Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mercury in Retrograde

I’ve driven the same route to school just about every day since 1982, but yesterday I went through a stop sign as if it never had been there. And it just so happened that a car came out that I almost hit. And it just so happened that a police car happened to be right there. And so it happened that the sirens went on and I’m sitting on the side of the road wondering how to pay for the $400 ticket. The policeman was nice enough and though I did mention the sun glaring in my eyes—and this was true and perhaps partly accountable— it didn’t convince him that a warning would be sufficient. It was just one of those things. I blew it and had to face up to it. Then the monkey mind started jumping around, from “you idiot!” to “well, think of all the times you overparked or didn’t wholly stop at the sign and got away with it” to “it could have been so much worse. Thank goodness you didn’t hit that car! You should be grateful,” but no matter how I spun it, I felt terrible. And even worse that there was nobody or nothing to blame it on. Or so I thought.

Today I went to Fantasy Studios in Berkeley to play piano for a jazz demo CD. Long story, but the thought of being in the studios where so much remarkable music I’ve loved over the years had been recorded was thrilling, to say the least. I arrived there to find the band members in the parking lot. Some communication glitch and the studio was double-booked. Darn! We were able to re-book the date for later that month, but still we were all disappointed. So we decided to go out for lunch and drown our sorrows in beer and burritos. Off we walked to Juan’s restaurant—and it was closed. So we got in the cars to another restaurant and it was open. But they were out of beer.

And that’s when the light went on. One of the guys announced to us that “Mercury is in retrograde” and things are going to be weird until it gets out. Damn! Wish I had known that when I talked to the cop. Sun in my eyes and Mercury in retrograde! He definitely would have let me slide! And at least I could blame it all on the stars and planets. If it hadn’t been the stop sign, it would have been something else.

So, my friends, be careful in the next few days. And let me know if you have any tips on good traffic schools. 

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