It began with the four of us locking ourselves out. Monday, that is. November 12. I’ve been visiting a friend from far away (I like to joke and say that most of my friends here in America are three hours distance from me. On the clock). Ioana left for school at around 8:05, on the school bus (the yellow contraptions Americans invented – one of the few things that’s on my whitelist of American things); we were supposed to give Adina ride to her new job place and then the three of us (me, the husband, and a friend of the husband) to spend some hours browsing car dealerships and stuff. We got to the car and realized we left the key inside (the door autolocks). Good start, we say. We leave nevertheless (nothing could’ve been done anyway), with the plan to stop by Ioana’s school and get her key (hoping she didn’t forget it too).
Off goes the day, and comes the time for me to get a ride to the airport. We’ve retrieved the key alright, giving me the opportunity to say good bye to Ioana for three times (once in the morning, once at school when I got the key – I was put forward to talk with the front desk secretary), and third time at the airport – we decided to wait for Ioana to come home before leaving after all (plenty of time, we realized). I get to the airport one hour earlier like a cautious traveler (and a good grandson of my grandmother who’d go to the train station way ahead even if she had the ticked already purchased), only to find out that my flight will be delayed for no particular reasons one hour. Damn the big corporations. Gotta do something, so I end up at a bar ordering a beer and a soup. The guy next to me asks if I can pas the salt’n’pepper and, with my eyes glued to a book I’m reading, I pass the salt’n’pepper with a jerky movement right through my almost-empty glass of beer, which explodes into a spray of broken glass, scaring everybody. The waiter says it’s okay and I actually get another beer free of charge. I hop on the airplane hoping dearly that I won’t miss my connection in Philadelphia. I didn’t, the airplane landed at gate B7 and the next one boards at gate B11 (or vice versa, whatev’). Sure enough, the second flight is delayed too; I couldn’t care less this time, though, I’m going to arrive in Portland after midnight anyway. Finally the second flight is boarding and after six hours of flying and some tortured sleep (I’m on a chair with a wall in front of me -separation between business class and working-men-blue-collar class – so I can’t stretch my legs unless I climb them all the way up on the wall where they won’t stay put anyway, kept sliding on the smooth plastic) I land in Portland. I take the time to go to the bathroom and freshen up, knowing that it will be a while until my bag makes it to the baggage claim (I usually travel light with no check-in baggages, but this time I got some ţuica from Cornel and I had to check in my baggage – they don’t allow any liquids on the carry-on baggage anymore). I go to get the baggage half expecting not to find it (if they lose the ţuica I’ll go berserk). The baggage is already waiting for me, going in circles on the conveyor belt (small miracles never cease). I hop on the economy-parking-lot-bus which is already there, ready to go (I was half expecting – again – to have to wait for the bus a whole quarter of hour). The car was parked (my luck started a week earlier) right next to “bus shelter N” so I didn’t need to remember the number (blue lot – kinda hard to remember where you parked your car in the blue lot, “blue-en”, my adviser alway parks in Red-I, which sounds like “red-eye”, or Red-E, which sounds lid “ready”).
So anyway. I get on the car, pay my parking dues and head toward Corvallis. The freeway’s deserted, me and the big trucks only. After one’an’a’half hours I take exit 288 (the right one – sometimes it happens that you miss it yor you take the wrong one) and, like horses feeling their stables, I hit the gas on the deserted four-lanes Highway 34. Speed limit is 55 miles, I try to keep it under 65 (there’s an unwritten rule that if you go with less than 10 miles over the speed limit you’ll be okay) but, eager to get home (is already 2:40 am) I reach 70 mph. While I’m reaching the afore mentioned speed, I pass a police car parked on the side, with the lights off. The trooper probably hadn’t seen a car in the past ten minutes anyway, and here it comes Tapirul speeding. When I saw him hidden in the bushes I said fuck a duck ’cause I knew for a fact he’ll come after me (a quick glance at the speedometer shows that I indeed reached 70 without realizing). In ten seconds I get a dance of blue and red light behind me, and I pull over (almost stop on a railroad) thinking “now how much will I have to pay for the fucking ticket”. The guy come,s introduces himself as trooper So-and-so, and says that he stopped me because I was doing 70 in a 55 zone. I say “Oh gosh, I’ve already been doing seventy? Darn, I was trying to keep it slower but..” “so you didn’t realize you’re doing 70?” – “no sir, long trip, eager to get home, nobody on the street…”. He gets my papers (registration and license), goes back to his car which still flashes in an eerie silence the red-and-blue lights right in my rear view mirrors and after 5 minutes comes back, hands me back the papers and says “I am not going to give you a citation, please drive safe and keep it slow” “Aye, aye, sir, thanks a bunch”
Now, my question is, was it a lucky day or not?
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