FIRST, AN ANNOUNCEMENT – THE EBOOK IS HERE!
THE EBOOK ‘STRANGE CAPER’ HAS BEEN RELEASED AND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE ONLINE STORES:
AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKLOCKER, ITUNES, and KOBO
AND, NOW, ON TO THE BOOK LAUNCH . . .
I had neglected to put out a blog last week. Why? Because I have been in Wisconsin having an adventure. Adventure in Wisconsin, you say? Wisconsin, the land of cheese?
Well, it started in the miniature township of Towanda, Illinois, when Officer Albee pulled me over on Interstate 55. I was on my way to Chicago. It seems I had neglected to obey the ‘3-second rule’ . . . a rule I had never heard of before. Officer Albee was certain that I had known about it from Drivers’ Ed. Unfortunately, I had gotten my driver’s license since before Officer Albee was born. He was not aware of the fact that in the old days, only rich kids took Driver’s Ed. Poor kids (such as myself) learned how to drive when their dad took them to an empty parking lot and taught them how to stop, start, and turn the wheel. Then took them for a spin around the block with a policeman in the car.
The 3-second rule is a simple way to double-check that you are driving at a safe following distance. Choose a fixed point that is even with the car in front of you. For example, a road sign or a building. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, then you are driving too close to the car in front of you and you need to fall back a bit.
No, I wasn’t following the ‘3- second rule’, but seemed to be following a ‘one and a half second’ rule of my own.
So I was pulled over. Officer Albee approached my car slowly, noting the mounds of travel paraphernalia I was taking with me – Two suitcases, two book-packed boxes, three enormous cooler bags full of food, a book signing poster, an easel, and two bulging knapsacks. His hand went to his gun.
At this point, I still did not know why I had been pulled over.
I rolled down my window – the window on the passenger side where he was standing – and waited for him to speak. That was when he told me of my violation. I pretended lucidity and comprehension when he mentioned the ‘three second rule’, but quickly lost my façade of intelligence when I couldn’t remember where my proof of insurance was. After some dithering I finally located it in the glove compartment where it has ALWAYS been kept. He took that and my license and retreated to his car to write up my warning.
Yes, that is all I got – a warning. Because Officer Albee is nice. If they had Pageants for policemen, he would be Officer Congeniality. It went well with his blond buzz-cut, even white teeth, and dimples.
He issued a warning, but he still had to go through the spiel. The questions were straightforward enough, but there was plenty of subtext:
“Are you carrying a concealed weapon in the car?” (I don’t see how you’d have room with all this unnecessary crap packed to the ceiling.)
“No.” (Should I tell him about the paring knife I packed to slice the cheese?)
“Have you ever been arrested on a drug charge? Though, looking at you, I would be surprised if you said yes. [Yes, that part he said out loud.]
“No.” (I’m too tired to submit to a body cavity search. Wait until after I get some pizza.)
Then I was sent on my way.
I arrived in Aurora, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, well after the sun had gone down. This was when I discovered the true merits of using Google Maps.
Firstly, Google Maps directs drivers much the same way pilots use the plane’s instruments to fly through storms. You don’t have to see well enough in the darkness to read the road signs, you just have to follow verbalized directions. After taking me through some intricate turns and U-turns along Aurora’s suburban roads (Traffic in one of Chicago’s suburbs is as frenetic as the traffic in any mid-sized city when panicked residents are being evacuated), I came to my hotel.
The second thing about Google Maps? They lie. Either that, or they think we go by dog years. What takes only one hour in the Google universe takes one and a half in ours. They are like the soothing parents who keep saying, ‘Hold your pee. We’re almost there,’ when they have another half-day of traveling to go.
I checked in, taking the luggage trolley with me. It took two loaded trips to take everything out of the car and into the room. Finally, dinner, a shower, and bed. I had sightseeing plans the next day, and after that, another three and a half hours of driving to reach my destination. Or, according to the liars at Google, two.
The next blog – BOOK SIGNING – PART 2 – will be about insanity, dripping blood, and pygmy hippos.
Stay tuned . . .
I would love it if you left a comment or observation in the ‘leave a comment’ section under this.
Oh, and here is a picture of the sunset that day . . .