Around Every Corner

When you're an average guy with a boring life and bad luck, simple errands can be big adventures, and you never know what's around the next corner. You might sit down to watch a bad movie and end up with frosting on your shoulder. The unlikely is always certain.

It was a Saturday morning, and my head was pounding probably more from the lack of sleep than from the few drinks I'd had at a party the night prior. As it was the first of the month, the mail brought me yet another credit card bill. And so, I found myself heading up the road to the post office, to make the last pickup at 1 PM. Because I like to cut things close, slept late, and didn't check the mail when I first got up, I pulled up at the post office at 12:59.

After I dropped off the check in the mailbox, I heard sirens. As I got into my car, a firetruck raced past the parking lot. I rolled back and proceeded toward the exit, only to notice a truck full of kids behind it. It was some kind of homecoming, and they had class banners and face paint and were waving and screaming at everyone. This truck was followed by a convertible full of kids, then another truck, then some more convertibles, and so on. It seemed like I'd never get out of that parking lot, and there were even a few police cars in the procession and blocking traffic on one side of the road.

I finally got into the street and drove in the opposite direction of the motorcade. Since this was the opposite direction of my house, I had to take the long way around. It was a beautiful day and, irrepressible geek that I am, I was blasting my newly purchased The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, which I picked up after one of the songs was featured prominently in this week's episode of “Chuck”. I was so into the music, that I barely noticed something really tiny dart into the street ahead of me.

But, notice it I did, and I slowed down significantly to allow what turned out to be a chipmunk to make it to safety. It was moving like it had wheels, so it probably would have made it anyway. Patient as I was for one of God's furry creatures, I was less inclined to wait for the guy on the bicycle ahead of me, pedaling just fast enough that it would be tough to pass him, but slow enough that it was annoying to hang back. On a small back road, I floored it into the oncoming lane as we rounded a bend, and cut back over when I was significantly ahead of him. And, in these brief seconds, I noticed a police truck parked on the shoulder with a giant radar display in tow. As I soared past, I couldn't make out the speed reversed in my rearview mirror, only that it was red and flashing. There was no cop in the vehicle, but I was sure he was around there somewhere.

I took more back streets, now driving with an almost suspicious caution. I waited at a traffic light, satisfied that no one was following me. Across the street, a motorcycle pulled out of the parking lot of a hospital. In the distance, the blue pants with yellow stripes on the legs marked him as a police officer, and I watched as I made my right turn, certain he'd be following me. But he turned in the other direction, and I was safe, at least until I got to the next intersection and saw another motorcycle cop coming from the opposite direction. He continued on his course though, and the rest of my ride home was uneventful.

I like going outside, but sometimes I don't know what will be around the next corner. I really should start paying my bills online...


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