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Memo from The Universe

October 14, 2005

To: Karen
Subject: That Was Fun

Feeling pretty good this morning, weren’t you? Got those last pieces of swag done and still had time to pop into Kroger for those few things that Mr. Karen didn’t get when he stopped the other night and probably couldn’t have bought even if he’d had the list with him because while you know exactly what you meant when you wrote “fish oil pills” and “face cloths” neither is specific enough for someone who is not you to figure out exactly what you needed. You took in stride when you couldn’t find sunscreen because they’ve packed it all away in favor of cold medicine–gotta love seasonal merchandising, though it does seem like all that bare shelf space where the psuedoephedrine used to be could have been put to better use. It even looked like you might be a bit early to work, which would have been nice because it’s Friday and maybe you could have left a bit early too and gotten a head start on the weekend.

But I just couldn’t let that happen–you were too relaxed, too comfortable, too happy. I know you’ve been avoiding heading north to the freeways since I started that construction project which has half the lanes closed and in which people continue to try to turn left even though the new signs say “NO”, thus adding to the construction backup. Did you like how I arranged for your alternate route to be completely blocked this morning? You don’t have to answer that–I know you didn’t. I watched your face as you crawled through the industrial park to get around the closure. You weren’t happy. You wondered why the police weren’t out directing traffic at the exit from the park in order to move people through there more efficiently. I know you decided it was probably because the entire on-duty contingent was occupied with the closure–a squad car at each end and a couple investigating the accident in between, that’s four and that might be all that there are on the streets at any one time. That’s when I arranged for the police car to drive right by on the road you were trying to turn onto–just so you’d know I was messing with you. There were more police available, but they weren’t going to make the situation any better for you right then.

I gave you some time to relax again after you finally made it to the freeway. I didn’t want to make you suffer the whole way to work, and besides, it then had a much greater impact when you saw the effect of the construction project I started this morning on a road you don’t even take. I’m pretty proud of that one. You heard about it on the radio–the lane closure, the multi-mile backup that resulted–and felt glad you don’t even try to take that route in the mornings (except on holidays). But what the traffic report didn’t say was that it wasn’t just a lane I’d closed–it was an exit, and all the people who’d normally take that are now going to end up right in your path. Brilliant. You were so screwed. And yes, that bridge construction near the end of your trip is still going on, too, and will be for a while. How long? As if I’d tell you. When they’re done with the one side, maybe I’ll have them start again on the other. You don’t know. You can never know.

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