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Friday, August 3, 2001

This morning I woke up thinking about the same thing that was on my mind as I tried to fall asleep last night. No, not global warming. I'd been trying to plan the most efficient route to use to run my errands today. Gas up the car, then go to the mall, or vice versa? Post office first, or last?

Weighty matters, those. It's no wonder I have insomnia, with such pressing concerns keeping me awake nights and mornings. It would be easier if my habits weren't so ingrained, but I can't help it. If I've done things a certain way for awhile, I have to do them the same way until the tectonic plates shift.

For example: I can buy gas only from this one station on Fourth Street, because they (a) pump it for me, and (b) treat me with common courtesy. Once I've been ignored or snarled at by a "service" station attendant, I'll go somewhere else forever. So I always take my thirsty old Honda to... wait a minute... Ben and Jerry's. No. Phil and Don's. No, that's not it either. Karl and Groucho's. Well, it's something like that. I can always find it because it's just up the street from the shoe repair place (that I haven't been inside of since 1981).

And I can only buy my Levi's from Sears or Mervyns. I'm not sure why, but since the County Seat went out of business, those are the only stores I've found the light blue stonewashed denim I like. Now that they don't carry that kind, I still buy the lightest shade of blue I can find from them. I don't know why. I just do.

So I set off on my errands. As I'm getting on the freeway, I hear something banging outside the car. I think I must be running over loose gravel, but it keeps up. In fact, at 65 miles an hour, it gets a little more insistent, so I pull off at the first exit. I open the passenger's side door and retrieve about half the seat belt assembly, which was flapping outside. The banging stops immediately.

Back on the freeway to Farmer's Lane, Farmer's to Fourth Street. Get gassed up. Take Fourth to Brookwood, then to Sonoma Avenue and get into the Plaza parking lot through the back entrance. Problem: They're working on the street between Sonoma Avenue and the Plaza parking lot. It's closed, and I have to turn the other way. I'm now in a maze, and although I'm sure there are shortcuts out of it, I know only one way that I'm confident of. So I go about three miles too far, double back, and then have to take Santa Rosa Avenue back to the Plaza.

Somehow I'm still on schedule, or at least not late enough that I'm worried about missing any important calls. Sears has two pairs of Levi's in my size, but I don't like the color. Mervyns has a whole stack of them, a few dollars cheaper. I don't like the colors any better, but I like the price well enough, so I buy two pairs.

I almost walk out when I can't find anyone to take my money, but I cross over to the shoe department and stand in line there. I check out the shoes, because I need them almost as badly as I need jeans, but nothing looks right. I'm particular about my sneakers, too. They have to be white, with not much decoration, and they have to fit my skinny feet. I haven't shopped for shoes for a long time, so I wasn't prepared for the rows of ugly, gaudy sneakers. When did platform soles come back into style? Gaaah.

So I buy the two pairs of Levi's and walk back to the parking lot. I keep my head down as I walk past Waldenbooks and the Wherehouse. I'm not here to buy books or CDs. One of the escalators in the mall is turned off, either for maintenance or to conserve energy. I get back to my car and go on to the post office, then home. A successful errand run, in less than an hour and a half.


My wisteria is branching out again (or still).

Mom dropped by this afternoon to bring me the tape of last night's Big Brother 2 episode. Apparently the satellite was down from eight to nine. Well, not "down," but not working. TiVo had recorded an hour of the DirecTV "technical difficulties" screen. Then, as if to make up for it, it decided on its own to record CSI. That's nice, but it didn't tell me which houseguest got evicted.

Luckily, Mom still uses an old-fashioned VCR, and she has cable. Even though the cable goes out a lot more often than the satellite, I feel personally affronted when I have to ask for help from someone with more primitive technology. It's like riding in the back seat of a '54 Studebaker. Well, no, it isn't. But it's like something that's almost like that.

The only reason I mention all this is that Mom told me (again) that I need to have the high weeds in my yard cut down. And I told her (again) that I was handling it. And to prove it I went out later on and cleared out a few more square feet of the stuff. At this rate I'll have the tinder-dry weeds out of here just in time for the rainy season.

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