Wouldn’t you know it - a traffic snarl about a half-mile from where I needed to turn. It was Saturday and the weekend number of cars on the road usually made this particular stretch pretty uneventful, so I assumed there must be a wreck ahead.
I noticed that all the cars were leaning toward the right lane with their turning blinkers on, which was perfectly normal behavior to get around an accident. But just ahead, I could also see a long stretch of lights and turning blinkers from cars pointing towards me and waiting patiently in the left-turning lane. Not exactly. The real situation involved more diesel truck exhaust. :)
When we finally moved up a car length, I got my first glimpse at the situation. The first thing I saw was a gigantically tall wind wiggler cowboy. Then, dozens of balloons floating from the corners of things. Then, a line of people completely wrapped around the building. Then, a ginormous inflatable Red Burrito Taco Salad out front.
Yes. It was the grand opening of the new Hardee’s in Plainfield, Indiana.
My first and gut reaction was, at it usually is, to poke fun at these morons. I mean, who in their right mind would sit in this line for their turn at a speaker or parking place to get a biscuit? Is this seriously the best they could come up with for a Saturday morning? Then, I got a look at the people waiting in their cars. There were parents and grandparents and children and babies and they were all talking and laughing and oblivious to the ridiculousness of it all. Dang it, they were happy. Why, God, WHY?
I read this year that the people of Denmark are the happiest among us and the primary reason is their low expectations. Denmark, meet Plainfield. Plainfield, meet Denmark. This happy lot in the middle of what used to be KKK country (a big goal around the office is to retire to some land smack dab in the middle of Martinsville, because it’s the hilly part of Indiana, and to hell with the decades of bad karma) doesn’t ask for much and doesn’t expect much.
Damn you, Universe, for exposing me to things and cursing me with higher expectations. I know I will never be as happy as these people sitting in a line to see their new neighborhood Hardee’s on opening day.
When I drove back by at lunchtime (contrary to popular belief, there is more than one road in Plainfield, but I had no idea that the hoopla would last into the afternoon), I noticed that a cop had been called to direct traffic. It wasn’t helping much that I could see and this, of course, opened up a whole ‘nother issue in my head: How can a traffic cop direct stopped traffic?
Argh. Foiled again. Must stop asking why. Must stop asking why. Must stop asking why. Must stop....