What's Next

William White wbbanjo at YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 10 17:50:02 MDT 2007

What is worst that a sinking feeling worming its way into a prehensile consciousness while negotiating construction sites, twisting logging roads, and being late to work?  A close encounter with a lethal air head.  Fun to read, not for the schadenfreude but the front seat detail and turn of phrase.  Thanks,  Bill

MCSpearing <yuramac at YAHOO.COM> wrote:     What’s Next?
  I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, I guess, but things have been going wrong all day long.  As I was shaving, the medicine cabinet fell off the wall and crashed into the sink, spilling the contents into the sink and all over the floor.  The collapse was deafening and I nearly expired from a heart attack as a result.  I ask you, when is the last time you even HEARD of a medicine cabinet doing anything but being a medicine cabinet?  Mine assaulted me.
  Yes.  It was made in China.  
  Then, before I even started breakfast, my wife informed me in deadly earnest tones, “Mike, the cats have worms.”
  “That’s nice, dear,” I said, “what kind of worms?” I was still bleary-eyed and trying to comprehend crashing medicine cabinets.  Could it have been al Qaeda?  Could they have rigged my terroristic medicine cabinet to leap suicidally from the wall into my sink?  Could they have infected my cats with some disgusting organisms that cause them to skid their anuses over the carpets?
  My wife assured me the cats were hosting a large contingent of rice worms.  
  “You mean pin worms, dear?”
  “I mean rice worms.”
  “No such thing, dear.”
  “Are too, and our cats prove it.”
  Now, I would have thought rice worms might prefer attacking rice.  You know, like pine bark beetles attack pine bark, like horseflies bite horses, like tsetse flies ravish tsetses.  But no.  Rice worms eat cats.  Fine.
  The two most important words in the English language are “Yes, dear,” and I put them to good use, thus preserving the nuptial bliss that is my marriage, exploding medicine cabinets notwithstanding.  Now I must make a fool of myself at the vet’s office today and obtain at no small cost some tsetse fly medicine for the cats.
  On days like these, never ever ask, “What’s next?”
  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation always rises to such tasks as What’s Next.  PennDoT are in the midst of repaving twelve miles of mountainous four-lane cum two-lane that I routinely travel in order to arrive at work, and then to get back home.  This road on the best days makes my 60-mile round trip seem like only 300 miles or so.  But now, we are having improvements with the entire twelve-mile crest-to-valley stretch confined to a single lane.  The work, of course, is never over more than a 500-foot stretch at one time, but closing the road from the top of the mountain to the bottom and screwing everyone equally is what it’s all about.  Now, the “rush” hour careens down the mountainside as fast as the purple-haired matron hunched like a stone gargoyle over the steering wheel of the late-model Buick or the eighteen-wheel rig groaning along in low gear.  The rigs usually sport such logo misrepresentations as Swift or Express.  True Logo Laws would require
 redactions to Tortoise or Garden Slug.
  But, clever me, I decided this morning to add some four miles to my trip as an expense paid to avoid PennDoT’s infuriating delays.  I’d take instead a scenic detour through a state forest known as Black Moshannon.  I’d see the autumnal leaves, perhaps some wildlife, and avoid the zoo parade of traffic slowly spiraling down the prehensile PennDoT-infected “highway.” 
  And it worked out fine.  I ran through the leaves for seventeen miles without a single car in front or in back.  Then I took the last leg to the unimpaired main rout, a twisty little two-lane four-mile run called Steele Hollow Road.  Perfection.  All the way to the end, I coasted, again without a single automobile in sight.  About a thousand feet from the terminus, I spied a man wearing chartreuse.  He had on a chartreuse hardhat, wore a chartreuse jumper 
 and waived a big, red flag.  A sign at his side, knee-level, read “Stop.  Construction Ahead.”
  I stopped and the chartreuse warrior with a dark green PennDoT logo on his lurid hard hat approached the car.  He informed me, “We’s puttin’ a pipe, man.”
  “Uh-huh,” I said, reaching for the duct tape to prevent my head from exploding.  “How long is the wait?”
  “Road’s closed, man.  Gotta go back.”
  “I see.  And how do I get to work, now?”
  He scratched a long bristly jaw and thought real hard for a moment, then he suggested, “Um, you kin go back an git on Mudlick Road, back up ‘ere.”  He seemed to be pointing at a disconcerted crow dining on carrion possum a few hundred feet behind me.
  “Mudlick Road.  Oh, well, everyone knows Mudlick Road.  So, where is Mudlick Road, anyway?”
  The directions made some kind of sense only because I knew the area better than most.  All I had to do was drive all the way back to the beginning of Steele Hollow Road, and make a right.  Then, after taking two logging roads, I’d find Mudlick Road, upon which I’d make a right turn and travel some six miles to the main drag.  That intersection would prove to be about three miles north of Steele Hollow Road’s intersection.  It was then that my car began pinging a warning that I was low on fuel.  So help me, I’m not making this up.
  I suggested to Chartreuseman that it would be okay in the future actually to put signs at the OTHER end of the road, indicating that the road is closed and suggesting a detour, but not to knock himself out or anything.
  “After all,” I said, “this is why we citizens love you.”
  On fumes, I made it to a filling station and from there made it into work only an hour late, and only after narrowly avoiding an airhead who ran a stop sign at high speed right in front of me.  I didn’t even sound the horn at her.  After all, she’d probably been bitten by an angry tsetse fly, may have been frightened half to death by a crashing medicine cabinet and was pissed off at PennDoT, just because that’s what they’re there for.
  What’s next?

Liberals ... Losing Another War for America.

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