When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.
--- Gertrude Stein
A Walk in the Woods
Pirates of Penzance
THE LINES CREEP ON APACE
4 August 2004
It was kind of a day of frustration all around.
Ive been putting off going to the post office, but I had a book that needed to get mailed out before I get together with our "altered book" group in a couple of weeks. I waited until afternoon, since noontime is usually the busiest time, but I was wrong.
I knew it was going to be bad when the parking lot was full and I had to wait for someone to pull out before I could park. I wasnt surprised to see the line of people waiting stretching out into the lobby. It looked like Christmas again.
When I saw that someone was mailing six huge boxes to D.C., I knew that it was going to be a long wait and was sorry that I hadnt brought a book with me.
Slowly, slowly, slowly we inched forward to the 3 clerks who were working. Even the passport line was long--much longer than Id ever seen it. Not surprisingly, the guys with the boxes took forever to finish.
Eventually I got the book mailed and bought some stamps (I was tickled to see that they now have Disney stamps). The crowd had thinned by the time I left and there were spaces in the parking lot. If only Id waited another hour before going out...
Next stop was another one Id put off for a couple of days. Our standing fan has developed a horrible, ear-shattering skreeching noise that makes it impossible to run. On these hot days, it is the standing fan that keeps us from using the air conditioner, so its kind of a necessity, if were going to be all ecologically conscious and stuff.
Walt saw a standing fan on sale at ACE Housewares for $15 and suggested I go down and get it. However, I put off going down for a couple of days and naturally, by the time I got there, the sale was over. Theyd sell me a nice fan for $50-60, but I couldnt have it for $15. I didnt buy it.
Leaving ACE, I got stuck in the worlds longest traffic line. Well, not by comparison with Bay Area standards, but definitely by Davis standards. ACE parallels the railroad tracks. I wanted to turn left out of the parking lot, but a train was passing by and there was a long line of cars in all directions and the line I was stuck in was all turning right. The cars coming in from the other side of the train tracks, the line I would have to merge with, stretched for four blocks and there was no way I could turn left at all.
Instead, I eventually turned right, then made a left turn at the next street, another left turn to get in the direction I wanted to be headed, and joined another long line of cars that had been stopped by the train and were now inching forward.
When we first moved to Davis, I remember that first day, driving down the middle of what I now know was "downtown" and wondering where "downtown" was. I was used to San Francisco and the tall department stores, crowds of people, greenery, public transportation. It took some getting used to, that Davis "downtown."
This also was the city of bicycles. Bikes were everywhere and while there were cars, if I had to park half a block from the store where I wanted to shop, that was crowded. Now the car seems to have replaced the bike as the preferred mode of transportation. Oh there are still bikes, but you dont see them in abundance like we used to (kind of like tomato fields, now that I think of it!). Finding a place to park in the middle of the day is a real challenge, and for the first time I encounter traffic jams in downtown Davis. Traffic jams! Whoda thunk? Now I know why I stay holed up in my house and dont go out unless I absolutely have to. Why it took me weeks to get to the post office to mail the book. Why I missed the fan sale at ACE Housewares.
After I got home, I had a note from our Brasilian son, who is living in the Czech Republic. Three or more months ago, he had asked me to get a copy of his high school transcript for him. But the high school wouldn't release it to me without his signature, so he had to send them a FAX from the Czech Republic. He did that at least two months ago and I have not seen the transcript, nor has he, though I sent them money for it. I have been unable to contact the high school.
I finally got through today and was told, cheerily, that she just assumed I'd be picking it up and that it had been sitting there for weeks. When I commented that it would have been nice if someone had told me that, she just laughed. Oh silly her. I grumbled. Though I just live 3 blocks from the high school, I asked her to send it. I figure after all this time, she can make the effort.
Im turning into my father. My father, the grumpy hermit, who barricaded himself in his house, who kept everybody away, who hated crowds, and who was the classic antisocial. All I am missing is a sign on the front door saying "If you havent been invited, youre trespassing on my property; get off" and the picture will be complete.
Its a good thing that I have to review plays and walk Sheila or I might never get out at all.