Proof of Time Travel

I have been sick all week – not just tired and sniffly sick, but disgusting, can hardly move, racking coughs, my head turned into a snot factory sick.  It started small last Sunday, and I sort of thought it was a hangover, which puzzled me, because I, while I had imbibed a significant number of ciders the day before, it had been very spread out, and I had tempered them with lots of water.  

“Oh, well,” I thought.  “Fair is fair.  I’ll suffer through it.”  But then, all day, I waited for it to go away, and it didn’t, which didn’t seem fair at all, because it hadn’t been THAT many ciders.  And then I woke up on Monday, and everything was much worse, and that’s when I realized that it wasn’t a hangover at all, and I felt very let down by the Universe.  I mean, I don’t mind paying the price for making poor beverage choices, but being actually sick is not okay.

I should mention at this point that I’m really not used to getting sick.  I have an excellent immune system, and so I only catch the really bad bugs, and when I catch one, it goes all out.  So, while most of the people around me got the sniffles for a few days, I have been laid up for an entire week, and, of course, amid all of this, I read an article about a couple in Mongolia who died of the Plague.

Yes, the actual wiped-out-half-of-Europe-and-a-great-deal-of-Asia-in-the-Middle-Ages Plague.  Apparently that’s still a thing.

So, I’m reading this article, and it’s talking about how there are two types of plague, bubonic and pneumonic, and it’s listing the symptoms of pneumonic plague, and of course I have all of them.  

Fortunately, I’m not a hypochondriac, and, since I also happened to have all of the symptoms of a common head cold, and live very far away from Mongolia, I didn’t freak out.  But it got me thinking.

This article claimed that the plague still exists because it’s being carried by fleas, and every once in a while one of these fleas gets into a populated area, and the plague crops up in a person.  But this is clearly nonsense.  I mean, obviously, if it wiped out so many people back in the day, if it was still around today, it would obviously just go ahead and wipe us all out again.  Right?

So, obviously, what’s happening is time travel.  These people in Mongolia went back in time to the Middle Ages, caught plague, came back, and died.  My question is, did they mean to time travel?  Did they suddenly come upon a portal to the Middle Ages in a cave somewhere?  The article said they were hunting marmots or something like that.  So, maybe, while hunting, they came across a wormhole to Medieval Times (the era, not the novelty restaurant), caught the Plague, and returned, never even realizing that they’d been away. 

OR are they the inventors of time travel, or perhaps even part of a secret time traveling cabal, located deep in the Mongolian mountains?  I mean, you’d naturally expect them to be in Tibet, but Mongolia’s relatively close, and maybe they figured they’d throw us off the scent by going a little bit north.   

And apparently the plague is always cropping up in Mongolia.  So, it seems pretty clear to me: there is either a wormhole to the Middle Ages in Mongolia or a group of time traveling mystics based out of Mongolia who has a bad habit of catching the Plague every time they go to the Middle Ages.  The moral of the story?  Don’t go to Mongolia or you will almost certainly catch the Plague.  Or you might get killed by Genghis Khan.  Actually, it’s sort of an either/or thing, because Genghis Khan lived about a century before the Plague hit, but those are the only things I know about Medieval Mongolia.  I’m assuming there were also pagodas.  

Image by Sharon Ang from Pixabay




A Lost Skill

I drove up to Seattle the other day for my Grandpa’s 89th birthday party.  My Grandpa is kind of a badass – he only recently stopped playing tennis several times a week, and still hikes and lifts weights.  I’m convinced it’s because of all the martinis he used to drink.

While I was up there, I had to pump my own gas, like a barbarian!  It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a car that could handle a road trip.  And I’ve lived in Oregon for 7 years.  Consequently, 7 years is how long it’s been since I’ve pumped gas.  Turns out it’s like riding a bike.  

I didn’t ride a bike at all during my young adulthood.  When I got back on one, it had probably been about 7 years since I’d ridden.  And I fell off a whole bunch, because, as it turns out, riding a bike is not “like riding a bike.”

Pumping gas was a similar experience, except with less bruising.  First, I pulled up to the pump and sat there for a few seconds. waiting for the attendant, before going, “Oh!  Right!” and getting out of the car.  Next, I carefully read the instructions on the screen, which were something along the lines of “Put your damn card in already; we haven’t got all day.”  So I put my card in, and pulled it out, like you do, and then put in my PIN, and I was just starting to think it was all going to be super easy, when the next instruction came up, which was, “Remove nozzle and push button.”

I removed the nozzle, and looked for a button on said nozzle.  There was no button.  I turned back to the screen, but there was no change in instruction.  So, I said to it, “Look, there’s no button.  There’s a trigger-thingy.  Should I pull the trigger thingy?”  It didn’t respond, so I put the nozzle in the tank (oh, yeah, I had already opened up the tank), pulled the trigger-thingy, and stepped back.  Nothing happened.  

I looked around wildly for inspiration, and lo!  I beheld the buttons next to the screen, for selecting the grade of gas.  Ah, yes, I remembered.  We have to select the grade.  I selected the grade, and once again, stepped back expectantly.  Nothing happened.  I released the trigger-thingy and pushed it again, and lo!  It worked!

As the gas pumped, I looked around to make sure there weren’t any smug Washingtonians jeering at me, but thankfully, the Renton Shell station was pretty deserted at 8:00 on a Sunday morning.  So I waited for it to click off, and it did, and I grabbed the gas cap, and noticed that it had explicit instructions, which I thought was odd, because I didn’t remember it being all that complicated to put the cap back on.

The instructions told me to turn until it clicked and warned that if it didn’t click, my Check Engine light might come on.  So I turned it, and it stopped, but it didn’t click.  I spent about five minutes trying to get it to click and it never did, so I got back in my car, gingerly turned it on, and waited for it to catch on fire.  It didn’t, and the light didn’t come on, and I drove all the way back to Oregon and I still live.




The Grave Consequences of Not Finding Pants

As a bookkeeper, I interact with the tellers at the bank every day, and my favorite teller, Jessica, is in the middle of an epic quest to find pants.  It would seem that this crusade * has been most difficult, and complicated by the fact that she dislikes shopping, like some sort of un-American communist traitor.  She’s been to multiple malls, shops, and thrift stores, and still the Pants *** elude her.  And so I started wondering, “What is the worst case scenario here?  What could happen if she can’t find any pants??”

Anything.  Anything could happen.  This weekend, in desperation, she’s planning to hit up Dress Barn.  This sounds terrifying.  Just think how many maniacs there are who go into Dress Barn, fooled by its name into thinking it’s a depot of clothing for their farm animals, and are dismayed to find goat frocks nowhere in sight.  I mean, these are people who dress up their goats – Goat Dresser-Uppers if you will.  Gresser-Uppers, in fact.  Any one of these psychopaths are liable to snap at any given moment in time, particularly when foiled in their attempts to obtain animal costuming.  

Let’s say Jessica is in the Dress Barn, perusing Pants when a Gresser-Upper – let’s call her Fran – realizes she’s in the wrong place.  Fran will most likely be sporting the latest in modern collapsible scythe technology, folded up in her chicken-shaped purse.  Fortunately, or so it will seem at first, she will be in a completely separate section of the store, so Jessica will escape Fran’s initial rampage.  She will emerge from the Pants section to witness a bloodbath, as Fran lays waste to the Pajama section, sending entrails and sleepwear flying about. 

Jessica, being your typical action-hero-bank-teller type, will immediately run to the aid of the wounded, pulling out her medical kit as she does so.  As she tends to an injured woman, Sylvia, a stray platform shoe will strike her in the forehead, knocking her into a coma.  She will slump to the floor next to Sylvia, who has just returned from a journey to a remote region of Siberia.

When the paramedics arrive, they will take Jessica to the hospital and attempt to revive her.  She will sink deeper into her coma, lying for weeks without moving.  Finally, her agonized family will decide to pull the plug.  On the day they are gathered around to say their goodbyes, Jessica will suddenly open her eyes, sit up, fall back down because of atrophy, and begin to shriek for brains, having picked up the zombie virus from Sylvia, who got it from the Siberians, who didn’t know they had it because it’s dormant in the cold.  

So, now Jessica is going to start the zombie apocalypse, just because she couldn’t find any decent Pants last weekend at the mall in Salem. 



 *Note: Initially, I used the word “quest” again here, but then it felt repetitive, so I looked it up in the thesaurus to find a new word, and accidentally typed it twice, and ended up thesaurusizing “thesaurus.”  The synonyms for “thesaurus” are reference book, glossary, lexicon, onomasticon **, terminology, and vocabulary.

 **WordPress doesn’t think “onomasticon” is a word, or at least thinks doesn’t know how to spell it.  It’s not keen on “thesaurusizing” either.

 ***I feel like at this point in the pilgrimage ****, a capital letter is appropriate.

 ****Another word for “quest.”

Pride Goeth Before Getting Completely Lost

I was so proud of myself this past Monday.  I went out and socialized with total strangers, which is typically really hard for me.  I went to a meet-up of writers at a coffee shop, and it was super duper awesome, and I’m not just saying that because they all said they were going to look up my blog (HI, GUYS!).  So, I was proud of myself for socializing fearlessly (or at least while ignoring my fears), and also because it was in a part of town I don’t know very well, and I found the place without using my GPS.  And then, afterward, when I left, again without using my GPS, I took exactly two turns before finding myself completely lost, on a dark windy road, in the middle of nowhere.

So, I kept driving, thinking, “I’ll turn around at the next turn.”  But it was dark, and it was a back-country sort of road, with a 40 mph speed limit, so I kept missing turns until I was right up on them, and it was too late.  And I couldn’t slow down, because there was a big truck behind me, who kept not passing me, even when the lines turned dotted, and it was very upsetting.  

So, finally, after about ten minutes of driving, I came to a spot with several houses grouped together, and I managed to turn into a driveway.  Obviously, it turned out to be the same driveway the aforementioned big truck behind me was turning into.  It was dark, so I couldn’t see his face glaring at me, or the gun he was probably getting out, but I’m picturing a big gun and a mustache. 

Luckily, it was a big driveway, and I was able to awkwardly scramble my way through a three-point turn while he sped in around me, and pulled a graceful, practiced u-turn.  And then I got the hell out of there, and made it home without further incident.   

I’m gonna do it again next week, and I’m very excited!  The socializing, I mean.  At the writer’s group meeting.  I’ll turn right this time when I leave.

I Have a Soul!

I Have a Soul!

Okay, technically, I now have TWO souls.  I have the one that came with me when I was born, and I just bought a new one as well!  She’s a car.  A Kia Soul.  I have named her Aretha, and if you don’t know why, I don’t want to be friends with you.  She is 100% better than my old car, Elphaba in the following ways:

  1.  She has no dents.  Not even one.  Nor scratches, dings, or upholstery stains.  
  2. She does this amazing thing where, when I hit the go pedal, she goes, right away, even if I’m stopped, without waiting for a couple of seconds to be sure I really mean it.  And similarly, when I hit the stop pedal, she slows down immediately, even if I don’t push it all the way down.
  3. She’s so roomy!  I couldn’t even get Elphaba’s trunk open.  Aretha’s got a back door, which opens onto a whole cargo area the size of the Millennium Falcon!   I’ve bought groceries twice now, and each time, I’ve loaded them up with the giddiness of a teenage prankster.  It’s magical.  And when I took Han Smeowlo to the vet, and he got out of his crate, it took me like five minutes to catch him again in the back seat. 
  4.   She doesn’t make any kind of funky noises when I take her over 50mph, so I don’t have to compromise between not pissing off all the other drivers, and wondering exactly how long I have until my engine explodes and we all die, including those other drivers.  And I can take her on the freeway!

I will say that Elphaba was better than Aretha in the following way:

  1.  She was free.