Yesterday, I was fortunate to find a parking space at the invariably congested downtown Honolulu Costco monster warehouse. After getting out of my car, I looked for familiar landmarks so that I’d have no trouble later locating where I had parked. Ah, as Jewish wisdom so often echoes, man plans and God laughs.
When I left the store, I wheeled my improperly aligned cart towards the left-hand row where I was convinced my car was stationed. But my Mazda wasn’t in sight. I obviously misjudged where I had parked; instead of turning back to the first row to my right, I methodically but vainly continued my quest throughout the aisles that fanned out to my left. The late afternoon sun was scorching my skin-sensitive face, the inflamed back of the heel on my left foot was excessively smarting, and my stomach flip flopped at the revolting possibility that my car had been stolen.
Then I finally thought of a simple solution. All I had to do was press the bottom alarm (Hold!) locator button on my trusty car gizmo. But it didn’t work. I heard nothing at all. When I looked down, I figured out what I had done. I must have pressed on the next-to-the last Hold button, the one for the trunk. Wonderful! Now my trunk could be open. Although I didn’t have anything too valuable there, I didn’t want people prying into it. I was hot, hurting, and a bit unnerved. Quickly losing composure, I repeatedly pressed the correct Hold button, but to no avail.
I had only one option. I plodded back to the Costco entrance/exit and began searching the other side of the parking lot. Just one lane over, I spied my car. It was intact, and the trunk was closed. What a relief!
Then I realized that I had been too far away from my Mazda for the trunk to open remotely, and evidently once I pressed the trunk Hold button, I had deactivated the alarm mechanism. In the future, if I am rummaging for my car wherever it might be parked, I will have to make sure to press the proper “panic” button. Ah, the joys of computerization. And so it goes.
Two Oddities at the Honolulu 24/7 Fitness Club
THE WOMAN: Most of the time, I don’t observe people while I am on the stationary bike located in the first row of the aerobics room: I read instead. But yesterday, I finished my novel before ending my workout. To amuse myself, I scanned the big mirror in front of me for any quirky, odd behavior behind me. Soon I noticed a very fit young lady methodically pedaling on one of the gliders. She was a well-coordinated multi-tasker. With one hand, she was messaging on her smart phone. With her other hand, she automatically kept pushing her long lustrous hair away from her eyes, especially when the rotating fan at her back was directly blowing on her. She adeptly maintained her well-balanced choreographed movements while I was still on my bike and probably after I left for the weight room. Her arms may have gotten as much of a workout as did her legs; but in each case, she showed no fatigue. She was an impressive impresario of her universe.
THE MAN: Just before I approached the weight machines upstairs, a wiry, elderly man outfitted in neon began effortlessly walking backwards through all of the narrow aisles. When he finished, he changed his strategy. He walked forward following the same routine, but only strode on the sides of his feet. When he finished encircling the gym, he identically alternated going backward and forward, never staggering or bumping into anything or anyone. It was a tour de force.
These upstairs and downstairs routines were exceptionally diverting. What both the man and the woman lacked, however, was passion. Their faces remained impassive, emotionless throughout. Of course, they weren’t performing for an audience; yet if on some level they were showing off their skill, I’d give both of them an A for technique, an A for concentration, but an F for expression.
My Kingdom for a Chicken
Before working out at the gym yesterday, I rode the bus to Sam’s Club to purchase one of their luscious rotisserie chickens. There were only two left. Luckily, I was able to grab the plumpest one, and luckily I was able to scoot into the shortest checkout line. However, that was the end of my good fortune with the coveted chicken.
When I reached the exit, I was told that I had paid for a couple of other items on my list but not for the chicken. So I returned to the fellow who had checked me out. Considering that he was in the process of excavating loads of piled up goods from a huge shopping cart, he was unable to assist me. Instead, I proceeded to the self-checkout, an area whose scanner has never been user-friendly to me, perhaps because my Sam’s card was old and faint.
I was not surprised that my repeated attempts to scan the chicken bar code were futile from any angle, and the only person who might be able to help me was all-too-patiently deliberating with someone else a couple of aisles away. Eventually, she was free to attend to me. I figured that she would have the same problem that plagued me—at least initially. I was wrong. She pressed the scanner once. Presto! Data from the bar code lit up the screen. This woman was just as adept as my wife at rescuing me from my mishaps with mechanisms.
But my chicken woes continued. While I waited for the bus to take me to the fitness center, I felt a bit of aromatic liquid squirt onto one of my legs. It was runoff from the chicken that had somehow leaked from its container and filtered through an unexpected hole in my bag that housed my meager purchases from Sam’s Club. Instantaneously, I had unwelcome guests. Flies were attracted to the chicken juice running down my leg. I quickly wiped away the residue, but to no avail; gobs of flies continued to pester me until the excessively delayed bus finally came.
When I got to my gym locker, I cleaned off and resealed the chicken container, worked out for an hour, and made a quick bus connection home.
Was my chicken misadventure worth it? Absolutely! Right after I entered my condo, I feasted on the still juicy, exquisitely savory dark meat.
I wouldn’t share my portion of chicken with anyone else—not even the lord of the flies.