Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Long Way Home


Last night I went to a Toastmasters meeting in Woodbury. The name of the club is Positively Outspoken. I'm one of the two club coaches. (When a club is struggling with membership, it can ask for one or two club coaches to help it get back on its feet again.)

I was scheduled to give a speech. My title was "Know the Candidates." I gave a brief rundown of all nine DFL gubernatorial candidates. It was brief because I only had 5 - 7 minutes to speak. Afterwards I received verbal and written evaluations. This is a very helpful part of Toastmasters. It teaches us to become better speakers.

One commenter said that she was glad to hear my speech because she had no idea who was running for governor. I had given out handouts listing eac of the candidates I spoke about. She said she would take it home and study it and then do further internet research on the candidates by using their websites.

Another member said the only two candidates she ever heard of were Mayor Rybak and Senator Dayton. She, too, said that she wanted to learn more about all of them.

When the meeting was over, I started my journey home. I won't say it was uneventful. That was far from the case.

When I drive, I hardly ever get lost. But Woodbury somewhat confuses me, probably because I don't go there very often. Or maybe because there are two major freeways and all the roads have to swerve out of their way. I didn't want to take the freeway home because the left headlight of my car is out. (As you may recall, my youngest son rearended a bus and turned my hood and the front of my car into an accordian.

Somewhere I missed a turn and ended up in Lake Elmo (the town, not the lake). It was dark, there was ground fog, and I ended up on some road in the middle of nowhere. There was no white line and no yellow line. I couldn't see. It was rather frightening. Downright scary, for there I was in the boondocks and didn't know which way to go because there was no light anywhere. It was pitch black. I was really stressed out, not knowing what to do (it usually works out in the end, though). I don't even have a cellphone. No houses around. Nothing. Lost. I could drive in circles out that way all night. Most of the roads end.

Finally I saw the lights of a house peering out of the foggy darkness. I knocked on the door and told the lady who answered that I needed help. We agreed that she should call the Lake Elmo police. I waited in my car for them to arrive. I figured they would give me a ticket for having a missing headlight. They didn't.

They did run my driver's license. I pretty much expected that. I was clean. Nothing on my record at all. I don't get caught speeding (if you saw my car you would know why I don't speed very much), I don't have car accidents (my car sometimes does, but only when I'm not in it), and I have never in my life had a DUI (probably because I don't drink). However, the cop who was driving got out of his car and looked at me closely. He looked at my coat. He looked at my Dayton campaign pin.

"Lady, have you been drinking?"

"I'm not a drinker," I replied. I didn't inform him that I haven't had a drug of choice since the late 1960's, and that was LSD. I didn't think he would understand. Plus, after forty years, it's irrelevent.

"Well then, Ma'am," he continued, "have you ever been told that you shouldn't drive at night?"

"No, I have not. I have been told that I should get my headlight fixed."

Ooops. I really do need to know when to keep my mouth shut. Thankfully he overlooked that.

"So what's up with this campaign button?" he asked. "It's a bit early for that sort of thing, isn't it?"

"No, it certainly is not. The trick is to get the candidate's name to as many voters as possible. By the way, who are you voting for?"

"Haven't decided yet, Ma'am. Tell me, does this Dayton know his supporters get lost easily?"

"I rarely get lost," I replied emphatically. "However, if you would paint your roads with the appropriate white and yellow lines, people wouldn't get lost in Lake Elmo."

"It's not our fault, Ma'am," he said sadly. It's the big budget cuts. We can't even afford paint to do it by hand. Darn Governor Pawlenty."

We then cheerfully discussed the shortfalls, idiotic policies and ridiculous mindset of Tim Pawlenty. There is now a new Dayton supporter wearing a cop uniform in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

I then got my own police escort back out to the highway. I was on my way home. The Lord works in mysterious ways to get a new governor elected.

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