I was feeling pretty smug.
I'd gotten up early. Well, okay I had to get up early because Friday is a work day and no pre-alarm clock call had come saying no school. I was showered and dressed and peering into the almost empty fridge looking for something besides a container of yogurt to take for lunch when the phone did ring. In sonorous tones the superintendent of schools announced that school was closed due to flooded roadways. I did a little happy dance and put the yogurt back in the fridge. Then I changed my work slacks and collared blouse for jeans and a tee, grabbed my camera, and headed for the river to see what I could see.
An hour later I was back home, having scared myself silly wading through what looked like a harmless overflow but was in reality a tiny but potent portion of the leaping, swirling, steroid-muscled river. Still, I emerged unscathed. I played out the rest of the day in my head as I made breakfast. Grocery shopping was at the top of the list along with getting my car inspected. There were two overdue library books on the table and a new one awaiting me at the library. I set off, knowing I would encounter detours but as there are a number of ways to get to the supermarket, I was confident I'd get there sooner or later. The first roadblock appeared before I'd gone two miles. Along both sides of the alternate route, water edged the road and in some spots meadows had turned into lakes. It was only a few miles out of the way however, and I was in and out of the store within the hour.
I'd noticed several cars heading south on the main road and thought if they were going that way, surely the main road must be passable, at least to the point where I'd had to detour so instead of returning the way I'd come, I headed home using the most direct route. It was the second poor decision of the day. When I got to it, the road I'd thought I could turn on was completely submerged. I had to take a different road altogether, this time going many miles out of my way.
By now it was lunchtime so when I finally got home I munched an apple and some cheese and a handful of nuts, grabbed my overdue library books and headed for the inspection station at a local garage. The bay was empty, an attendant was available and I thought, well, things are looking up! And they were. The car passed inspection without a hitch, I had just enough money in the checkbook to pay for it, and there was an immediate break in the traffic as I was ready to pull out. There was even a parking place in the shade at the library. Before going in, I gathered together the inspection papers to put them in the glove box. The date at the top of the uppermost paper caught my eye. Good through 6/12 was written in the little gray expiration box. 6/12? But this was September. I looked hastily at the sticker in my windshield. Yes, there was a bright orange 9. So why did my inspection expire next June? Shouldn't the date read 9/12? Well, I'd just pop back to the garage and ask the nice fellow why he'd put the wrong date on my inspection papers.
He smiled in recognition when he saw me. "Forget something?" he asked.
I smiled too, and showed him the uppermost paper. I pointed to the little gray expiration box. "This says 6/12," I said. "Shouldn't it read 9/12?"
He looked at me for a moment. "Ma'am," he said. He cleared his throat. "Ma'am, this is your car registration." He lifted the first page and tapped the second. "This is your inspection data."
I felt my face get hot. I made a little moue with my mouth and shrugged. "You'll have to forgive me, " I said. "I used to be a blonde."
He looked nonplussed for a moment. Then he smiled, scratched his head and went back into the bay. I was so embarrassed I didn't notice the slight dip in the pavement. My foot caught and I did an exciting little shuffle before lurching into the side of my car. This time I had to sit for several minutes waiting for a break in traffic, my face burning as laughter burst from the depths of the garage bay. I am certain the words "women drivers!" were in that conversation somewhere.