Driven to Distraction

My daily commute is an hour of excruciating boredom punctuated by the occasional near-death experience. While I’m driving, I listen to NPR. This week, NPR’s hot topic was lard. Lard was the victim of a smear campaign by Procter & Gamble and Upton Sinclair. Lard is making a comeback. Lard makes pie crusts tender and flaky. After a week of this, lard makes me want to drive my car into a telephone pole.

Today I’m driving to a meeting across town. They’ve reserved a parking space for me – Space #7 on Level 2. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Each Level 2 parking space is about six inches wider than my car. On my way to Space #7, I gaze longingly at Space #4. Space #4 is empty, as are Space #3 to its left and Space #5 to its right. I fantasize about parking in Space #4, but I’ve been warned that the penalty for parking in the wrong space is severe. It’s so severe that no one will say exactly what it is. I’m pretty sure it involves public flogging. Or maybe the parking reservation lady glares at you. Either way, I don’t want to risk it. I pull into space #7 and climb out through the hatchback. I’m glad I didn’t wear a skirt today.

Delorean with its doors open
I need doors like these. Image via Wikipedia.

I need to find out whether my boss will reimburse me if I rent a DeLorean for the next meeting. DeLorean doors open straight up. I could pop the door up, climb onto the roof of the car in Space #6, close the DeLorean door, jump off the roof, and be on my merry way. After the meeting, I could reverse the process: hop onto the roof of the car in Space #6, lift the DeLorean door, climb in, pull the door closed, and drive off. A similar strategy might work with any car that has a sunroof, assuming you can open a sunroof from outside. I should find out how sunroofs work.

After my meeting, the car in space #8 has left. I’m able to get into my car through the passenger door. I’m almost home free. There’s one car ahead of me at the exit gate. I turn on the radio. Soaking the chicken in buttermilk before frying makes it tender and juicy. The driver in front of me puts his ticket into the ticket machine. He rolls up his window. The smoke point of lard is 361 degrees. He rolls down his window and puts something into the ticket machine. He stares at the ticket machine. I drum my fingers on the steering wheel. It’s not complicated. You put your ticket into the ticket machine. You put your validation stub into the ticket machine. If you don’t have a validation stub, you put your credit card into the ticket machine. If you have a validation stub, but it doesn’t cover the entire time you were parked, you put your ticket in first, then your validation stub, and then your credit card. If you don’t have a credit card, you can buy a pre-paid parking voucher from the vending machine on the – okay, maybe it is a little complicated. I back up one and a half car lengths. Fry the chicken pieces until they’ve turned a nice golden brown. He looks back at me. He looks at the ticket machine again. I don’t know what he expects to see this time. A fried chicken dinner wouldn’t be complete without biscuits. He looks at me again. Lard makes biscuits tender and flaky. He backs out, giving me a clear path to the gate. I smile and wave, pretending I’m not going to spend the entire drive home fantasizing about bludgeoning him to death with a chicken drumstick, or possibly pushing him into a huge vat of boiling lard.

Note: that last sentence may have been a little ambiguous. I meant I might spend the drive home fantasizing about pushing him into a huge fat of boiling lard, not actually doing it. Trying to push someone into a vat of boiling lard while driving would be dangerous and impractical. Also, while this story is mostly true-ish, I’ve never had to climb into or out of my car through the hatchback.

33 thoughts on “Driven to Distraction

  1. Pushing someone into lard while you drive is only dangerous if you’re texting a friend about it while you do it. Please, wait until the pushings done before you text.

    1. Thanks for the important safety tip. But seriously, what would be the point of pushing someone into lard without live-tweeting it?

  2. Are you a fan of “Six Feet Under”? You should be. In the last season, Claire gets an office job like a boring person, except, see, she’s really an amazing artist but she’s going through a tough time because sometimes life is hard and people die and stuff, but anyway, she drives a lime green hearse because she grew up in a funeral home which she kind of hated but it totally shaped her as a person of the world and an artist, and there’s one episode where the parking space is too tight (or maybe her hearse is too wide — sometimes you just have to accept the blame) and she has to exit the hearse through the hatch, you know, like how the coffin goes in and out.

    I’m sure I’ve totally piqued your interest in the show. I should probably write DVD summaries.

    Also, to my knowledge, lard was not involved in Claire’s struggle.

  3. I think Claire made an artwork out of lard in one episode. Or did she use it to help insert a contraceptive device? Whatev. I know she had a connection with lard at some stage.

  4. 7:30 on a damn Sunday morning and I want to eat fried chicken.

    Clearly you use your powers for evil.

    1. Sorry. I should probably put “Warning: I use my powers for evil” on a sidebar. Or a t-shirt.

  5. HA!
    Death (or escape from death) via large boiling vat of lard sounds very much like something you’d see in a Bond film.
    “Lard. Shaken. Not stirred.”

  6. Someone in the city I live in his a DeLorean. I see it almost every weekend in front of the same restaurant. The guy looks a little like Dr. Emmett Brown, too.

    Want me to ask if you can borrow his car?

  7. Lard?? Is this for real, or was I just suckered into the fake vat of boiling fat? (I’m really gullible, you know. Does public radio really feature shows about lard?)

  8. It seems to me there’s a message in all of this. If only there were some slick, delicious butterlike substance you could grease yourself up with, you could probably wriggle in and out of your car on the driver’s side, no problem.

    You might slip off the steering wheel a lot. But you said you were into the near-death experiences, right? What a small price to pay for convenience and a car seat that smells like fresh bacon.

  9. Whereas I, on the other hand, DID have to climb into my car through the hatchback. Both the doors were frozen when I came out of work late one dark, frosty night, and I could only get the hatch open. Of course I was wearing a very proper skirted suit. I would have flashed the entire parking lot had there been anyone else around. I ruined my pantyhose when banging my knee – hard – on some unseen crap in the dark car.

    Could you tell me how long lard will last in the pantry?

    1. Sounds like a miserable night, sorry.

      And I could tell you how long lard will last, but then I’d have to kill you (it’s not a secret — that’s just a personal policy of mine).

      1. Just noticed your caption is also a finalist in GG’s competition and wanted to say well done, pip pip, cheerio and good luck.

      2. Should probably ALSO tell you that, while my good wishes are sincere, there has been a bit of trash talking going on. It’s all Darla.

  10. During my college years and beyond I learned a great many uses for lard, none of which I am now able to use since recently getting married.

    1. I find lard pretty confusing, actually, because when people talk about frying chicken in it, I imagine it tasting like delicious pork fat, but when people talk about making pie crust out of it, I imagine it being bland.

  11. I have kinda learned to hate the cooking show on the radio. The splendid table. They’re like ‘oh it looks so good’ and I’m like ‘yeah if only I could see it!

    1. I’m not a fan of The Splendid Table either. I’m not sure whether that’s because I really don’t like the show or because I tend to listen to the radio / podcasts in the car, and I don’t want to hear people talk about food when I’m so far away from the kitchen.

  12. I think lard should be a staple in every woman’s purse for those difficult parking spaces.

    In Switzerland, we had a garage that was big enough to park our car in, but you had to climb in and out through the sunroof. It was quite convenient, trust me. But lard would have helped immensely!

  13. Count yourself lucky you do not work at my university. They charge a fortune for an annual parking permit, deducted at source from your monthly pay. Your permit is one of five exotic colours (mine is turquoise). On certain days they then withdraw that colour permit’s right to park. But if you have a legtimtate reason for coming to work that day, you can apply for a temporary permit. These are distributed on a first come first served basis. After a while you lose the will to live – but at least the car parking scheme keeps two people in full employment.

    1. I don’t think I could handle the suspense of waiting to discover what color my parking permit would be. Or the heartbreak of winding up with chartreuse.

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