The Nascar race was in town this weekend. I live just a few miles from the track, on the main road there. It is good I left earlier than usual to go to church this morning, because I thought I was never going to get onto Las Vegas Boulevard. There was no way I was going to be able to cross the North bound lanes and turn South, so I just went North to the corner and circled the block.
Coming home from church took me 35 minutes. Normally it is a ten minute drive. There were police officers at the intersections directing traffic. Finally I made it home intending to stay here, but my priorities changed.
This afternoon, I decided I needed to go to the Post Office tonight, and not trust myself to leave early enough to do it in the morning. I wanted something to go out as soon as possible, and wasn’t taking a chance on having to wait until after work Monday to mail it. Las Vegas Boulevard South bound was bumper to bumper traffic because the Nascar race had just ended. I decided to take Nellis Avenue South instead. It was just as congested. It took me 35 minutes to make the 10 minute drive.
As long as I was out, I decided to pop into Kmart and pickup a gift for a friend. The traffic between the post office and Kmart was no better. It took me 15 minutes to travel two blocks. The fellow behind me was riding my bumper, construction narrowed the road to two lanes, and the street light in front of me turned red. I stopped. The fellow behind me honked his horn, flipped me off, shot around me — cutting off the guy in the other lane — and ran the red light, missing a collision by millimeters. I said a prayer for everyone between him and wherever he was going.
I did my shopping, went to the cash register and discovered that I’d forgotten my debit card and left my check book on my desk when I’d stuffed the envelope for mailing. I had some cash. I sorted through my purchases and took only what I really needed. The people behind me in line shifted restlessly and made huffing noises.
I left Kmart and headed for Sonic. I decided a deserved a small ice cream. It’s Sunday. I always have a splurge on Sunday. Traffic was thinning out. The half-block trip to Sonic took only moments — unfortunately, everyone else decided to beat the heat (77F) there, and it was crowded. I ordered my ice cream and waited for the car hop.
While I was waiting I pulled out my Kmart receipt, suddenly wondering why I’d spent a fifty dollar bill on $30.00 worth of stuff. The kid who waited on me took everything out of the bag that I’d told him to, but he hadn’t taken all of it off my receipt. I called Kmart. They told me to come back and they’d give me my money back.
The carhop arrived at my window with my order. She said, “That’ll be $8.57, ma’am.”
“What!?” I gasped. “For a small milkshake?” She looked into the bag in her hands, said, “Excuse me,” and roller-skated away. A few moments later she returned with my small milkshake and requested $2.52, which was much better.
I couldn’t get out of Sonic and into the North bound lane. The center median forced me to continue South. At Stewart Ave. I turned right. At Lamb Boulevard I turned right — and the road was free and clear. I drove all the way home before I remembered I was supposed to stop at Kmart.
I finished my milkshake, went to the bathroom, and returned to Kmart, via the post office where I mailed yet another letter. Traffic had thinned out quite a bit and I made it to Kmart in less then 20 minutes, despite stopping at the post office. The store was packed. I stood in line at customer service for longer then the $12.00 refund was worth. Not only that, the lady was snotty to me and wanted to know why I hadn’t checked my receipt more carefully before paying.
Excuse me? I wasn’t given the receipt until after I paid, and by then I was so embarrassed I just wanted out of the store. I was snotty back to the lady and said, “Unfortunately, I trusted your employee. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.” Then she apologized to me — about six times.
I went out and got into my car. Once again the road divider forced me to go South. I debated with myself about stopping at Sonic for a chocolate coke (I love chocolate cokes), but I’d already had my treat for the day, so I drove by, turned right on Stewart Avenue, turned right on Lamb Boulevard — and suddenly found construction cones everywhere. They weren’t there just a few minutes earlier when I’d traveled that same path. The road was restricted to one North bound lane. It took me 25 more minutes to get home.
I’m staying. Sure wish I had that chocolate coke.
Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she is not doing book reviews or creating curriculum literature units, she is working on writing the next great American novel. You may visit her writing blog at http://charlene-amsden.com. Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she is not doing book reviews or creating curriculum literature units, she is working on writing the next great American novel. You may visit her writing blog at http://charlene-amsden.com.