Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unscheduled universe

That right rear tire looks kind of funny.

Take a closer look.'s a flat, or more to the point, a soon to be flat.

OK, fine. Run over to the repair station, get it plugged and roll through the day. Well, not so fast. Station opens at 8 a.m. and it's 7:30. Park the car there, enjoy the pause that refreshes and grab a coffee, muffin and newspaper next door. Get the decaf and whole-wheat raspberry and smile at the perky cashier. Hand over a $10 bill and get the change.

The Washingtons and Lincoln are handed back in a mixed pile -- some left, some right, some upside down, some downside up -- without a count-out. In my clerk days, you made sure all the bills were in the register in the same direction right side up. Unless the dead presidents and other Treasury wonks were lined up like the queue at the Comerica box office, you looked like a retail rookie. And you counted the change for your protection as well as the customer.

I'm back at the station promptly at 8, but already two others had jumped ahead of me with similar woes. Jim, the greased owner, just laughed and said it's either business feast or famine. Jeff, his trusty assistant, finally gets to my tire and rips out the one-inch Phillips head screw is responsible for screwing up my day. He's happy, I'm happy, and we charge into the sunshine of the new day.

Except, of course, I can't make the university lecture downtown. It's OK. Life looks a bit funny anyway.

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