We were driving down a busy two-lane surface street in Portland, Oregon. We were in the left lane. A few blocks away we would need to make a right turn in order to reach our destination which was, ostensibly, the ultimate goal of the expedition.
You can probably see where this is going. Kudos to me. I have done my job as a writer. This is called foreshadowing.
Everyone in the right lane was somehow able to sense my need and aggressively squeezed together like sardines in a can. It was truly something to behold.
Dammit, I thought angrily to myself. I knew I should have changed lanes when that open spot presented itself 42 miles back. Who knew that would be my one and only opportunity? But that’s the way this shit works.
I could have done what everyone else does and slammed on my brakes while nudging to the right daring everyone to miss me but that’s not my way. I like to be different. I like the path not taken.
In this case that was a few blocks further on down the road. And that’s where this adventure really begins.
I imagine that two universes existed at that exact moment in time. In one of them some deviant form of life was nice and allowed me the luxury of changing lanes. Freak. That version of me then made it to the restaurant on time and had an enjoyable experience. Man, I really hate that guy.
In my universe, though, that didn’t happen. I eventually got over and made a right turn a few blocks farther than we really had to go. I call it the PDX detour. And the extra time those few blocks required made all the difference.
We rolled up on the restaurant and it was deserted. As we parked and walked up two large groups of people beat us to the door by exactly 4.2 nanoseconds. That’s how close of a thing it was.
Our little detour had put us behind schedule just enough to put us in third place with Swiss-like precision. No more. No less. That’s how exact it was. Who says the universe isn’t a beautiful and elegant place? I could have won the lotto 42 times but instead wisely saved my luck for something like this. Because, wisdom.
This was the kind of place where you order at the counter. (Argh. That’s another story.) The people in front of us then went on to have a 42-minute conversation with the worker at the counter about placing their order. All the while I’m complaining to my date so much about the nanoseconds that the night is already ruined no matter what. But we’re committed and we have to play it out. The die had been cast.
The place is a restaurant and neighborhood grocery combo. The main counter was for ordering meals. Off to the side was a smaller counter reserved for people who were grabbing items from the grocery like trendy overpriced beer. Why make them wait in the ordering line, right?
Some of you already see what happened next. Foreshadowing alert.
After waiting umpteen minutes it was finally our turn. That’s when the worker at the counter turned to and and said, “I’ll be right with you,” and walked away.
Yep. She was solely responsible for both counters. And yep, she had just walked away from me in order to help the son of a bitch who’d been in the store for only a few seconds.
What more can I say? This is real. This happened. You share this universe with me.