Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday the 13th, Part 2

Ozgur waved as she passed me by, riding her bike. I, still grinning about the fortuitous meeting, waved back. She turned left and I went right, to the grocery store. I bought my pasta and a few other little things and boarded the bus back to campus to wait for Helen.

WOW! This bus is brand new! I didn’t get up and check the odometer or anything but I could tell: the seats were all clean, the hand rails still had tread marks on them and weren’t worn down to the metal and it didn’t squeak and groan like all the other buses. Not only did the air conditioner work, but the driver had turned it on. All the seats were taken though, so I did have to stand.

No, wait! Someone is waving me over! He had his bags occupying the seat next to him but pulled them onto his lap so I could sit down. How nice! Now I get to ride home seated in air-conditioned comfort. That is when I started thinking about things.

I had a seat on the bus on the way to Hanyang, and a seat on the way home. A good day for transportation. Somehow, my change of plans due to Helen’s phone call and all of my dilly-dallying put me in a position to re-meet Ozgur, a woman so open, friendly and kind. Is this serendipity again, or was I simply meant to have a good day?

Who knows what the Fates have planned?

Somehow, in spite of the auspicious start to my day a niggling bad mood was rising. I think, because of all of my recent social activity, I really needed some downtime. The idea of meeting with Helen was causing me stress even though she is very nice to help me negotiate the purchase and tailoring of that dress. Even though I really enjoyed talking with Ozgur and her friends, it was in the back of my mind that I just really wanted quiet time. I can tell I’m going to have to plan on some quiet time, and soon!

So, having only been home for a few minutes, when Helen shouted through my window that it was time to go, I reluctantly put my book down and grabbed my purse. She is helping me after all; it is not like I can tell her to go away. I was just going to have to make sure that this is a quick, short outing. Not something that is going to turn into a dinner and a return to campus after sunset.

On our way to the security gate Helen told me that I had two packages waiting at the building by the gate. Could I sign for them before we leave campus? Well of course! That is great news, and it picked my spirits up. I had been waiting for these packages and they’ve finally arrived! And on Friday the 13th, at that! Fully aware that Helen was waiting for me at the gate I still took a minute to cut open the bigger package to make sure the books I had ordered were inside. Nothing like getting a new book you’ve never read before!

Now I’m in a better mood. Other than Helen attempting to nursemaid me through the bus ride and across town it was a pleasant outing. My new dress fits me very well and is very flattering, and I even bought a hat to go with it. However, when Helen suggested that I go to her house for dinner and revealed all of her plans for the evening I did tell her that I had other business to take care of. It was not a lie: I did have to verify my bank account so that my patient and kindly friend/tax preparer could finalize my tax returns. It was simply a matter of sticking my card into the ATM machine and seeing if I could access my account, but still: as long as I was in that neck of the woods and the bank is right there, why not take care of the business and buy my downtime while I’m at it?

All is well with the bank, and all is well with Helen. Of course I had to show her that I actually had an ATM card for that bank before she accepted that I might have business there, but all is well nevertheless.

Getting to a bus that would eventually take me home was just a matter of minutes. However, this being rush hour I anticipated having to stand all the way home. So, imagine my pleasure at finding a nearly empty bus that would take me to my connection stop, and then getting off that bus only to find that my next bus had pulled up right behind me and I got to be the first person on? I got seats on every bus I took on Friday the 13th, even in rush hour!
Riding home I decided on a light, crisp cucumber/tomato salad for dinner. That would involve a short stop at the farmer’s market but that caused no pain. I’m always happy to chat with the farmers and they get their little bit of cachet when they are seen chatting with me. Evening brings a whole different crowd of shoppers to the market so the farmer whose stall I always visit got double the ‘guanxi’ she normally would from my visit.

Dinner could not have been better. Frying up a bit of leftover steak to go with the salad and sauteeing some garlic, green pepper and mushrooms with it rounded out the meal. Thus energized I did my dishes and went on a mosquito killing rampage. Then I took pause and reflected on my day. In all, it was an excellent day.

So much for ugly superstitions about Friday the 13th.

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