Get Outta My Lane!

Pam Pollock
October 2021

I’m settling into the 60s rather nicely if I do say so.  Knees that are constantly sore and achy? √Lost my car keys? √ (although I have been doing that for at least 30 years!) Have to turn the TV volume up to at least 58? √ Overheard muttering, “Back in my day, kids never acted that way?” √

Driving to Illinois back in July to attend the Shell SuperRigs, my husband almost had a heart attack when I was behind the wheel of the car.  I started muttering at all the bozos (in cars) who were out in Lalaland, just poking along.  Then I began to yell, “Get Outta My Lane!” at the jerks.  I got so frustrated that I did something I have never done in my 42 years of driving, I blew my horn at them and both times the distracted driver finally looked up from their cellphone and moved over to the right lane. And this folks is why I could never be a Professional Truck Driver.  Well, that and because I can’t drive a stick, or parallel park very well and pretty much everything else that a truck driver is required to do.

But wait, there’s more! I have now started trying to park my SUV in the space beside the grocery buggy corral, so I don’t have to walk very far back to my car.   Speaking of the grocery store, I had this experience just last week – the fall college session is in full swing in our little town and for the first time in 18 months, classes have resumed to in-person.  The population of  Rock more than doubles when the students come back to college.  The Iggle was packed with shoppers and only 2 registers were open with a cashier and the 2 self-serve checkouts had lines that extended clear up into the aisles.  I had filled up my cart with a lot of food and as I was standing in a line that ‘only’ went up half the aisle, I did what I always do, I engage those standing around me in conversation.  When I was finally able to move up in line to see the grocery conveyor belt, I walked around my cart to start organizing how I would place my items to be rung up. And that’s when I looked down into the cart and spied 3 gallons of water and about 6 bottles of some kind of drink.  Those weren’t my items!  Slightly enraged, ok, I was indignantly ticked off, I remarked to the young lady in front of me, “Somebody put their items in my cart!  How could you do that?  How on earth could you not realize that this wasn’t your cart?”  I rambled on and on.  I proceeded to leave the line and I don’t know what my goal was – was it to have a throwdown in Aisle 6?  Was I going to chuck the gallons of water at the soup cans?  I honestly have no clue.  I suspect that I thought some old geezer would be wandering through the store, muttering about how they lost their cart.  AND DANG IT, IT WAS MY CART!

Spoiler alert:  it wasn’t my cart.  I was that old geezer.  I was zipping up and down aisles and happened to stop and peruse the contents of my cart.  I found my 2 boxes of cereal, my hot dogs, and a Twinkie cake.  And that was all that was my stuff in that overflowing cart… I had taken someone else’s cart.  I sheepishly began to search for MY cart and found it  over in aisle 8 or 9 in the cereal aisle.  It was pushed to the side, between displays of snackable Pop tarts and granola bars. Was I embarrassed? Mortified? Dang straight I was!  I stealthily cast looks around me to see if some young whippersnapper was hiding and waiting to pounce on the jerk who taken his/her cart.  No one confronted me, so I loaded up my cereal, hot dogs, Twinkie into my actual cart, added a box of those snackable Pop tarts and returned the cheap brand of hot dogs that were in the other cart to the cooler.

I did the Walk of Shame back to the registers and got back into a very long line to await my turn.  I could have played it cool and acted nonchalant but nah, that’s not my style.  I told me cart-napping story to everyone.  They laughed, I laughed and then I felt like crying when the clerk told me the total of my purchases.

That same weekend, my husband and I took our grandkids to an amusement park that not only had we had gone to when we were kids, but our parents also went there when they were younger.  I am fairly certain that the park will not reopen for business next summer and I was feeling nostalgic and wanted the 4 generation of our family to have warm and fuzzy moments of joy that their Gaga Pam did for so many years.  Spoiler alert: the park was pretty much a dive.  There were 15 rides open in KiddieLand and only 4 or 5 rides that adults use.  The historic Carousel was shut down.  The wooden Blue Streak roller coast was shut down, which we knew prior to going.  The bumper cars were gone, the Mouse was gone.  Trees were chopped down. They even tore down the Midway with all of its games and food booths.  There were 2 little food stands open.  We were determined to make the best of it and to our surprise, the Devil’s Den was still operational.  I climbed into a car with my youngest granddaughter and my grandson, and we started chugging up the little hill as the Devil taunted us with his evil chortle.  I reared my head back to give him a retort and whoosh, I felt something fall off my head.  Yep, it was my glasses.  Not a cheapo pair of sunglasses, nope, it was my prescription glasses.  You know, the ones I need to see to drive or look for birds in the distance or double check to see if I have the right cart at the grocery store.  I heard the glasses plop down on the track behind me.  I started waving my hands and gesturing and the young ride attendant waved back and yelled, “It’s ok.  The ride is not *that” scary!”

I was in a panic mode at that time!  I start hollering, “My glasses!  My glasses! My glasses have fallen off my head and I need them to see!”  To his credit, the young man, ran in and thankfully had a flashlight, found my glasses, and yelled, “I’ll give them to your husband.”  And he did.  And I entered that Devil’s Den with its flashing strobe lights and pop-up creatures of the Netherworld, and everything was just a blur to me. When my husband and our other 2 granddaughters finished their ride, he gave me back my glasses, which I promptly stuck back on the top of my head.

As we were making our way out of the park a few hours later, my grandson asked to ride the Devil’s Den again (he ended up riding it 6 times!).  I didn’t want a repeat of the last time, so I took my glasses off and put them in my backpack.  After we left the amusement park, we headed up to the Spillway to feed the fish.  On our way home, I realized that I could not find my glasses.  And that’s when I had yet another senior moment – did I actually put my glasses in the backpack, or did I lose them AGAIN on that blasted ride?  The backpack was shoved into the very back of the SUV and I had to wait until we got home to double check.  And no, I was not driving.  Spoiler alert: I found the glasses in the backpack.

I wish I could say that everything I have just written is because I turned 60 – but that would be a lie.  I’ve always been scatterbrained, short-tempered, and just generally a hot mess. I don’t know what else to say, except, for the love of all that is holy, “Get outta my lane!”