Something incredible was happening to Peoria on December 4th 2007. Were we welcoming home our military cargo/transport heroes home from Iraq.. nope. Were we completing our multi-year revamp of one of the oldest sections of I-74 to enhance the driving experience for our visitors.. nope. Hold on to your seats now…. Michigan State’s glorious basketball team was coming to play our Bradley Braves. I know, I know you’re giddy just thinking about it. So, Michigan State, representing their 46,045 students ,was coming to take on the Bradley Braves with a 2006 enrollment of 6,127. Truly a David and Goliath moment. It was so big that ESPN was going to carry it. We’ve hit the big time now. The big night came, the lucky ones got tickets to Carver Arena to witness the historic event in person, while others popped their popcorn, poured their drinks and settled into their favorite chairs. It was a close game, but the Braves fell short of toppling the mighty Spartans 66-61. …. and then things started taking an ugly turn.
Work today ended up being a tad more stressful than usual due to the all to common lack of requirements coupled with well defined timelines. I only mention that to help frame my mood when my truck hiccupped on my way home. Probably in the same manner that individuals who live next to train tracks eventually become accustomed to the daily wheels on rails, I pretty much have the rhythm of my truck’s engine tucked deep in the subconscious. I would be interested in getting some feedback from someone in the train situation, but the microsecond my truck produced a sound that didn’t fit the standard cadence… it jumped up and took front and center in my thoughts. I somehow managed to instantly block out the non-related sound – no more radio, no more buzz of surrounding cars nothing… just the sound from my engine. It was matched up now, the pistons were firing in sync, the drive shaft was spinning under my seat… this lasted for a few minutes and then it happened again.
Work is back in session, so I have to tackle some quicker ones. I had a strange experience the last time I was at Panera Bread that still leaves me wondering. I stepped up to the counter and gave the cheerful cashier my standard turkey sandwich and soup takeout order. The lady then asked me for a name to call out when the order was ready. Rather than go my standard route and give a name of a rock singer I went with my real name “Brian”. The cashier then asked me if that was with a ‘Y’ or an ‘I’. I tried desperately to process exactly what this actually mattered in the context of calling my name over the intercom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rationalize it and was just about to ask her a probing question regarding the impact it would have on my food delivery when she added “You must not be asked that very often” …with a chuckle. She was note entirely correct since I am often asked this when dealing with text documents, but within this type of spoken scenario she was totally correct, I had never been asked that question… ever. In fact, the more common mistake is using an ‘AI’ instead of an ‘IA’ – which, by the way, generally brings a smile to my face and if in an email, goes in my special ‘Brain’ folder for future reference. I honestly replied “no” and decided to satisfy the original question with the appropriate “I” – as a note, I never get this problem when I use my standard approach and go with Jagger or Ringo. I was still thinking this over in my head and trying to decide what I was going to do when they called me name (“did you call Bryan or Brian?….) when I noticed I had pulled out a single dollar instead of a five dollar bill from my wallet. I stopped my payment motion, alerted her that I needed to get the right amount and took out my wallet to exchange the bills. Then the kicker came when she said “That’s okay, I do stupid things all the time too”. I personally preferred to classify it as a basic mistake brought on by the distraction of a previous incoherent statement, but if stupid does then stupid is fits her assessment then I will simply leave her with the positive feeling that she isn’t alone in the world. I picked up the order for Brien and went on my way.