Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Texas by the turn signal light: Day 1 - False start

Writer's Note: This will be an ongoing series of blog entries about the 2006 Bloom vacation through Texas to see minor league baseball, major league barbecue and find just which spot in this state is actually hotter than Hell.

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men … and anal-retentive trip planners like me.
Everything was ready to go, except for me, my wife and our business at the bank. When did it require an all-day vigil at the bank/credit union/sucker of human souls in order to refinance two vehicles in order to pay off a credit card balance (that blew sky-high when Congress allowed the credit card industry last year to rewrite the law and basically permit usury to become legal).
What should have been a 10 a.m. exit from the house, with dreams of arriving in Museum City, Centex version (also known as Waco) around noon evaporated faster than a drop of water on a Dallas sidewalk today (high of 105 degrees and you felt damn degree through your body). As the clock ticked away with “last-minute” errands that took much longer than minutes to execute, it was noon … nope, 1 p.m. before we attempted to head south. However, after a long discussion the night before about household finances, the initial stop had to be at the local credit union (where we bank) for the vehicular refinancing.
Then I said the most stupid words I could have uttered in recent times: “Honey, I wait in the car.” What in the hell was I thinking?!?! That these people would actually complete the transaction and paperwork in due haste? Please! Even in the shade, it was egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk hot.
Or as Neil Simon wrote in “Biloxi Blues,” it was “Africa hot!” You know what I mean. When you’re just sitting there and you feel each drop of sweat fall off the back of your neck and down your shirt like a badly-leaking faucet. Or worse, from under your arms or … other parts of your body that we need not mention here.
A hundred minutes later, my wife, Jodie, emerged with the news that we had to head in the wrong direction from Waco and track down another office to obtain a duplicate copy of our Explorer’s title for the loan officer. And then, it was back to the credit union and more paperwork, more time to wait (you’d think it would have been all done minus this single piece of paper), but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! An underwriter messes up her middle name (how can you screw up the name, “Ann”?) and the second go-round finds more fumbling and bumbling.
But, in the end, we free up our monthly credit payments to keep from drowning, thanks to Congress and its inability not to kow-tow to such anti-consumer special interests.
However, all museums in Waco close at 5 p.m. And it seemed like a waste of time and money simply to drive all there to stay in a hotel when home was just as inviting. Common sense won this round and the reservation got cancelled in time.
Tomorrow we will get up early and avoid anything that resembles an errand or a bank. It will be barbecue in Lockhart at lunch.
Which brings me to this topic: women’s watches; yet another lesson on the difference in behavioral patterns between men and women.
Since we’ve been married, I’ve bought my wife a couple of watches for the most stupid reason imaginable. I though she needed one to tell time.
Wrong! She never wears the ones I purchase because a man buys a watch for the purpose it was designed – to tell the freakin’ time (actually all other functions are just stupid; in this heat, I don’t need to know my time in the 100-meter dash or to program a VCR from my wrist).
Women, however, don’t need to tell time (for some of them … time is not an exact concept. It’s a “when I’m done” figuration). They have their own schedule. But a watch seems to be a wrist ornament and to that end, my wife owns a score of wrist danglers – from a Coca-Cola face to Swatch to whatever Avon is hawking to a family heirloom. Whatever mood strikes her is what she wears; even if the damn thing isn’t functioning. Like time itself, it’s all relative.
A man needs to know what time it is and his use of a watch reflects that. The difference comes in the price of such pieces of information. A Timex and a Tag Heuer perform the same essential function but the price is astronomically different. I have never understood why a person needs to spend $10,000 for something with the name “Rolex” on it when it’s just a freaking watch for God’s sake.
But it IS that way and ain’t nothing I can do about it. However, a man would NEVER EVER NEVER own a dozen watches and wear one depending on his … mood. His watch is his watch – singularly and definitively. It makes a singular statement about him – his dynamics, his personality.
And his need to know what damn time it is at all “times.”

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