I drove into Lodi yesterday with the thought of having a decent meal cooked by someone else and perhaps visiting the shop which installed my new onboard navigtiaon system to find out why the radio won’t get KQED. I ended up sick in a Burger King bathroom from Indian food eaten in a restaurant called “Friends”, the emptiness of which should have alerted me. I ignored the sign admonishing me for using the BK restroom without being a customer. When I had composed myself, I went into the cool air of a California winter’s afternoon wishing that I had just stayed home.
At the CVS, I bought an over-the-counter stomach pill and a new collapsible cane. I don’t use a walking stick but I’m getting ready to travel. I have learned that airlines and TSA agents do not believe in disabilities which don’t require hardscape. I tested a few and picked one which seemed sturdy. The price gave me brief pause: twenty-three dollars. My last adjustable cane came from Amazon, cost fifteen bucks but it broke after a few uses. Heavy sigh. I guess you do, after all, get that for which you pay, however begrudgingly you do so.
I allowed myself a resigned shrug, to the confusion of the sales clerk who rang my purchases while casting a cautious eye in my direction. I tried to make conversation but he didn’t buy my sudden appearance of normalcy.
I skipped the visit to the car audio installation place. I didn’t feel well enough to calmly deal with the problem. Additionally, it’s in a part of town where no one speaks much English. I’m using Duo-Lingo to pull my ancient Spanish from the depths of my subconscious, but until I get closer to capable, I don’t want to have to ask directions and upset any little old ladies in flowered dresses or gum-cracking teens carrying cell phones bigger than my pocketbook. I saw a few of each over there on my first visit. Two boys younger than my son but old enough to be out alone stood near me while I waited for my car. They smiled, and gave me a little wave to show that they conceded my presence and had no ill intentions toward me. But we could not converse. We did not speak each other’s language in more ways than one.
The sun eased itself down the western horizon as I left Lodi. I had not accomplished anything other than taking a return to UPS and finding a scarf to use as a window-covering on my front door. But a young man had carried my package into the UPS store. He grinned at me. He seemed to be thankful for the chance to be of service. Perhaps that counts for something, maybe even enough to make my long day’s journey worthwhile.
It’s the seventeenth day of the forty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.