Thursday, July 27, 2006

Adventures in the heat

Tuesday, I went down to the Valley (Phoenix AZ area) to do multiple errands and attend a meeting of Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America (R). I haven't been for a long while, as I've had a commitment on Tuesday nights, and that's when they hold the meetings.

I got a late start, so I was running those errands during the climbing-to-the-top-of-the-thermometer part of the day: driving around the East Valley, parking, getting out of my air-conditioned car, feeling the old internal heat rise as I hurried to where I was going, taking care of business, and then getting into the car again and trying to cool it down before my next stop. Even though the temp was only in the low hundreds, not the hundred-and-teens of the week before, I was not used to it (it seldom gets to 100 degrees on my mountain). Funny how quickly you can acclimatize to a lower-temperature climate.

My last stop before the meeting was at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, to hunt down something for a friend. I haven't been there more than two times, so I'm not familiar with the layout of the mall or where the store that I wanted was located. (Near the food court, she said, but where in heck was the food court?) Consequently, due to Murphy's Law or Corrillary, or one of those related dictums, I parked at the wrong end of the mall, entered through Entry 3 (it's always a real good idea to remember which entry you came in), entered Neighborhood Three (I kid you not) and finally found a directory (this mall is all squeewampus--the directory is NOT by the entry door!). Where was my intended store? All the way at the other end of Neighborhood One!!! Reached by passing through Neighborhood Two, naturally.

By this time, I was dehydrated and starving, not having taken the time to eat during the afternoon, since I would be doing that at my meeting. As time passed, I figured I shouldn't kill my appetite for Manual's cuisine. I set off down the concrete floor, then passed onto a hardwood floor, then some kind of rubberized matting, and finally, back onto hardwood as I approach my quarry. The master of the store was in, stocking product, but he was also on the phone (I could tell that because he was talking to himself and was wearing an odd horn-like projection near his mouth). I looked over the displays, but my desired item didn't seem to be present. I remember holding on to one of the display cases, hoping I wasn't going to embarrass myself by fainting in the "As Seen On TV" store (I'm sure that goes over better in the Saks 5th Avenue outlet, as there are numerous personnel to rush over and tend to you. Alas! Saks is located at the far end of Neighborhood One). When I reached the point where I didn't care if I interrupted the clerk's fascinating phone conversation or not, I did so, only to be told that the item I was seeking would be in no sooner than Friday.


I left the store, found a Hi-Health juice bar, and bought a couple of energy-type bars. I devoured one so I'd have the energy to trudge back through the Neighborhoods. One seemed to do the job, so I kept the second in reserve, in case my food didn't come fast enough at Manuel's.

As I walked, I looked down at my tennis-shoe clad feet. Strange. The right one had a rounded toe and three rows of dot-like perforations arranged in a horizontal, slightly curved pattern. The left one had a pointed toe, and its dots lay in a triangular pattern. What the...? I was wearing representatives from two different pairs of tennies!

Oh well, the cantina where we hold our meetings at Manuel's is typically pretty dark. I was sure no one would notice my feet when they were focussing on my face, trying to remember who I was.

About 7:30, before the main program even began, I got the feeling I needed to leave. It was less of a spiritual prompting than an uneasy stomach-ache, and a desire to get home before I threw up (fat chance--I had a two-hour drive ahead). Definitely dehydrated and disoriented.

I said my good-byes and gave my apologies, then left. When I gassed up for the trip home, I bought something to settle my stomach. Then I got on the highway.

What a trip! Lightning filled the sky over Fountain Hills to my left. The wind blew so hard that I had to drive 10 miles under the speed limit just to be able to control my car and keep it on the road. I prayed for a safe journey, and God heard my prayers.

In fact, I fully believe that He had been watching over me for the whole day. The stomach-ache that got me to leave was surely due to His love for me, because the storm got worse after I passed through it, and I might not have gotten out of the Valley if I had stayed for the entire meeting.

God Works in Mysterious Ways!

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