Our local Florida community is nothing but vigilant about red light runners. Perhaps in your community too, cameras are strategically placed at all four corners of an intersection to nab those dirty scofflaws who blatantly run through traffic lights in order to make time. Never mind the old man who might be crossing the road, forget the young mother pushing her baby in the stroller, just mow down the nerd who’s in the cross walk wearing his goofy and ancient iPod on his hip. It’s just terrible that people run red lights. One should beware, though: those cameras have potentially snapped a picture of you and your car’s license plate. In the mail later will arrive a citation and a hefty fine, and deservedly so! I am told that in our hamlet the fines for such infractions are upwards of $400 or more. All of us law-abiding citizens, I’m sure loyal readers of this blog too, support efforts such as traffic cameras that aim to catch red light runners. In doesn’t matter where we live, we are truly all one community when it comes to safety. Right? Right.
It is thus with considerable embarrassment and a profound discomfiture that your humble blogger must admit to a recent “misunderstanding” of local traffic conditions on a nearby road. Heading to the grocery store on a midday errand, I observed an accident on the other side of the street involving three cars, two tow trucks, and several police cars. Traffic was backed up behind it, and I made a mental note to avoid coming back that way on the return trip home.
I do find it repugnant to blame my lovely wife for any illegal act that I might make in which she is not present. However, I also need to demonstrate that were it not for the tendency of Gorgeous to request the most complicated of grocery items on her shopping lists, I may have been able to focus better on my driving upon returning from the grocery store.
For the life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone uses turnips, parsnips, kohlrabi, and leeks for cooking. They are virtually impossible to find, and I can never remember ever having to buy them much less use them in a sentence. I’m also sure that I have never heard of kohlrabi, nor ever eaten it. Turnips, parsnips, and leeks I’ve heard of, but for God sakes are they even recognizable in the produce section? There are literally acres of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. But the more esoteric of vegetables are nearly impossible to uncover. I would like to see with my own eyes how other spouses fare in finding these items at their local supermarkets.
Ignoring the annoying grocery staff who bother me with their impossibly friendly greetings, I walked up/down and back/forth in the produce aisle for nearly 30-40 minutes trying desperately to identify said vegetables. I finally did locate them, each squeezed in the tiniest of places near the more common vegetables I recognize from the salad bars at restaurants.
After finally getting the vegetables, it was now on to the cheese aisle. Who among you are familiar with Chèvre? That many, really? Well, I had no idea it means goat cheese in English. As Steve Martin famously said, “It’s like those French, they have a different word for everything.” Another 15 minutes looking for cheese, and I’m now closing in on one hour at the store to just pick up the proverbial “few things.” After getting the milk (specified as organic low-fat only; I am ready to hang myself by this point), we’re finally done. I don’t care how much Life Magazine is ripping me off for those photographic editions in the impulse-purchase section at checkout, I am buying that new Beatles issue for $12.95. I’ve earned it at this point.
Tossing the bags in the back seat of the car, then heading out of the parking lot towards home, I completely forgot that I had decided earlier to take a different route to avoid the accident. Sure enough, I come upon what is now the very last remnants of that scene further up the road. Only one crashed car remains, now pushed to the very edge of the road. Where before there were several police cars, now there are only two with their flashing lights glowing, along with one single tow truck. Traffic is now moving with no back-up, but I am unsure whether I should go or stop. Seeing that the men in blue are both talking to the remaining driver, I decide it is safe to proceed. Except… I drive into the intersection right through a red light.
Turnips, parsnips, kohlrabi, and leeks…
I am mortified! I slow down and look at the cops to see if they want me to pull over. Nope, they are still speaking to the remaining driver standing near his crashed vehicle. No one notices me. I proceed home, sure that the all-seeing camera has snapped a picture of my license plate along with my dumbfounded expression.
Chèvre and organic milk…
As soon as I arrive home, I race for the phone and call the county sheriff’s department to report my infraction. I am absolutely frightened of getting a $400 ticket. I explain in great detail to the nice woman who takes my call about my misfortune. She takes pity on me, says that she doesn’t think the camera’s enforcement will be in effect with an accident still in process, and she gives me the actual accident number (I had no idea accidents were numbered). She instructs me to call back with that number in case I later received a citation in the mail. All should be forgiven, she says. I could have kissed her! I suspect that’s probably a violation of some kind too. If not by police code, mostly likely by Gorgeous.
Let me be clear: I am not blaming the red light run on my wife. I say this not only because I have a fair number of followers to this blog who are female, but also because Gorgeous is herself a devoted reader. As Tip O’Neill famously said, all politics is local.
Darling, I beg you: a head of lettuce, some carrots, and an onion only next time, okay?