Friday, February 24, 2012

You Can’t Eat Yogurt with a Fork And Other Life Lessons

So the other day I was sitting in my car all ready to eat lunch and read the latest John Grisham novel when I realized I had forgotten a spoon. Since my lunch consisted of an apple, a piece of string cheese and a container of yogurt, that particular utensil was a fairly integral part of the operation. And given that it wasn’t an overly substantial lunch, I didn’t want to forego the yogurt. So I rooted around in the glove box, but couldn’t find a spoon. Instead, I found a plastic fork.

Convincing myself that yogurt is thick and would be edible using a fork instead of a spoon, I unwrapped the utensil and mixed the yogurt. And then commenced eating. The first few bites were pretty successful and I was congratulating myself on my ingenuity. But then about halfway through the container it happened. A blob of yogurt slipped through the plastic tines of the fork and landed in a big splotch smack dab in the center of my black turtleneck.


Thank goodness I carry a Tide Stick in my car for just such laundry emergencies.

So I learned that a fork cannot really serve as a substitute utensil when eating yogurt. Probably not pudding cups either, although I can’t remember the last time I even thought about eating a pudding cup.

Anyway, it made me think of things that I’ve learned over the years.

Like, for instance, you should always carry a spare outfit in your carry-on bag if you’re checking your luggage. Sure, you can say that airlines don’t lose luggage that often, but you’d be wrong, Skippy. Besides, when it happens to you, it’s a big deal.

I’ve had luggage go missing on the return leg of flights, but I don’t care so much about it by then because it’s just a suitcase filled with dirty clothes. But one Christmas I flew to New Mexico to spend the holiday with family. My luggage, conversely, had other plans and took a side trip to Kansas City.

My brother and his wife were staying in a small, remote town about two hours away from Albuquerque while he managed an architectural renovation for a local college. It was a beautiful area, but the shopping situation was not ideal. We drove an hour to find a Walmart where I bought an ugly pair of pajamas and a couple pairs of socks. I figured I could wear the same outfit for a day or two as I was loathe to spend any more hard-earned dollars on stretch pants and a turtleneck with little reindeer printed all over it.

But my suitcase must have enjoyed its visit in Kansas City because it didn’t arrive until the day before I left New Mexico. By then I was so sick of washing my clothes every night and putting the same things back on every morning, I vowed to burn the clothes once I arrived home.

Believe me, it was the last time I made that mistake!

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that you should never wait until the low fuel light has flashed more than once to refill the gas tank. This holds true even if it takes your entire paycheck to fill up. It’s just way too embarrassing to be stuck on the side of the road with no fuel.

This happened to me for the first time when I was a rookie driver and didn’t realize my dad’s car had a broken fuel gauge. We didn’t even have flashing lights in our cars back then when we were low on fuel, so we had to rely on common sense and we had to pay attention to the little arrow on the gauge. But what did I know? So you can imagine my consternation when I stepped on the accelerator and nothing happened. Okay, it wasn’t “consternation” so much as “blind panic.” But 16-year-olds tend to be a little overly dramatic anyway.

I can tell you that I haven’t run out of gasoline since that day long ago. But that doesn’t mean others have learned this lesson. About a month ago, Vince was called on to rescue a friend of ours who had ignored the vehicle’s little flashing light insisting that it was low on fuel. He just as adamantly insisted he could make it a little while longer before refueling.

Not so much.

It’s hard to have as much sympathy for a 40-year-old who runs out of fuel as it is a 16-year-old, but you probably will assist either one when they ask. It’s difficult not to start lecturing, though.

And now, whenever we see our friend, he loudly announces that he has plenty of gas. The comment makes us laugh – and even more so when the crowd around him take a collective step back.

So the big lesson here, boys and girls: ALWAYS carry both a plastic fork AND a plastic spoon in your glove box for emergency utensil coverage. And if you can’t remember that simple rule, you’d better make sure you’ve stocked up on the Tide Sticks.

Oh, and one other thing. Don’t expect to buy cute PJs at a Walmart in a remote part of New Mexico. I just threw that in as a bonus. You’re welcome.

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