I eye the man’s full grocery basket with disdain.
He should have offered to let me go ahead – I only have two things! I think angrily, as the cashier at Whole Foods starts scanning the man’s (unbagged) avocadoes.
I make a valiant effort at a deep and cleansing breath. Two minutes isn’t going to make that much of a difference, Diana. I rationalize. You have plenty of time to get to the airport. And you’ll be thankful you stopped for the fruit when you are starving during your 14-hour travel itinerary to South Carolina.
I try to focus on the headlines of the health and wellness magazines to my right, but am immediately distracted when the man reaches into his basket, tears off a few cilantro leaves and plops them into his mouth. I instinctively clutch my two apples and three tangerines closer to my chest.
Why, why, why did I have to pick this line?
After a few more excruciating minutes, the cashier finishes ringing up the cilantro-snacking freak’s transaction, and it’s my turn. I hurriedly throw a $5 bill at the cashier to cover the $3.47 charge, and bolt for the exit as soon as I get my change. I can’t be late.
It’s nearly 10 pm by the time I get to my car. I still have two and half hours before my red-eye flight departs for Minneapolis, but I need to park my car at the Parking Lot, take the shuttle over to LAX, check my bag, and get my seat assignment since the Delta website didn’t allow me to print my ticket off earlier in the day.
I'm sort of a nervous flyer.
I’m planning on taking Fairfax to La Cienega Blvd., avoiding the freeway, but as I near the turn on to La Cienega, I see a massive traffic jam ahead.
“Crap...” I mutter, immediately turning my car around to back track to the 10.
At the late hour, traffic is moving fast on the freeways, but when I exit the 405 I’m still nervously eyeing the clock. The right turn signal is turning yellow and I know I should stop, but it’s a “No Turn on Red.” I don’t want to be stuck waiting there for a couple more anxious minutes. I gun the accelerator and the light turns red just as I enter the intersection.
My sigh of relief is cut short when I spot a police car sitting idle on a perpendicular street a block away.
Did he see me? I wonder, as I skittishly continue driving along La Tijera.
The police car turns onto the street, following me while I nervously drive under the speed limit (40 mph). We continue like this for a few more blocks – me compulsively staring into my rear view mirror and driving like a 90-year-old, him – tailing me like we are playing a game of follow the leader. Suddenly the red and blue lights begin to flash, flooding my car with shame.
Am I going too slow? Did he see me at the light? Is there any way I can get out of this? I think, frantically pulling my car over.
Twenty minutes later I pull back onto La Tijera with a ticket for failure to stop at a red traffic light before making a right turn – an infraction that I consider indirectly related to my decision to stop for three measly tangerines and two Jazz apples 45 minutes prior.
Unless, of course, the cilantro-snacker cast a bad luck spell on me for judging his freakish snacking ways.
It would certainly explain why my window didn’t roll up for nearly 10 minutes once I finally did reach the Parking Spot, and why a family of four had to give up their tickets on my overbooked flight for me and three other passengers to receive our seat assignments after the entire plane –including my travelling companion—had already been boarded.
You better believe I ate every single piece of fruit this weekend. Even the apple that froze in my hotel’s mini-fridge.