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Sunday, March 17, 2013

I am very sorry to have had no new posts here for so long, but Family Matters have come up lately, necessitating last minute trips, frequent stays at the Pet Lodge for my three little "wienies" and lots of disruption of "normal life" around here, not that it would ever appear "normal" to anyone but us.
  Here is a piece I wrote lately, all true, so you can see how stressed we've been:

     The Three Stooges Visit the City

You know, just GETTING into a big city by car is a trial of huge proportions for rural folks like us. We are used to driving in our own small world of Grays Harbor County, and the counties adjoining ours, none of which have CITIES.  It’s not that we’re stupid, but when we get into a city, we are definitely NOT in our element.

For one thing, just the volume of traffic in a city is a shock to us; the speed at which traffic moves is faster than we are used to, too. Those “must exit” lanes with their dreaded yellow bands on the signs, are another component of city driving that stresses us out.

Signage in cities is NOT geared to the unknowing visitor. Arriving in OR, in the dark, clutching  Rand McNally “Driving Directions” in my sweaty  hand, trying to get to the bus depot in downtown Portland proves to be extremely challenging.  Faced with a Y in the highway, the signs of neither reading what our exit should be labeled, we unwittingly take the wrong lane. Husband is driving, I am Navigator.  Looking over the side, at the other lane which is rapidly descending, I see OUR sign down there and moan loudly at once more being left to figure out things for myself. What good does it do, when they put the sign I needed to see way down there?!?!?!?! I couldn’t even SEE it from the freeway surface. Will I get it right next time?  Of course, I will. I try not to make the same mistake twice.—at the Y, take the lane to the left, ignoring that it doesn’t have “Rose City/Old Quarter” on it.

So now we are speeding toward Salem where we have no desire to go. We take the very next exit so that at least we are still in the neighborhood of the bus depot and not miles and miles away. I direct the Driver/Husband to head us back in the opposite direction, now on surface streets, trying to get more or less where we would have been if we had taken the RIGHT exit. Husband constantly challenges my decisions; I tell him to let ME call the shots—his job is to keep going the right way one way streets and to not run over any of the bicyclists who seem to be all over the place.

Soon we see a little sign saying “Rose Quarter” and we follow it. Somehow, against all odds, and with little assistance ,  we get to the destination bus depot and spot our son on the bench waiting. However, no parking lot seems to exist and we don’t know where to go with the car; I ask a passerby where we can find the parking lot (they MUST have one---it’s a depot for cryin’ out loud!!) But not all residents of cities speak “the language,” and this guy seems to be of that group.

Not knowing what else to do, we stop; Son recognizes the car and comes running. At the same time, the little Max train looms up behind us, honking and looking quite LARGE, by the way.  We recognize for the first time that we are parked right on its little tracks, embedded in the street as they are.  The train continues to honk and again, we panic, of course. We have absolutely no ishould do. Son instantly morphs into SuperMan and stands on the tracks behind the car, holding up both arms in a “Stop” gesture. Meanwhile, I spy a taxi parked across the street and, more importantly, an empty taxi space behind it. Although we are NOT a taxi, I order Husband to take the car there, and Son and I follow and jump in. We are totally stressed out for the umpteenth time tonight.

I am sure that the lookers-on were both confounded and amused at the desperate antics of these goofy people who seem to have no understanding of how traffic in a city works. We might as well have been the Hillbillies entering Beverly Hills with their mule tied to their wagon. However, we do NOT think of this now. We only want to get OUT of this unfamiliar and confusing place by finding the nearest freeway entrance.

With the help of Son, we negotiate the multiple lanes, get into the one marked “Seattle”and avoid all the others. Traffic is, as always, heavy and moving fast. Finally, we cross the bridge and are back in our own state. Soon we are in more familiar territory, and on our way home. It is late, we are tired, but we have accomplished our mission and we are all still alive. The car, too, has also survived its trip to the city, not to mention the many bicyclists who unknowingly, risked their very lives being in proximity to our moving vehicle. 
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Hope you enjoyed reading that. Husband and I have been attending a monthly writing-sharing meeting at our local co-op art gallery. Usually, since we began in November or December, there have been maybe seven people there. When we arrived last Friday, there were about twenty!!! At first I thought I had the wrong day and that I had happened in on some other group meeting there! My next reaction was FEAR because I felt intimidated by such a large gathering. But, as always, the crowd was friendly and encouraging, so all my fears were banished quickly.




Here's a little quiz to see how well you know me. Which of the above is MY embroidery thread, and which is NOT.

That's all for now. Happy St. Pat's Day!

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