Monday, August 11, 2003

I-5 Irritation and the Occasional Good Day

Friday afternoon is obviously a bad time to get on the freeway. I know this. I know this, and yet I allowed myself to do it. I let Kevin sleep so he could come with me, and that meant leaving town at 2:30 and not actually getting out of Seattle until around 3.

It was 5 when we finally got to Olympia. I was so exasperated and hungry that we took a detour and got food and gas on the west side of town--a few miles off 101--and let Kevin take over the driving. It should not take two and a half hours to get to Olympia, but it did. And we still had another two and a half hours to go, in good traffic, to get to Seaside.

That part went off without a hitch, however. We arrived in time for a gorgeous sunset.

Saturday morning I went to some garage sales and antique stores with my mom and sister. I picked up a copy of The Big Book of Hell by Matt Groening for a quarter. Then we went to lunch at Dooger's. I had the cajun-style catfish lunch special. It was pretty all right. Eating out in beach towns tends to be exceptionally bland, so cajun-style is my only chance for spice of any variety.

Kevin and I took a long and rather pointless walk to downtown and back; we stopped at an antique store so I could hunt for records (and nothing) and Rite-Aid for batteries and newly OTC Claritin-D. Walking back along the highway sucks. Kevin asked why we didn't just drive. I had no real answer to that.

We went down to the beach kind of late in the day, though the sun was still high. We brought a blanket and umbrella and sat until it got a little chilly. I had to go wade in the ocean a bit, though, which was surprisingly non-frigid (to say it was warm would be a fallacy).

Then it was 99 Cent Store Time. Mom said it was open until 9, so we left almost immediately to check it out. Dollar stores are one of my favorite places to go, even if I have no interest in most of the crap. The point is, I could GET a lot of crap if I NEEDED it because it's a dollar. Or three for a dollar, or whatever. And Oregon is even better than Washington for dollar stores because there is no sales tax. It's not quite as good as Canada, which does tax, but the exchange rate is so far in our favor that it more than evens out. Anyway, there wasn't much crap we wanted, but we did get some. They sold the Ryvita crackers Kevin likes, generic kitchen stuff (foil, scouring pads, trash bags), that sort of thing. Mom needed a new pitcher, so we got her two. They had a ton of produce for super cheap, though we were hesitant to buy any of it. Most notably, the five-for-a-dollar avocados looked sad.

As soon as we left the store, my sister called. She wanted us to come to the beach as soon as possible because she'd built a sand sculpture of a shickwreck with a fire pit in the middle and we needed to use it so these little brats would stop throwing rocks at it.


Our original plan was to go home and make spaghetti, but mom went biking and Margot was at the beach, so hell. Let's get some fire wood and go to the beach.

Here's a giant photo of the sculpture at sunset. You get the double-whammy of the nice sunset and the nice sculpture.

And here's the ship going down in flames:
the ship is on fire, captain! all hands, abandon ship!

And then there was a pretty moon, which looks terribly gritty in this photo:
almost full

After we gave the fire to an arriving group of teenagers (who had more cases of beer than firewood), we headed home for our spaghetti dinner. Then Kevin and I started to watch Bringing Down the House because, really, how bad could it be?

Pretty bad, actually. I couldn't tolerate it and shut it off about 2/3 of the way in. Kevin wanted to keep watching because it was so bad, he reasoned, that it must get better at some point. I disagreed. Anyway, we watched Talk Sex with Sue Johansen instead because at least that's reasonable.

Sunday morning we got up and started laundry and cleaning. We left around noon. Mom and Margot stayed behind to clean more.

Our stated direction was Astoria, for the Sunday Market. I wanted to buy peaches and eggplant. I got peaches and eggplant. Then I needed lunch or I was going to be grouchy and a terrible driver. We wandered around for ages and found nothing appropriate. We ended up with overpriced hummus from the tiny natural foods store that we ate with pita chips and began the long drive home.

I am a bitchy driver to begin with. I whine when people drive too slow in front of me and I whine when people behind me want to drive too fast and practically tailgate. I fear the presence of any law enforcement. So when I'm cranky and driving, it's not a good combination. Sunday was a bad combination day.

We got through Oregon fine. We got to I-5 fine. Well, some dork was driving through Longview at 30 mph when it's posted at 35, but whatever. We got to Centralia, around the whack right-wing political billboard, and suddenly things were not fine.

A dude in a red Civic Coupe had been following behind me too close for comfort for several miles. This happens all the time, but it usually amounts to nothing. Today it amounted to something.

Near that stupid political sign, traffic in my lane started slowing down somewhat suddenly. So I, too, braked and stopped rather suddenly. Anyone following a REASONABLE distance behind me would've been able to stop in time. Not Mr. Red Civic, however, who popped me in the rear end.

We pulled over. He came over and started telling me he was sorry but he didn't have insurance. What-the-fuck! I got irate. Kevin got out of the car and inspected the back, saying nothing was visibly wrong, and talked to the guy and got his contact information. Then a state trooper showed up and asked why we hadn't called the cops already. Um, 'cos it just happened, lady. Anyway, she gave us forms and filled out the other guy's form because, oh, he's from Mexico and it's all so very confusing.

We finished filling out the form and waited for the cop to come back from her car. Then we saw that she was telling the guy to spread his legs and put his arms behind his back. Apparently he had a felony warrant out for his arrest. No idea for what, but still. Random.

And then my mom pulled up, which I knew would happen. The cop told her to get back on the road and briefly explained what happened. I told her the car was fine and everything, but it was weird. She told me to call her and laughed about it.

So then I made Kevin drive the rest of the trip. And we found a Burgerville so I got my Triple Berry Smoothie and a Spicy Black Bean Gardenburger, both of which were yummy. I just...needed...something right then, and that was it. I was just fucking exhausted and traffic was slow the rest of the way. Ugh.

Today I found out that Josie is, in fact, moving in--this weekend, even--and Chris apparently went to the ER last night. He is worried about the lease and cats and stuff. I don't think that's why he went to the ER, but who knows. And also a beached whale shored up in Seaside at the volleyball tournament and died, while two people got arrested trying to 'save' it. Good job, people. We didn't see any volleyball or beached whales, so I guess we were missing out. What a mad scene.

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