As you likely have already surmised, I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting outside coffee houses absorbing the essence of Florida. If you do so long enough, blog material just leaps into your lap. Yesterday I was enjoying a Grande Mocha at the local shopping center, seating myself at a difficult parking lot crossroad. Although the intersection looks a lot like a 4-way stop, the road leading to and from the lot entrance in fact has the right of way by dint of no stop sign.
Enter old Mr. Joseph Schlesselman, whom you may recall from his recent dunking in the Gulf of Mexico. I knew it was him* because he was driving that same old Mercury Marauder, the one with the waterline on the paint job. Hunched over his steering wheel, he drove up to the stop sign at the crossroad. I drank my mocha, knowing pretty well what would happen next.
Another car approached from the left, on the road with no stop sign. Mr. S started to go, then , sensing danger, fumbled around in the foot well until he blundered onto the brake pedal, stopping quickly enough to bounce his noggin off the big steering wheel. The other car breezed through the intersection without so much as slowing down or waving to the mildly concussed Mr. S. (No stop sign, mind you.)
Mr. S exploded into a feckless fury at the rapidly disappearing car. He cackled obscenities that even this adult-directed blogger blushes to recall, shaking his mottled fist and spraying spittle onto the distant Marauder windshield. Boy, was he pissed.
Eventually, Mr. S recovered enough of his faculties to negotiate the intersection and herky-jerk his way into the first Handicapped space he saw. I sipped my mocha as Mr. S scuttled into the liquor store. Obviously, the story was not over.
On his return, pint-sized package in hand, Mr. S hopped - so to speak - into the old Merc and see-sawed his way back onto the roadway. Now, however, he was on the main parking lot road, approaching the very intersection where his erstwhile adversary had run the non-existent stop sign. The shoe, as it were, was on the other foot. (Eagle-eyed readers will recall that Mr. S has a wooden leg.)
As I slurped down the last of my mocha, Mr. S blasted through the funky intersection like a high-balling freight train on a night run to Juarez. By that time, Mr. S's alter ego was approaching the intersection from the other direction, threatening to T-bone the blithering Mr. S. Alter-S hunkered behind the massive wheel of an ancient Lincoln with peeling leatherette top. As Mr. S careened on by, Alter-S managed at the last instant to bumble across his own brake pedal, noggin-smashing and casting imprecations upon the hapless Mr. S for not stopping.
And so it goes.
* Legal disclaimer: I suppose this may not have been the same hapless Mr. Schlesselman that drove into the Gulf a couple months back. After all, there are other old farts driving old Mercury Marauders. That does not make me feel a lot better.