Sunday, March 20, 2005

Palm Saturday

Yesterday, I returned a videogame my kid had rented and mixed into his games and I didn't realize it was a rental and it was VERY OVERDUE. I'm no millionaire, au contraire, as a single mom and a writer, two economic demographics guaranteed to make someone watch their pennies, I'm not keen on throwing money away like this.

So, I found this rogue videotape and took it back to the place we rented it -- not our usual place but a place far across town. It was a beautiful day and I didn't much like spending a lot of it driving over to this videogame rental store, but ... whatever ... it had to be done, so I did it.

It cost $18.50 in fees ... ugh. I was not happy about that, but hell, I'm a grown-up, I can take it.

I get back in my car, I'm driving home on a sunny Saturday afternoon, NOT going fast. Halfway home I come to a long bridge where there's a guy in some gigantic SUV type truck thing and in my Toyota Camry, one of the worst things about these big cars is you can't SEE BEYOND THEM and this guy had the blacked out glass to add to that difficulty. The speed limits on either side of the bridge were around 45 I think. The speed limit, on the long slow ... more of an overpass than a real bridge ... it was wide and not narrow ... I found out was 30.

In order to pass this guy blocking me, and get a chance to see the road ahead of me, I sped up a little and went around him and then stopped at a light.

A cop pulls me over for speeding. I get a $200 fine.

I've NEVER in my life gotten any speeding tickets, never been in a real accident (one or two parking bumps and bruises, done by me and done to me). And my son's greatest complaint about my driving is how slowly I often drive.

I was really mad and really sad and after the cop left, burst into tears. It seemed a reasonable thing to do. I suspected the cop hid out at the base of the bridge and picked off a lot of people this way. I was really mad when I started thinking about that.

I decided to take the good advice of many people -- don't drive when you're upset.

I got out of my car -- tears, anger, all of it -- locked it, slammed the door, decided to take a walk up on the bridge as there was a walkway and check the scene out. I suppose I wanted to see if the cop were lurking there as I figured he might be.

I walked the length of the bridge crying. I think crying is highly underrated -- not as a girly way to dodge a ticket, I don't do that -- but just as a release from all the shit we all go through -- and a stranger walking on a bridge crying is left to herself for the most part, as I was yesterday.

I didn't find the cop. I walked on and was calming down. I walked past a church. It was a Catholic church and people were coming out of Palm Sunday services ... on a Saturday. As a Protestant, I've honestly always found it so weird that Catholics are allowed to go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday, (I'm just jealous) but that's another story.

A man, good-looking guy, salt-and-pepper hair, about my age and his old father came out. The man was trying to hand the old guy, his dad, a palm frond. The old man had trouble taking it. They were ahead of me, not seeing me. They walked on not noticing they had dropped a piece of their long green palm leaf on the sidewalk. They walked on and as I came close to it, I bent down and scooped it up. I needed it. I didn't even know why but I decided it was most decidedly something I needed.

I was still walking away from the bridge and away from my car, but this made me decide it was time to turn back. I loved my new green palm frong with it's waxy leaves, it made me feel better.

I circled around the back of the church where the churchgoers' cars were parked among snow drifts on a spring day. It was nearly 50 degrees out, but we have massive grey, black and white boulders of snow around still, like odd dinosaurs towering above us. The cars were parked like frightened animals, cringing and marooned, left to be the possible prey of a these malevolent snow monsters. You can get the paranoid and catastrophic feeling that the snow may NEVER melt and we're facing some disasterous dirty snow ice age around here.

One small palm frond may be your only hope.

I walked back over the bridge. Still no cop, but I didn't care. I walked down the embankment to the parking lot where my car was parked, looking a little lonely, wondering where I was. I got back in my car. I started it up. I drove home carefully with the palm frond on my dashboard.