Tag: Fred Meyer

Lessons from a Parking Lot

It’s going on 6:00 pm. I’ve got a date in a room with a dozen other writers for something called Late Night Write, a specific brand of National Novel Writing Month torture. And I promised them chocolate.

Fred Meyer is only a couple blocks from my house. On the way to the next town over where the librarian who is also the organizer of the write-ins reserved a room at the library after closing hours. I’ll stop by the store, rush into the Christmas candy section, snag a bag of Hershey’s Miniatures (something for everybody in there) and be on my way in a snap.

Or not.

Instead, everyone will choose to drive down the row where I parked. The man next to me will pull out at the same time I stick my vehicle in reverse without so much as a glance behind him. Good thing the guy in the pickup truck was respectfully waiting for me.

The armored vehicle is parked along the curb across from the exit from my row. All traffic is squished into a single line.
Here are the things I learned that night:

  • Trucks pulling trailers should not squeeze by in a single lane
  • There are polite drivers who will let you into the congested stream of unmoving traffic
  • Plenty of drivers are myopic. Watch out for them because they don’t see anyone else
  • The traffic flow from the gas pumps stymies the regular pattern
  • If someone lets you in, you need to pay it forward and let someone in
  • If you let too many someones in, the seemingly-polite driver who showed you favor might morph into a Gremlin who lays on the horn
  • People don’t walk and talk on the cell phone at the same time very effectively if it requires dodging a snaking snarl of slow-moving vehicles

All in all, I’ve determined that unless there is an emergency, I won’t be returning to Fred Meyer or any other grocery store with a gas station in its parking lot on a Friday in the vicinity of 6:00pm.

On a positive note, it gave me something fresh to write about when I got to the room powered by creative energy.

What lessons have you learned from a parking lot?

Here’s a Reason to Smile

Life can sucker punch you at times. While you’re bent over trying not to regurgitate your breakfast, you’re not smiling. Smile? When I just got slugged?
Give me something to smile about, and then I’ll smile.
Judging by the frowns on people’s faces and the creases created by them on foreheads, I think there isn’t enough to smile about for most people.
And since I’m the gal who actually built her upper body strength in boot camp by smiling…I thought I’d help you out.
What? You don’t see how smiling builds muscles in the arms, shoulders and back?
Well, if you’re at Boot Camp and you smile, one of two things will happen:

  1.  You’ll get bugs in your teeth
  2. The Drill Seargent will punish you

Exact conversation from the summer of 1984 (and no, I’m not too old to remember back that far):
DI: Do you think this is summer camp, private?
Me: (eyes darting from side to side) Uh…NO, DRILL SERGEANT.
DI: The why are you smiling? (This is a rhetorical question so I stare straight ahead and wait for the rant.) Do you think this is fun?
DI: I think you’re having too much fun, private. Drop and give me 20.
Me: (Assumes the pushup position) One, Drill Sergeant.
DI: I can’t hear you private! Louder. (Yes, they really do say that while you’re counting out your repetitions.)

Anyway, maybe that story gave you something to smile about. And for the record, it didn’t keep me from smiling. I didn’t smile all the time (like when I was being tear gassed or after I’d hiked 20 miles carrying my 100 pounds of gear).
Why not smile? Think about how your face automatically wants to respond when you see a smile.
And afterward, you feel a little better. It’s like relaxing those facial muscles cues something inside your chest.
So, I thought I’d share a few things that made me smile recently.
My cat skidding across the wooden floors in pursuit of a well-used crochet item.

Seeing this sign when I drove into the Fred Meyer Parking Lot

A three-word text from my husband. No, it wasn’t “Is dinner ready?” I’m sure you can figure it out if you think hard enough.

My book cover shared on the page of an authentic fan (a person I have never met who reached out to me after reading one of my books)
Cute kitten pictures on Facebook (or Instagram or Pinterest)

A funny line in a book

Finishing my to-do list for the day

Now, I could continue to list some things. I smile an awful lot, and sometimes at the craziest things. (How many people do you know who grin maniacally in the Fred Meyer parking lot because they see a sign?)

Instead, I’m asking for your stories.

What makes you smile? What was the LAST thing that made you smile? Feel free to share memes or screen shots in the comments. Let’s give each other a reason to smile today.

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