoli’s and made it back to my smoky room so I could rant on the blog. Isn’t my life special. ^_~

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