Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Happens to Frozen Pizza in the Back Seat of a Black Truck, in August, During a Heatwave in Pennsylvania

Grocery shopping can be an ordeal. I spend much time fighting the temptation to cater to every child's slightest whim, or working crowd control -- prohibiting folks from demonstrating their latest dance move in the open aisles of the store, or curtailing everything from batting practice with baguettes to wind surfing from the nether regions of the grocery cart. Solution: I make out my list when the weekly circulars arrive on Thursday, and shop Friday after work -- alone!

This week I grabbed a few frozen pizzas for the moments when everyone succumbs to the munchies, about fifteen minute into "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on Saturday night. Unfortunately, discerning critics that they are, my family only likes one brand of pizza, and on Friday morning, that brand was stocked with multiple variations on the "meat pizza," but no "plain cheese" whatsoever. I pondered, selected, reconsidered and compromised, finally leaving with, I thought, three pizzas despite my desire to "stock up." As I was leaving the market parking lot, I encountered one of those nice folks who like to cut across rows of parking at break-neck speed to grab the spot closest the front door, thereby eliminating the need for physical exercise or shoe repair. I "locked 'em up," as they say, and heard my groceries slide past me. Well, not quite, but I was certain I'd be picking slices of bread from the air conditioning vents. When I got home, Christine helped me unload the car and stow my plunder. Something told me I should check for any stray cottage cheese that might have made its way under the seat during my abrupt stop, but I let it go.

Saturday night, after several days of 90-or-more degree temperatures, we decided to take a ride to Georgio's, a local ice cream/ water ice institution, to get a little relief. As we were climbing in to the car -- six people, one dog (Belle had been a bad girl when getting ready to leave, and had to stay home) and visions of sublime confections dancing in our heads -- someone barked at Olivia to "Move Over!" "I can't!" she responded, "There's a pizza here!" There was no surprise in her voice -- nothing unusual about a pizza in the car. Her oppressor's reply was, of course, "Well, move it!" Once again, no surprise, no disbelief. It was a very simple problem, and a very simple solution.

After I replayed Friday morning's events and decided on an answer to the question "Why is there a pizza in my car?" I considered going back inside the house with the wilted saucer of botulism. OK, turn off the ignition, shutting down the A/C, take the house keys, open the front door, turn off the alarm, take off my shoes, run to the kitchen trash - no, better make it straight out back to the garbage cans -- so carry my shoes with me to slip back on before I head out the back door... Plan B: toss it in the first dumpster we pass.
As Scott was lobbing eight dollars into the trash can at Burger King, I began to think about some of the speed bumps or even road blocks of life, that we encounter from time to time. Children only begin to ask "why?" as they age or are taught to ask such questions. When they are young they have an "It-Is-What-It-Is" attitude, and respond with a "Just-Do-It" solution. Sometimes that can be most frustrating for a parent who is trying to teach their child to think, ask questions about their environment, and make wise choices. But sometimes, we need a little more of that in all of us.

When faced with someone who has treated us unfairly, we gossip and rage. When "the impossible" is put upon us by spouses or bosses, we whine and worry what "the other guy" is doing. Our government is great at appointing special committees to decide "why" before we make any adjustments to "what," thereby delaying the approval of medications and burying bills that provide a succinct solution to what is wrong. And, me? I am great for developing, at least, a ten-step program to tackling my spiritual blight. By the time I get to step three, I've given up and decided to "cook some breakfast first."

So, today I am going to work on "getting the pizza out of the car" and worry less about how it got there. Chances are, I really don't need to think too long to know how it got there in the first place, I just didn't try too hard to prevent it.
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