Patsy Porco

Idiot Lesson

In Humor on January 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

My mother uses the term “idiot lesson,” when she’s referring to something ridiculous that happened to her or to someone she knows. The “idiot” in question could be anyone involved. Today, I was involved in my own idiot lesson, and the idiot was me.

My mother’s birthday is January 20th, two days from now. I realized this last night. Of course I hadn’t mailed a gift or card. This morning, at work, I made a homemade card on my computer. Then, on my lunch hour, I ran over to the Gap and found the perfect gift for her. That only took 20 minutes, so I headed over to the post office. When I got there, it was gone; the building which had housed it was gapingly empty. That was weird, because I had recently been to that branch, a mere seven or eight years ago.

As I returned to my car, a fur-coated woman walked toward me. My job is in an affluent town–not the town I live in–so I assumed that the well-groomed, be-furred woman lived there and knew where I could find a different post office branch. I asked her if there was another post office in town and she informed me, in a cultured English accent, that no, there was not. And, she added, it was a sad loss to the community when the branch I was standing in front of was closed.

(As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a sucker for an English accent. If you were to tell me, in an upper-class English accent, that I was really a man and had been living a lie for 52 years, I would believe you. I don’t know why this is–why I admire English accents so much, not why I’ve been living as a woman when I’m actually a man. I know my awe is a genetic trait, though. Back when I discovered that I was pregnant, I enlisted my sister’s help in finding me an obstetrician. She made a few calls and told me who to choose. She said she picked this particular doctor because his nurse-receptionist had an English accent. I made an appointment.)

So, I headed over to a convenience store in my town, ten minutes away, that had a post office in the back. I sent the package via two-day mail and sighed in relief as the clerk affixed the postage to my package. My sigh was sucked back in when she told me that the package would definitely arrive by Tuesday. Tuesday, holy crap! But, it made sense, once I clicked on my brain. Two days from now was Sunday, a day the post office doesn’t deliver, and the next day was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday. If I had previously known these two facts, I wouldn’t have run all over two different towns during my allotted 60-minute break—a break that was rapidly becoming a no-minutes-left break. I could have just ordered flowers over the Internet and had them delivered on time, with no hassle for me. But, it was too late for remorse. I decided to cut my losses and get back to work on time.

I hopped onto the highway connector–which I never drive on–and almost missed the exit to the highway. Almost. I quickly checked the lane next to me, forgetting to also check my blind spot, and moved into the exit lane, almost causing an accident, judging by the angry horn blast from the car behind me. My heart jumped through my chest and landed in my lap. I gave an “I’m-sorry-I-cut-you-off-but-I’m-glad-you-didn’t-crash-into-me” wave to the driver behind me, reinserted my heart, and got off the highway onto a local road. As I approached my workplace, I passed a post office branch in a strip mall–exactly one block from the closed post office I had visited earlier. I could not believe that that English woman had led me astray, and into an almost-accident.

What an idiot lesson, to quote my mother, who will not be receiving her gift on her birthday. I guess I’d better order those flowers, after all. Bloody hell.

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  1. I always thought that “idiot lesson” was a well-known phrase. I just googled it, though, and your blog was the only entry for that phrase. (American Idiot guitar lesson came up a lot, though.)

  2. you make something I’ve done more than once very amusing hooray! I’m not alone.
    Ann

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