[Insert Bad Pun Here]

Gentle Readers,

Do you ever stop and wonder when all that bad karma is going to catch up to you? I do. I’m nowhere near stupid enough to think I deserve my usual good luck, so I can accept the occasional visit from the agents of retribution. Like this weekend.

Saturday began happily with breakfast at the Highland Grill with Ray, Heather’s dad. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Ray looks a lot like Danny Glover, and he’s twice as funny. Over breakfast, he told us about one of his many plans for his impending retirement: he wants to buy a sailboat, move to the Caribbean, and island-hop, getting himself officially banned from each port for raucous behavior. He’s hoping to get his banishments in writing from the authorities, too, so he has something to show for all his work.

This is reason #58 why Ray Wilson is one of my idols.

Anyway, after breakfast, Heather and I headed over to the Como Zoo. Now, zoos in Minnesota are disappointing in general, and the Como Zoo is definitely on the low end of the scale. It features several metal cages, about half of which are occupied by signs reading, “Exhibit Empty”. The rest of the cages contain animals in serious need of a good therapist. But it was a nice day, and we wanted to talk a walk and commune with our fellow man, not to mention his many loud and ugly children.

Upon entering the zoo, I headed directly to the bathroom. Anyone who has the good fortune of visiting any public place with me knows that this is how most of my activities begin, due to my excessive consumption of coffee and other beverages1. On the way there, I started to feel sick. I told Heather, as I’ve taken to doing with stunning regularity, that if I passed out and/or died, she should tell the paramedics it was probably something I ate. I reeled into the bathroom and sat there until I could walk without staggering, then went and found a place on a bench where I could recover. After a while, we decided to get up and walk again. We crept slowly around the zoo, looking something like an attendant and patient on an outing from the local group home. The sunglasses hid the glassy stare, but the fact that I had to stop every five minutes to cling to the railing under the pretense of admiring the depressed animals gave it all away. Luckily, the good thing about Minnesota is that no one cares about anyone else at all, so they left us alone. After a while, I felt better, and went back to making bitchy comments about wholesome families under my breath, and pointing out potential man-material to Heather. You know, the usual.

Saturday afternoon, I went out for coffee and was on my way to Lake Calhoun for a walk when I got distracted by the Edina Art Fair. Being a sucker for anything involving festival tents and barricaded streets, I stopped to take a look. About halfway through my meander, I came to a disturbing realization: all these people were at an art fair, where people were selling, you know, art, and what was everyone carrying around? Kettle corn. Giant Hefty Steel-Saks full of sugar-and-oil-coated popcorn. For the love of god. There we were at the very beginning of the outdoor festival season, and already people were jonesing for the grease-laden orgy known as the Minnesota State Fair (aka the ‘Great Minnesota Get-Together’, not to be confused with the Mall of America, ‘The Place for Fun in Your Life’). I went home.

Later that night, Daniel and I were on our way to a show downtown when I blew a tire. I swore, then swore some more, then we changed it. Or he changed it, since I was going to call AAA3. We even managed to make it to the show on time, leaving the car with its new sexy donut-tire to the valet. The next day, he and I headed over to Grand Old Day in St. Paul, yet another beginning-of-the-season street festival, with even more promise of great people-watching and all the deep-fried food you never knew you wanted. Amongst all the cheese curds, corn dogs, funnel cakes, deep-fried Snickers bars (actually, tempura Snickers bars, prepared by the local sushi place, somehow even more shudder-worthy), footlong hot dogs, and, yes, kettle corn, we managed to locate a few islands of culinary interest. He had jerk chicken from the Jamaican stand, and I had vegetable Mo-mos from the Nepalese place. The fair offered some incredible gawking opportunities and many really terrible cover bands, which was enough to keep us happy throughout the five-mile walk in the beautiful weather. And what do I have to show for it? The Minnesota tan: a bright red forehead and nose4. Classy.

We stopped on the way to dinner, and discovered that my car wouldn’t start. The battery was completely drained. It wouldn’t take a jump, so I finally got my chance to summon AAA5. The friendliest tow-truck driver in the universe arrived with a more powerful charger, and managed to get it started. By that point, my car-paranoia was in full swing, and I was too nervous to turn it off, convinced that it wouldn’t start again. We ate hummus and falafel on a blanket in the park about 25′ from the running car; dinner was punctuated by me muttering, “Get the hell away from my car. Don’t steal my car.” every time anyone passed it on the sidewalk. I dropped Daniel off and headed home, on local streets, mind you, since the car was still equipped with the super-hot bright red donut wheel.

I got home, turned off the car, said a little prayer to the god I don’t believe in6, and turned the key. It made a coughing noise, clicked a few times, then went dead.

I thought about breaking something or maybe crying, but decided to go out with Heather and forget about it. Half Zen, half amnesia: the healthiest approach to irritating situations. This morning, I drove Heather to work so that I could run all my critically-important errands involving produce, lunch, and coffee. As we pulled out of the driveway in her car, I noticed that the donut tire had gone flat during the night.

I hope it’s happy. Traitor7.


1 If you’re keeping track, which you obviously are, flip open your notebook and add another item to your list of fun facts about me2: 4) Has to pee a LOT.

2 You haven’t started that list yet? It’s time to catch up:
   1) Wakes up pissed off every single morning.
   2) Porn name would be ‘Smokey Adams’.
   3) Born in Milwaukee. (Shut up.)

3 Before you start accusing me of being a girl, I’ll have you know that I do, in fact, know how to change a tire, and have done so more than once under less-than-optimal conditions. I just don’t like getting my hands dirty.

4 This picture doesn’t really do the pinkish glow justice, unfortunately:

5 Please, someone slap me hard the next time I say, “I don’t know if I should renew my AAA membership this year. Is it really worth $60?”

6 Does that make the situation worse, or is the prayer just ineffective? This is something I wonder when I’m in the middle of hedging my bets.

7 Does that photo make my car’s butt look big?

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