Stranger Still

StarngerStillYesterday was hectic. I had forgotten that Betty wanted me to attend the retirement fair and as it so happens it is on the same day that I made an appointment to meet with David. Nevertheless I would somehow do it all. So off I went at 11 AM sharp to meet with David at his house. The drive there was mostly uneventful until I got to Charleston. Even then there was nothing of note until I reached a construction zone that covered the rest of this supposed shortcut; which became instead a torturous; slow crawling nightmare.

Then I was on El Camino Real but not too sure of where to turn left When I saw Ventura. I got into the left turn lane only to discover the street I wanted was one more block further up; however all I could do at that point was a U-turn. After which I made another U-turn to get past Ventura and as there was no direct left on Military, I had to pass it and make yet another U-turn to get to the street upon which David lived; Magnolia. Needless to say each and every U-turn required a very patient wait until the green arrow said it was OK to proceed.

I turned the corner and immediately spotted a house with a large storage container in the driveway. There was no where to park but with one more U-turn I was able to park on the other side of the street. Now I felt persecuted with all the (expletive deleted) U-turns I was forced to make.

David was home and proudly showed me their house but only after I removed my shoes as they have a thing about preserving the newly installed wooden floors. Afterwards we walked to a local Thai restaurant they frequent which had food that was tasty but a bit too sweet and also too spicy for my tastes. However it was good and I ate most of it. We talked about David’s new job with two former bosses and then I got into the government conspiracies and the lies we have all been told with regards to Nine Eleven (9/11). I believe I got a bit boisterous and then I became self-conscious as other customers in nearby tables started glancing my way. But as with most Asian restaurants the background itself was loud with conversation thus making one shout just to be heard.

We finished lunch and headed back to David’s house where I determined I had just enough time to tour what he was working on in his backyard and then I was off to meet with Betty. I got to the Marriott and got directions from one of the employees as to where to park. I went to the indicated gate and punched the button, got my magnetic paper card; passed through the gate and parked on the first floor of an outside two story parking lot.

The signs to CalPers were easy to follow; though the distance from where I was parked was considerable. While waiting for Betty I toured the booths twice and finally found and sat in a comfy chair against the wall of the main hallway. After a bit I saw a familiar face; Kevin. I asked if he had seen Betty and he thought a moment and said “No”. More time passed; I tired of sitting; I got up and wandered around some more; thereby finding my wife at a booth interested in signing up citizens for the cause of protecting our pensions.

We stayed together but a short time as I had seen all that I could twice over and then some. She said she was sorry she was late and though she was disappointed that I wanted to leave I felt my time would be best spent elsewhere. Primarily because I was tired; but mostly because I was missing my nap! I got back to my car; drove up to the gate; tried to use what had been spewed out earlier on the other side of same; nothing. It would not raise to let me pass. I kept pressing the assistance button until a voice said that someone was on their way. They came that same considerable distance I had just covered; thus it took some time before they arrived. I watched them approach and it reminded me of how at the ocean one might sometimes see a ship appear on the horizon and slowly become larger as it tugged its way closer.

I was told it would cost me $5 for parking. I was too tired to argue and handed over a five dollar bill after which the gate was lifted. Now in a daze I drove off. Somehow I made my way back home safely; to the couch; with the TV loudly blaring; I promptly lost consciousness.

While truth is stranger than fiction; what I am telling you here is stranger still.