"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Weakend Plans

Whereupon a carefully calibrated three-day weekend devolves into chaos and disappointment faster than the Cruz-Kasich alliance:
Weekend Frustration #1:  My wife loses a pair of costly Ray-Ban sunglasses while we are out kayaking on the lake during a balmy Friday. They are perched atop her cap while she uses one of two identical pairs of binoculars we recently purchased to check out the thrilling sight of eagles circling above our position. As she tracks them climbing higher and higher, and her head tilts back further and further, the sunglasses reach the tipping point, tumbling back and slipping into the depths of the lake. She is disconsolate; I say I hope she can find some solace in using one of the four other pairs she has scattered within her purse, the house and our car.
WF #2: My observation is not warmly received.
WF #3: On Saturday morning we get up shortly after sunrise in order to make an hour’s drive to a state park to join in an early morning bird walk. However, in order to arrive on time we needed to get up before sunrise – so we arrive just as the cadre of punctual attendees begin to disappear into the woods. Hustling to catch up, I trip over a prominent tree root. Fortunately, I am not injured. Unfortunately, this is because my fall is broken by landing on my new pair of binoculars. Several of the birders come to check and make sure I’m OK; I assure them I am fine and the only things damaged are my pride and binoculars. One fellow asks what brand they are; when I tell him he replies, “Oh, those are useless for birding – no loss there.” I spend the rest of the walk bereft of any magnification assist, squinting across the width of fields and up toward the tops of trees trying my best to zero in on an vast array of migratory birds the sighting of which brings delight to all but me, since I can’t spot any of them. My bird journal for the day remains a blank page.
WF #4: Early Sunday morning we wake up later than planned and therefore have to hustle to get to a fundraising race in which we are participating, arriving just in time to get registered and take our places at the start. There is an announcement to let people go out in order of speed and ability so we let the runners go first, then the joggers, then the families pushing strollers, then someone with a two-legged dog in a cart, and finally we cheer on a few elders using walkers before we join in to pass through the starting gate. Along the route we see a mother and toddler ambling together at a pace set by the little one’s short strides -- except when their progress is interrupted by a series of tantrums (the toddler’s) where she plants herself at the side of the road and moves again only after several minutes of her mother’s cajoling. They still finish before we did.
WF #5: After completing the race, crossing the finish line at such a slow pace that the chips embedded in our numbered bibs are fooled into thinking time is reversing, we drive another 100 miles to a factory outlet store that is closed when we get there. I recheck its Facebook page, which clearly displays Sunday hours. I rattle the locked doors in the hope that, despite the darkness inside, there are employees sitting idle and just awaiting some sort of provocation to leap into action and let us in to commence shopping. This does not prove to be the case, so we stand around flummoxed for a few minutes before accepting we are S-O-L and will need to return another day to make our purchases. Trying to salvage something from the day’s long haul, and since we are already so many miles from home, we decide to drive even farther to a restaurant where we’d enjoyed a fantastic lunch during a road trip one Saturday a few weeks before.
WF #6: We arrive at the restaurant and discover they are closed for lunch on Sundays. We give up on any further adventures and head for home, feeling grateful for the relatively low price of gasoline these days since we’ve burned through most of a tank over the weekend with little to show for it. Stopping at our area Cumberland Farms to fill the tank, I pull out my phone to make use of the app for payment that offers a ten cent-per-gallon discount…
WF #7: … and watch helplessly as it slips from my fingers and falls to the ground, shattering the screen. Now every time I take a glance at the weather forecast I’m alarmed by what appears to be an impending electrical storm, with streaks of lightning covering the screen.
The Final Weekend Frustration: It too quickly comes to an end and another Monday rolls around…

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