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Two Days Before Christmas 2011
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I am about to leave work and rhetorically ask, "I wonder if Wal*Mart will be busy?"

Rob Chang, my co-worker, pipes up with, "I doubt it will be." Then with a moment's hesitation he adds, "It might be."

Taking the sage advice to heart I leave my last official day of work 2011, and head toward the Wal*Mart near my apartment.

I have no pressing need to go ... I simply thought I'd pick up a couple of bottles of Yellow Tail Shiraz, at $6 per bottle, price-wise, can't be beat. I figured I'd avoid the Christmas Eve rush for final purchases that was sure to happen the following day.

By the time I hit Coit, the last major street before my destination, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. It had never taken me so long to traverse this thoroughfare. I took several light changes to get through intersections that I usually get through in two changes ... at the most. Someone pulls out in front of a car, two ahead of where I am, to avoid a dump truck parked in his lane. This was a slow speed maneuver that everyone on the road could see, except, I suppose, the driver of the car in my lane, as they proceeded to plow into the car nosing into their lane. Of course it took both of them a while to extricate themselves from each other. I figured they'd just pull to the right behind the dump truck, and stop to exchange insurance information. Instead, the car that ran into the other car pulled in front of a car in the lane to the left of them (a three lane affair) and the car that got hit finally followed in that general direction, leaving a large piece of its bumper or fender on the road. There was no way for me to avoid running over it without leaving my lane. I learned from the scene I had just witnessed and proceeded to do just that ... run over it. It still took a few light changes to get past the George Bush Turnpike and the next two blocks after that to the left turn lane, Wal*Mart bound. I decided to use the traffic lighted access so I would be assured of an easy turn. I had seen the green left turn arrow working, several times, before I was actually able to get into the left turn lane. Of course there were two drivers that didn't like to wait like the rest of us dumb slobs and cut in front to get into the lane before I could reach it. They both were able to clear the intersection to go to their intended destination. That is when the left turn arrow quit working. Yes indeed, we no longer had the protection of the green arrow. You can imagine it must have taken quite a few light changes to make the turn and I was stuck, now that I was committed by my choice. My dilemma was made even a little more frustrating by the fact that the car that was first in line to make the turn was the same hesitant driver who had left a huge space so the two previously mentioned asshats could jam in front of the line of cars waiting to make the left turn. Ms Careful sat through a couple of light changes, even though cars stopped before entering the intersection so that she could get across. Finally, you could almost see her mentally throw her hands up, then proceed on her way.

All the car in front of me needed, and myself, was the chance to make the turn. The light turned green, the car ahead got through at the first opportunity, as you would expect them to do. I got my full sized pickup nosed out and ready. The light turned amber, the oncoming cars stopped and with no further prompting, I was within hailing distance of Wal*Mart.

I have never seen so many cars in the Wal*Mart parking lot. What made it even stranger to me was it was about 3:30 on a work day. True, it was a Friday and the last weekday before the Christmas break, but, it still amazed me as to how many people were there. That is when I drove to the other side of the parking lot and exited onto the street. I had had enough. I was in no mood to elbow my way through the crowd for a couple of bottles of wine. I didn't need a drink that bad.

Rob Chang ... you were right, it was crowded. I think I'll try again tomorrow morning. Cheers!

Cappy Sig

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