There was no conceivable way that either of Angie or I could say with any truth, “We have plenty of time” because we certainly did not on this occasion. But neither of us likes to rush through getting ready. It makes our minds forget some of the things that we should either do or bring with us.
We did surely want to get to the airport on time so that we could meet up with and say ‘goodbye’ to our daughter Vivian before she left for her vacation in Paris. She had been busy on the weekend with her preparations for the trip, so we could not see her then. You do not want to be in her way when she is busy packing. She would let you know what she felt in no uncertain terms. It wouldn’t be nice
Angie couldn’t find her cell phone. This happens often enough. It could play a mean game of ‘now you see me (when you do not need me), now you won’t (when you do).’ It was finally found. I think the swearing helped, a kind of voice recognition: ‘Alexa where are you, you bastard?’
On the Road
As soon as I started the car, I realized that it needed gas, so we had to go a little out of our way to the nearest gas station. Unfortunately, two of the pumps were out of order, so we had to wait another little bit, delayed once more. We were beginning to think that we were cursed. I came out with one of the very few Latin expressions that I know: Tempus fugit. Angie looked at me and said, “Watch how you say that last word young man.” We both smiled.
Traffic was busy but was still flowing slow but smoothly in the two lanes we had available to us. We were in the right-most lane, as we hadn’t been able to find an open space in the left-most one. Angie wanted us in the other lane, but no face I saw in the rear-view mirror looked particularly courteous towards fellow drivers.
All went well for a while. Then the unlikely and smelly happened. There was a dump truck two vehicles ahead of us. For some reason or other, we couldn’t see, the driver slammed the brakes on. Fortunately, we were all moving so slowly that the car behind the truck, then us, then the car behind us all were able to avoid crashing into the one ahead.
Unfortunately, at the same time as the truck braked fast, the bed of the truck started to rise. We reckoned that the driver must have been inexperienced and panicked upon seeing whatever it was that came in front of the vehicle.
I once had a summer job when I was in high school. It mostly involved repackaging sheep poo from small bags into larger ones. No one would eat lunch with me. As a teenager, I was not normally one to change my clothes often, especially shirts and pants. If they were good for a Monday, and I didn’t spill anything noticeable on them, they should last until Friday. That summer broke that habit. I set a personal best (never to be equalled) for clothes changing. Well, the smell that came from whatever was being dumped onto the road and the hood of the car in front of us surpassed the smell of the sheep poo from that summer, although it was quite similar in odour, a kind of dung deluxe.
Of course, this caused another delay. The people in the left lane were anxious to get away from the smell and weren’t willing to extend the courtesy of letting people from our lane slow them down. The clock in the car said that we were there for about 10 minutes. Cursed again. Angie remarked, “We are never going to make it on time.”
We were anxious now. When we feel anxious, we need food. At about the same time both of our stomachs (one each) felt hungry. We both spotted a Tim Horton’s on our side of the road. There were only three or four cars in the lineup, so it looked like luck was finally on our side.
The first two ordered quickly and paid just as fast. But not the one just in front of us. He seemed to be some kind of Tim Horton’s drive-through virgin, or maybe just stupid and selfish. He asked for descriptions, including the ingredients, cost, and number of calories of every muffin and bagel on the menu. It was another ten-minute delay. Angie said to me, yet again, “We are never going to make it on time.”
I was going to try making up for the delay, by driving faster than I normally do, but a couple of drivers going the opposite way flashed their lights at us. There meant that there was a speed trap ahead on this day of needed hurry. So I drove the speed limit, and it wasn’t long before we saw the guy with the radar, pointing at every car as if he was taking their picture for a photo album, ‘Cars I see in the morning.’
Thunder Bolts and Lightning – Very, Very Frightening.
Once we passed the cop car, I sped up, possibly making up a few minutes of our series of delays. We were nearing the airport, and there were no vehicles ahead of us. It should be clear sailing from here. But there was going to be one more surprise ahead of us. A few miles down the road, by the entrance to the airport, we saw a brilliant flash of lighting hit the ground, and a few wire-carrying posts as well. Then there was the obligatory crash of thunder that followed. It was almost deafening. Not far from there, with the same sound and sight, there was another bolt of lightning and explosion of thunder, and another. As we got closer, we could see the mess that the road had become. It was fortunate that there had been no cars around, or the occupants would have been goners. Then, a few minutes later when we stopped where the mess was, we realized something else. Angie and I would have been electrocuted or crushed if we hadn’t experienced all the delays. We were saved by what had seemed at first to be bad luck. Then we both said, with equal tones of relief and referencing the lightning site, “We were never going to make it.”