Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

17 December 2007

'Tis The Season

I had to go over to my buddy Matt’s house at 7:30 this morning to proof-read a twenty-five page college term paper that had to be submitted by 9:00. He stayed up most of the night “finishing it” – his term. My term would be “starting it.” (He tried emailing it to me, but his college’s computers use a version of MSWord that my computer does not recognize.)

It’s only about a ten minute drive, and I stopped by Hardy’s to pick up some biscuits and gravy for us to eat while we worked. And coffee. Matt never has any damn coffee in the house. Doesn’t drink it, he says. Neither does he drink iced tea. Makes me wonder just what kind of bogus southerner he is?

Seven a.m. constitutes the start of our “rush-hour” here in puny Pensacola, and people were already out racing around, driving like maniacs, nearly interrupting their cell phone conversations to avoid hitting someone (like me) at the last second. It is quite odd, how frantically people drive on their way to work. It seems that most people do not like to get up and out in the morning, nor do they evidently give themselves even a minute or two of extra time. This should be no surprise. After all, I grew up in one of the great rush-hour capitals of the world: New York City. Maybe that’s why I’m so anti-rushing around nowadays. This morning it seemed like I was just getting in everyone’s way.

The paper did not need much editing. I don’t know a thing about the banking industry, so I can’t comment on the content. Matt submitted it on time, and later in the day learned that it had earned a B+ grade. Not bad, I suppose, for a paper that was only begun to be worked on less than 24-hours before it was due.

No flying today, so I spent it running errands and picking up some last-minute Christmas gifts. The pressure of the season must be getting to people, because the race-car driver mentality was in full-swing all day. That might explain the lunatics on the road this morning, but to be honest they always drive like that on their way to work, Christmas or not.

Finally, this evening I went to Wal-Mart on Creighton Road. I expected it to be a madhouse, and wasn’t disappointed. One guy in a big pickup truck, fed up with the wait in a line of cars that wasn’t moving fast enough for him, just drove over a curbed divider and found an alternate route. I did my usual park-as-far-from-the-entrance-as-you-can routine. Sometimes my friends grumble, but you know what? It only adds a mere 40 steps or so to the trip to the front door. FORTY STINKING STEPS! How many steps are you going to take inside Wal-Mart? And you think an extra 80 is going to kill you? Sheesh.

My rationale for parking so far away is simple: It’s easier to get out of the parking lot. No pedestrians with carts full of groceries behind you way out there. And it’s easier to see cars coming up the row because there’s usually few cars parked around me. I hate backing up.

On the way home, people were still driving like madmen, doing their best impression of a demolition derby or Formula One race. And apparently, I wasn’t driving fast enough for anybody. I just need to be in more of a rush, I guess.

I’ll be glad when Christmas is over and things get back to normal around here...whatever that is.


Hal Johnson said...

Yeah, it's a shame that Christmas, for so many people, amounts to one big stress-fest. Maybe Don Novello's charactor, Father Guido Sarducci, had it right: we should have a "little Christmas" one year, a "big Christmas" the next. On the "little Christmas," gift giving would be minimal, while enjoying the company of friends and loved ones would be the focus.

Sounds good to me. However, my son might differ.

Bob Barbanes said...

Funny you mention Father Guido, Hal. Last night, the Boss took a bunch of us out to dinner. The waiter had a distinct accent...or should I say "indistinct" because we could not place it. Finally, Bossman asked where he was from? "Romania!" he said smiling broadly. When "Gigi" (we wondered about it too) left with our orders, the comptroller to my left leaned over and said, "He sounds a lot like...remember that character, Father Guido Sarducci from the old Saturday Night Live?" I did. And he did. The waiter, that is, sound like him. Dead-ringer in fact, once I thought about it.

At which point I brought up your reference to the "little Christmas" idea. It was received well at the table of adults, but we all agreed that it would never fly with kids, who actually do run the world in this regard.

Good God, what memories! Don Novello (aka Fr. Guido)...ahh, the heyday of SNL.

Anonymous said...

I've always hoped for a little magic at Christmas. It's never disappointed me. This year included.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Guanaja Sharon said...

Merry Christmas to you Mr. Barbanes!
In spite of the mad house in the great U.S. of A. you seem to have a good attitude and in the Christmas spirit. You didn't relate any hollering at the other guy nor irritation over cell phones and drivers!
At least when you go out, you are dry and comfortable. We expect rain here Christmas Day when we go to Manati for our Christmas Dinner which means we will be soaked when we arrive. But, hey, its in the spirit of Christmas and we have a chance to visit with lots of folks.
We all send our wishes for a happy Christmas from the island of Guanaja.