This has been a really long day...really, really long...J had a followup appointment with his new doctor in Franklin, Tennessee, which is about 4 1/2 hours from here. He was dreading the drive up and back, and because I was off, I had asked if he wanted me to go with him to help drive. I squelched the urge to take the camera, given that we had a mission and he is a lot like my dad in that regard: drive til you get there, do what you need to do, and drive til you get home. I really do credit Rand with teaching me to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I made do with all the sights and the mental images and the plans for a future road trip just for fun. I worked a bit on my research proposal, and we listened to some of his music, and occasionally talked, and even laughed.
Just out of Franklin, we approached this "bridge" and wondered about it. I tried looking it up on the iPhone, but no luck. We had to drive through downtown Franklin to get to the doctor's office, and I was pretty much gaga--beautiful buildings, a wonderful old theater, and me just itching to go back for a weekend. I allowed as how I might rather live there than in Oxford.
If that was not enough (the gorgeous downtown) 1/2 block from the doc's office is a Whole Foods. "Wow, they have a Whole Foods! I can go shopping for Thanksgiving dinner while you are seeing the doctor!" Do you really think food will keep the 4 1/2 hours for the trip back home?
No, but did I mention that I love Whole Foods? When I was doing graduate work on my PhD at UTArlington, one of the best perks was the opportunity to run over to Dallas to the Whole Foods on those days I finished early and had a few hours to spare before the drive home, or the days I had to be in Oak Cliff--Gateway to Dallas--for my research practicum, and it was not even out of the way to zip over.
It was another beautiful drive back to the Interstate, and we learned that the "bridge" was the Natchez Park Traceway. That made sense for why there was not an entrance/exit ramp. Not too long after we made the I-40, I wanted a quick exit to the McDonald's and grab a Coke. As I pulled into the lot, I noted an SUV pulling a boat, parked across ALL 3 Handicapped
spaces by the door. I said I thought I would just stop in front of him, but J said "please don't make a scene." Luck was on my side, and the non-handicapped space directly in front of the vehicle (pictured below) was open. I pulled in. There was no way he could move until I did.
I pulled out my handicapped parking tag, and my camera, and had intentions of going over and explaining to the person that he was perhaps not realizing the significance of his actions about blocking reasonable access to the building, and would he be so kind as to move? J said again, "Please, don't make a scene; I just want to get home." I settled for backing out, taking a photo of the person who walked up to confront him, and letting it go. Trust me, I did not want to let it go. If I had been alone, I am pretty sure I would have blocked access, if it meant lying down in front of his SUV and chancing getting run over. Perhaps this is the sort of "personal" thing that starts a social movement. I remember when my dad said the first time he had to park behind a building and wheel my niece to the back door of a public building how he finally understood about access.
Back on the Interstate, and deeply regretting the choice to exit, we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper and at times, dead standstill traffic, for no reason we could discern. Law enforcement was on the side of the road--which always tends to slow things down--but we saw no wrecks or other reasons to delay traffic. We finally opted thanks to Google maps, iPhones, and Nuvi, to exit and took a back road. That was both good and bad: good, it got us off the stand-still Interstate; bad, as we topped a hill on 2-lane traffic, we are approached head-on by a car in our lane who has passed on a hill in a no-passing lane, at night, in the dark. I braked and swerved right and he or she sped up and swerved in front of the car being passed. Let me just say that at that moment, J said, "I am glad you came with me today." So was I.
So, getting home 2 hours later than planned, and my unwillingness to go to the grocery store then, and the distinct possibility that it would have been pointless at 9 pm the night before Thanksgiving anyway, we very well might be having "pantry staples" for dinner tomorrow.
You know what I am thankful for in spite of this? That J is better, this doctor is interested and caring, we made it safely home, and even if it is not special, we will eat tomorrow.