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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


This is Steven Petrick posting.

Leanna and Jean decided to go see a play, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." The play, however, was in Oklahoma City. I had no interest in the play, but offered to do the driving as, frankly, I kind of enjoy driving for the most part, and am largely familiar with the route, it being part of the route we normally take when we go to Origins.

As I did not intend to see the play, I opted to bring a book along that I would peruse while the ladies were at the play, one of several I have read of late on the Normandy landings. To make certain I would not forget the book, I tossed it in the back of Leanna's car, the vehicle selected for the trip, the evening before the trip.

The day of the trip we all piled into Leanna's car, while SVC remained behind to babysit the dog. It was a pleasant day for a drive, with clear skies and not very high temperatures. We made quite good time, and with the exception of having to find the correct exit (the only thing not specifically noted) had no trouble finding the convention center. Leanna, in point of fact, made it a point to hand me the directions at our lunch stop so that I had time to commit them to memory (there were not a lot of them) rather than having her or Jean try to read them to me as I drove.

This capped off the first leg of a relatively uneventful trip (well, it turned out that the originally selected spot for lunch was out of business, and we missed the exit for it in any case, and circling back proved an adventure as the west bound on ramp was also closed when we tried to turn back). We had, as it turned out, started early enough on our trip that this did not impose an impossible delay.

Having arrived and found parking, the ladies were ready to head in and I went to the rear of the car to get my book . . . which was not there.

The evening before Leanna saw the book and (since SVC and I have very similar reading habits) thought it was one of SVC's books and took it out of the car and left it on the counter at her home. So I was now left with nothing to really occupy my time while I was waiting.

This was a case of "Murphy's law," but I am well acquainted with Mrs. Murphy's darling little boy in my life, and have over time come to the attitude that "if the world will not end as a result" I take such things in good humor. I could not help but laugh at the situation.

Leanna and Jean enjoyed their show, but could not help discussing what I was going to do. Leanna thought I would read the newspaper, which I had tossed in the car for her to read on the trip. The paper arrives so late in the day now that I seldom have time to read it before heading to work, so I had not read it that morning. However, I rarely read the whole paper as I have almost no interest in sports or human interest stories. Leanna was right that I did read more of the paper than I would normally in an effort to keep my brain occupied; even so, the paper did not take up a lot of the time (and even in this emergency I could not make myself read the sports section). Jean thought I would take a catnap, and as it happens was also correct in that I reclined the driver's seat, opened the driver's side window and dozed for a bit.

All the above, however, still left hours to kill. Experience has taught me that my brain is not a safe place to wander around in, so I do normally try to keep it occupied (driving, working, reading, watching television, anything other than just thinking). You really, really, do not want to know what goes on in my mind when it is more or less completely taken off the leash. It tends to go exploring questions and concepts that are not for polite, or even civilized, society.

Eventually I had to go for a walk to find "facilities" and discovered that about a fourth of the convention center is surrounded by "police operations." I discovered this when a police car stopped next to me, and out of habit I stopped, wondering what the officer wanted. This was another case of Murphy, as the officer wanted nothing to do with me, but was heading into a building, but because I had stopped to look at him, he wondered what I wanted. A short conversation soon resolved the non-verbal miscommunication and directed me to where I could find facilities after a short walk.

After I got back to the car, I began noticing people moving to parked cars elsewhere in the location, although not right where I was parked, and even so deduced that the play was over. A short while later Leanna called and confirmed the end of the play and that it would take them a while to catch an elevator down from the fourth floor, so I engaged in a little traffic control while I waited. Things worked out well as most of the vehicle traffic had cleared from the parking area by the time they got to me, and we were easily able to get back on the move and regain the main artery home.

We did have a few traffic incidents on the trip (a pick up truck apparently had its passenger side front wheel come off the rim, and at one point a tractor trailer pulled into the passing lane we were in necessitating coming down on the brakes a little harder than I liked, among a few other things), but over all the actual driving was uneventful and we were soon back in Amarillo where Jean was reunited with her dog and Leanna with SVC and I was on my way home.