Could it be that I have more than my share of those kinds of days, or does everyone feel that way?
Every six months, I go in for a routine checkup, and my doctor always orders lab work a few days before my appointment. I’d just come out of the lab and I was a bit unsettled. After all these years, blood tests still make me nervous. I decided I’d stop and get a cappuccino before going to the office, a little treat for being such a brave boy while getting stabbed by the vampires.
I pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store, but as I was preparing to exit my vehicle, which had already drawn attention because it’s a noisy little buggy – not because it’s supped up, but because it’s old and worn out – I dropped my keys between the seat and the console. With a Dodge Neon, this is no small problem. The chasm is deep but narrow, and, like a black hole things go in but they don’t come out. At the bottom of the canyon, my keys mocked me. I snaked my hand down into the crevice but managed only to brush the edge of the key ring. Refusing to be defeated by the got-you-now engineering joke, I shoved my hand deeper. The horn started honking and the lights began to flash. My keys were still lodged deep in the black hole, though I’d managed to hit the panic button on the remote. Now I really had everyone’s attention. My dilemma had escalated to the point of fight or flight. Deciding to fight, I jumped from the car, jerked open the backdoor, and threw myself onto the floorboard where I made a few moves that would make a seasoned contortionist envious. Somehow I managed to get the keys and shut down the spectacle.
Walking nonchalantly past the snickering crowd of onlookers, I made my way into the store and went directly to the bathroom. I needed to wash my face and hands. Anyway while in the room of rest, I noticed a sign fastened to the stall wall, which read: Rent movies here for $1.00, but I ignored it. It seemed like a good deal, but I didn’t plan to stay that long.
Back at the office, each time I would take a sip of cappuccino, since the vent hole was improperly installed, the cup made a noise. Perhaps I was giddy from loss of blood coupled with a shot of caffeine, but as I read the brand name of the cup it occurred to me that I was actually whistling Dixie.
A few days later, being scheduled for a book signing during an open-house gala at the library, I drove to Chelsea, Oklahoma. Admittedly, not knowing how long it would take me to get there, I arrived a bit early. However, the library had provided a nice table for me. It would take a while to get set up. Ten minutes later, I sat behind the table, feeling a little out of place. I usually appreciate libraries being quiet, a bit of a rarity these days, but hearing particles of dust collide with the floor was a bit more than I was prepared for. I checked my watch. Only three hours to go. Later, I heard a train whistle, and I imagined Johnny Cash’s inspiration behind, Folsom Prison.
I’m just kidding around, about the library anyway. Actually I had a great time. Everyone treated as if I was an old friend, a respect that humbled me. Being in Chelsea reminded me just how much of a treasure small-town America really is. I grew up in a one. At least Sand Springs used to be.