Life is full of surprises -- some days are good and other days are downright rotten.
One sunny afternoon near the end of September, I walked out to my mailbox at the end of the driveway. Just as I opened the box, one of the local teen-age airheads came careening around the corner on his ATV with the throttle wide open and zero consideration for safety. He missed me by a couple of feet but that didn't slow him down. As the 20-foot dust cloud settled over me I wondered what the penalty would be for strangling an airhead.
Later that day, I went into Salem to get some groceries. I parked in the last spot next to the alley by the Methodist church. When I came back out of the store, there was a gray car (with a Viola Longhorns bumper sticker) parked in the alley about 3 inches from the driver's side of my van. Being slightly larger than 3 inches in width, I was unable to open the door and get in. I waited as long as I could for the driver from Viola to show up and explain to me why it was necessary to park so close to my van, but I had to get to the bank before they closed, so I reluctantly climbed over the console and into the driver's seat from the passenger's side.
I got to the bank at 10 minutes before closing. I drove to the third lane where the tube reaches my van's window, put my check and deposit slip into the tube, and sent it on its way. Cashier #1 announced she'd be right with me and disappeared. Car #1 pulled up to the first bank window whereupon Cashier #2 stepped forward and proceeded to process the transaction. Then Car #2 pulled into the second window whereupon Cashier #1 returned and proceeded to process that transaction. Then Car #2 pulled away from the first window and Car #3 soon drove up to that window and was immediately serviced by Cashier #2. After all three cars that had arrived after I did had finally left the premises, Cashier #1 processed my transaction. I had included a note specifically asking that the cash returned to me be in the form of two $50 bills but when I received the envelope it contained five $20 bills. As I turned to correct the error, they were pulling down the curtains and closing the bank.
Next, I went to Wal-Mart. I entered in the south entrance but there were no hand baskets. I asked the greeter where the hand baskets were whereupon he used his walkie-talkie to communicate with the greeter at the other end of the store. Instead of having an employee bring some hand baskets to me, I had to trek all the way to the far end of the store to retrieve one, even though I was not going to do any shopping at that end of the store. This was the second time in a row this had happened to me at Wal-Mart. As I left the store, I noticed there were still lots of hand baskets at the far end and none at the near end.
Later that night, I sat down to work on one of my columns when my hard disk crashed. I was already in a foul mood, which is often good for writing columns but bad for just about everything else in life. I was forced to order another computer the next day and went about 10 days without having access to the Internet, e-mail or word processing, giving me plenty of free time to wonder why the whole world had turned against me.
Note to parents of airheads with ATVs -- If you are considering moving far away, I'll help you pack.
Note to owner of gray car -- Rude behavior can sometimes lead to unpleasant consequences.
Note to bank manager -- You need to have a "customer courtesy" meeting.
Note to Wal-Mart manager _ You need to have a "hand-basket distribution" meeting.
I was talking to one of my adult students at Ozarka recently about all the bad luck I had on the same day whereupon she told me her brother died and her daughter had been in a terrible auto accident that same week.
Another lesson in life -- no matter how bad things get, someone else always has it worse.