Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude ~ a post mortem


Here goes: Yes yes yes, I’m thankful.  I’m so very thankful.  La la la la la la la.  Neener neener.  Yadda yadda yadda.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am extremely grateful for the many marvels in my life every flippin’ day.

Wait.  OK.  I seem to have a tone.  Let me start again.

How about this weather!?  On Thanksgiving!  We are so lucky! 

We really are very lucky not to be sitting in the airport in Paducah, Kentucky, staring at the string of cancelations on the departure board. 

Just like Sigourney Weaver in “Alien,” when she discovered that she and her cat Jonesy were trapped in the escape pod WITH the alien and nothing to wear but cotton bikinis and a space suit.  You remember her famous line:  “Lucky, lucky, lucky!”

All right, the context is different, but that was my mantra yesterday on Interstate 80 Eastbound to Sacramento.  While at a standstill.  For no evident reason.  For hours!

OK.  It was just a momentary pause.  Lucky.  I know! 

It just seemed like hours.  Not that difficult to deal with except that I had my husband in the car with me.  And an appetizer and a side dish. 

But in spite of our preparation and the anticipation of the yummy meal forthcoming, my husband, a lovely person in his own right, was not so thankful at that momentary pause in the action.  “Lucky, lucky, lucky” was not what I heard him say.

See, my husband has that shark DNA.  He has to keep moving.  He will take a 20 minute detour to avoid a 5 minute delay.  That makes sense to him and his Great White brain. 

But the thing is, I drive.  Since my delicate constitution won’t allow me to be a well passenger on any road other than a straight line through the Nevada desert, he has graciously surrendered the driver’s seat for lo these 23 years. 

In exchange for the steering wheel, I grant him the right to direct me in traffic, even though, along with his shark brain, he has that left/right affliction whereby he says “left” when he means “right” and then gets mad at me when I follow directions and turn left.

But I have a high tolerance for bulging veins and wild gesticulations and a pretty long fuse in traffic.  Oh, eventually gridlock will get to me; but he’s got a hair trigger on his frustration meter.

So that was the crux of the situation.  At the tiniest hint of a slowdown, we took the first available exit.  A side road.  The back way.  An “alternate route.” 

You can’t pin this boondoggle on me.  Or my GPS, which first displayed a jumpy screen, twitched out multiple multi-colored attempts to redirect us, then sighed and gave up. I just followed Jaws’s orders. 

We wound up somewhere south of Sac on a wash-boardy dirt road dodging potholes big enough to swallow us and our green beans in one gulp.  

“It goes through!” he claimed.  “I’ve taken this road before.” 

We began to pass heavy equipment and soon very tall chain-link fences rose up around us.  A warning sign not unlike the one posted down the way from Area 51 shouted, “Warning!  Restricted area!  Authorized vehicles only!  You’ll be really, really sorry if you keep going this way Dummy!  It’s a dead end anyway!” 

Or something like that.

So we hair pinned, found the levy road, and noodled our way through rural America.  Speed limit 45mph, but constant motion.  Bucolic beauty in every direction.  La la la la la!

We were only an hour late, nobody was mad and the turkey was delicious.

In situations like that, you have to ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky?

And the answer is, “Yes, I do.” 

Lucky, lucky and thankful too.