Posted in A Moment in My Life

“The Lessons I Learned Today”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, May 7, 2021

Wasn’t it a gorgeous Friday? It was way too lovely to stay home. On a beautiful day like today, Mark and I would’ve taken a long drive seeking an infrequent lunch locale as a treat. These days, on a day like today, I would take my Veloster out for a pleasant twenty-minute freeway drive to keep her battery charged. A while back, I discovered what I call “the freeway loop,” which begins on 101 South to 92 West and returning on 280 North completing the loop. If I go 65-70 mph, I reach 20 minutes by the Black Mountain Road exit. 

Today, I reached twenty minutes before I passed the Millbrae exit on 101 South, thanks to some accident ahead. All the lanes were packed with me in the third lane tailing behind the grey F150 with the tinted window that obstructed any visibility I had of what was ahead. By the time I reached the accident site, only residual debris had remained. The lesson that I learned from this drive was not to bother weaving in and out of the lane, which the old impatient me would have done. Today, I remained behind the F150 as the same cars passed me on both sides, with me taking a turn passing them. In the end, none of us got any farther ahead until the traffic cleared. It’s been a long time since I got stuck in traffic. Today, after half-hour of it, I understood why commuters traded in their stick shift for an automatic.

Since I met my twenty-minute battery charging time before leaving 101, I took the opportunity to visit Whole Foods in San Mateo. I haven’t been there since before the pandemic. Now that Whole Foods partnered with Amazon, it is quite different from the last time I was there. Whether the changes were due to the pandemic or not, I have no idea. They did away with the bulk aisle, which is fine. Sprouts pre-bagged their bulk supplies, which I expected the same from Whole Foods, but instead, they did away with it altogether. There were no more specialty displays that used to accentuate the local farmer’s market feel. They didn’t seem to carry as wide a variety of foods either, which forced me to make some educated guesses to complete my shopping.

I went there for legumes, which I found a small selection in the prepackaged aisle. I needed white beans for a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. I love Giada, but I swear, I don’t know where she shops, but some of her ingredients aren’t easily locatable. My choices were great northern beans or cannellini beans. Great northern beans came in a bigger bag and a dollar cheaper, but I caved and bought the cannellini. After I Googled it, it was the right bean to buy because it is a meatier bean with a more nutty, earthy flavor and tender flesh used in Italian dishes. Perfect. 

Next on my grocery list was Tuscan kale, which Whole Foods didn’t have. I used my common sense that Lacinato kale might be close to Tuscan kale, and I was right. I googled it when I got home, and I learned that Dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, and Tuscan kale were the most similar to each other and interchangeable. Perfect. I love it when a plan comes together.

If nothing else, I was able to leave Whole Foods with a shopping bag full of greens to enjoy for most of the week. I could’ve gotten the same veggies closer to home, but it was an excellent excuse to venture through Whole Foods. The silver lining was learning what ingredient I could substitute with, but I didn’t find everything. I also needed brown lentil, but nobody carries that. Thus, back to the drawing or probably online shopping.

There was another thing that I wasn’t able to figure out today. Once I merged onto 280 South from 92, I was on a stretch of the freeway all alone with all the lanes behind me filled with cars symmetrically in formation at a reasonable distance away. I looked around for some sign of something going on that I wasn’t aware of, like was there a police car doing a Red Robin or something like that? Nope. Nada. Yet, the vehicles hung back as if they knew something I didn’t. I maintained my 70-mph speed, and to my surprise, a little while later, those same cars began flying past me on both sides—a few even cut me off. Again, what was it that they knew that I didn’t know? I never figured it out. Maybe one day, I could interview these drivers and learn what was going on in their heads.

All in all, it was a successful day where I accomplished my car’s battery charging routine, and I acquired some much-needed groceries. I learned that I’m no longer the crazy driver I once was. I also learned some invaluable grocery substitutes that will come in handy. I realized that I have no control over what other drivers do and that their actions may make no sense. All I can do is remain a vigilant driver at all times. And those were the lessons that I learned today.

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