Life in the slow lane
... and why trying to be productive never pays off

Life in the slow lane
Zach Hively - 08/31/2023

So this’ll teach me to be efficient: I was being so very on top of things the other day. Like, I had run all the errands I really had to, like getting groceries and stopping for a latte, and I decided –in lieu of going home, where I like to be very much – to swing by the dry cleaners, drop off my one real suit, and see if they had any clothes of mine that I had forgotten about.

This is the danger with dry cleaners. They, in my experience, do not hound me to come get my winter coat or my comforter or either of my nice shirts. Nor do they appear to take my clothes home for themselves within, say, three to five years. They just … store my clothes for me, free of extra charge, on those cool conveyor-belt clothes racks, until I show up on a particularly efficient day, figure out which false phone number they have on file for me (because I hate getting automated marketing messages like “Save 15% this weekend” or “Your items are ready for pickup”), and take home what feels like brand-new outfits for the low, low price of what I paid for them at the thrift store in the first place. 

Such was my state of mind – total #bossbabe – sitting at a red light shortly after leaving the dry cleaners. I felt accomplished. On top of things. Soon to be well-attired. Then I felt rear-ended. This is largely because I was, in fact, rear-ended.

In the other driver’s defense, the light had indeed turned green. I saw it. The driver in front of me saw it. The driver in front of him saw it. But none of us had yet ACTED on it when the woman behind me did. 

“I thought you were going,” she summarized, “but you didn’t.”

We pulled to the turn lane where we could inconvenience the greatest number of other drivers while walking around each other’s cars and rubbing the backs of our own necks. She said this was her first accident, which I am inclined to believe, because a more experienced rear-ender would know to have one current registration in the vehicle instead of two dating from different administrations in the 2010s. She would also have an up-to-date discount insurance card instead of texting someone to Photoshop her one real quick.

I didn’t call the police or file a report, because the last time I called the police for a non-emergency incident they ultimately told me to go home, and then they called me at 2 a.m. to talk about submitting photographs by 4 a.m., and quite frankly we are all lucky I didn’t get arrested at 2:15 a.m. that night.

Besides, it’s all good. I, having come of driving age in New Mexico, know to carry excellent uninsured motorist coverage. In such a seemingly minor bumper-bender as this, I am confident that my automotive repairs and personal bodywork will both fall well short of my deductible. 

I cannot be certain, however. Lawyers from network television shows have advised me not to make public claims about my wellbeing until I have been thoroughly assessed by medical professionals who stand to make much more money if they declare that I may need months of rehabilitation and – I hope – therapeutic massages. 

The problem here is that, whatever my dry cleaning adventure has you presuming to the contrary, I am really, really busy. Like, I am too busy to understand why, exactly, I am so busy. I’ve officially reached the stage in life where the worst thing about an auto accident – even worse than the thought of lifelong whiplash symptoms – is the inconvenience. 

This factor is intensified, because everyone else is even busier. My medical providers can’t book me for three weeks. The earliest the body shop in bed with my insurance company can fit me in for a damage appraisal is a month out. And I’m taking my legal advice from TV.

And all this because I deviated from my norm; because I went against my true nature; because I decided to Be Responsible and do One More Thing While I’m Out Anyway. You’ll never see me making THAT mistake again. In fact, I now possess a sound excuse for never running errands again, except for getting lattes. I hope my dry cleaner gets good use out of that three-piece suit.

– Zach Hively

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