Apparently walking across a shopping center parking lot from one store to another instead of driving is a lot like crossing miles of frozen tundra on foot without food, water or proper protection.
Well, to Jerry, anyway.
When Jer suggested Friday afternoon that we go to one of my favorite sandwich places for lunch then stop at a few stores to pick up some necessities -- new socks for him and a hairdryer for me -- I agreed. It was a beautiful day in central Pennsylvania, almost springlike, and it was my first day off after eight consecutive days of working, and nothing sounded better than a frontega chicken panini from Panera Bread and a visit to Target. I mean, that's what I expect heaven to be like. Frontega chicken sandwiches and Target stores as far as the eye can see.
During lunch, I remembered that I had a coupon to the arts and crafts store right across the parking lot. And I knew that Jerry would agree to accompany me if I promised to go into the adjacent pet store, too.
On the way to his car, I suggested we walk, instead. After all, the sun was shining and I had recently let a gigantic hunk of rosemary foccia take residence in my stomach. Besides, if nothing else, Al Gore would be proud we conserved gasoline. And Al Gore was the hit of the Oscars.
So Jer and I began our trek. And we didn't make it 10 feet before he started complaining that "This was a BAD IDEA." Mostly because we came to a foot-high ridge of snow aligning one of the cement traffic lane dividers.
"MY FEET ARE WET NOW!" Jerry protested after seemingly stepping directly into the snow pile on purpose.
"Shake it off, mister, shake it off," I said, laughing. Then I summoned my best Rob Schneider impression. "You can do eet!"
Ten steps later, he started complaining that he was cold. "Um, I would've worn a winter hat if I had known we'd be entering the Olympics after lunch."
"What? Are you seriously comparing this little walk to an Olympic event?"
"Yes. ... My hair is blowing all around in my face."
"We're on a mountain ridge."
"Only a car can withstand these winds."
"Oh, you're crazy. We're almost there. It'd take longer to walk back to the car, now."
"Yeah but then we'd be at the car."
"And we wouldn't have to walk back."
"I CAN'T SEE! MY HAIR'S ALL IN MY FACE. ... WALKING SUCKKKKS!"
"We take Toby on walks all the time!"
"Because that's not in a parking lot."
"And Toby gives walking purpose."
"A store destination isn't purpose?"
"Because that's a driving destination, not a walk."
"You're a pain in the ass, you know that?"
"This walk is a pain in my ass. Seriously. I think I pulled an ass muscle. I'm gonna die. Right here in this parking lot. I'm not gonna make it. This is the end for me."
"Yeah, you're probably right. It's amazing we've already survived these Arctic winds and huge ice bergs."
"By the way, I don't give you permission to live off my carcass."
"You wouldn't have to give me permission. You'd be dead."
"You'd defile my dead body against my wishes?"
"YOU'D BE DEAAAAD."
"Fine. I'd find explosives and blow your body up just for fun."
"Where would you find explosives in this desolate wasteland?"
"I'd hike back to the car and drive and buy them."
"Oh yeaaAAH! WHY DIDN'T WE JUST GO TO TARGET, AGAIN? THIS SUCKS!"
"Look. We made it. ... Wanna go in the pet store first?"