For those of you who are not familiar with My Name is Earl, it is a US show where the main character, Earl, develops a belief in the concept of karmic retribution and decides he wants to turn his life around. Earl makes a list of every bad thing he's ever done in an attempt to correct them, as he believes that this is the only way he can gain positive karma. He proceeds to cross items off the list, one by one, by doing good deeds in order to atone the items on his list. While not quite the same as that, today was one of those days where there was a good thing in a bad thing in a good thing in a bad thing, etc etc…and so it goes on. We’ll explain…
The day did not start well for Kat. While gathering a 9.28am complimentary breakfast in the hotel lobby to take back up to the room (breakfast ending at 9.30am), she pressed down too hard on the lid of a cup of coffee, which promptly exploded, covering her cycling top and scalding her stomach (don’t panic: after 10-15 minutes of bathing it with a cold face cloth, it was absolutely fine). However, as a result (and to avoid the lingering whiff of coffee as she cycled along), she reluctantly changed from a vest top, which seemed suitable for the bright sunshine outside, and into the only other cycling top she had left, thicker and with longer sleeves. Although not really making up for the scalded belly, Kat was grateful for this later in the day as the sun went in and the weather turned colder…who would have thought it.
Also, before we departed this morning, Kat tried to refill the cell/mobile phone account, since it had run out. After going through various frustrating recorded messages and touch-phone options, she was directed to a real person who then was unable to actually refill the account without directing her somewhere else, which sounded sure to take a very long time indeed. Kat cursed as she wrote down our phone number and various codes on a bit of paper and put it in the wallet to be revisited later in the day. Anthony hid for a short while to let her calm down! Very sensible.
So, we set off in the bright sunshine, with a light breeze, for a day of what we knew would be a straight and busy road up to our next destination. For our UK followers: imagine Purley Way in Croydon. Go on, we know you’ve all been there at some point, to the Ikea if nothing else. Then imagine 20 Purley Ways, one after another, seamlessly joined together by the same store every 2 miles or so. Yes? Well, add a wind tunnel at the end of it (you guessed it, the light breeze turned into a full-on head wind), and you’ve pictured our day down to a tee… the same store in this case being Publix, a grocery and pharmacy.
Anyway, the day gets worse (and better). Accepting our fate, we decided to take advantage of the constant retail opportunities, and stopped for lunch (a luxury these days as we generally try to cycle through and save time and money). It was really quite pleasant and, after filling our stomachs, we decided to buy some more Gatorade in Publix, and be on our way.
Things seemed fine until we reached our hotel, tried to check in, and found that we no longer had our wallet i.e. our cash, credit cards, drivers licence etc. Managing to check in using our emergency card (we’re daft but not that daft), we suddenly realized that there were a couple of missed calls on the phone from a number we did not recognize. Of course we could not find out if any message had been left as the phone was out of money. However, the hotel receptionist kindly let us use her phone.
Hooray! A lovely German man who now lives in Georgia, John, who was on vacation in the area visiting his family said his granddaughter had found our wallet outside Publix and both of them had been waiting 2 hours for our return, back at our lunch place…over 20 miles away. We ordered a taxi and hurried back to the place, meeting him and his granddaughter, and regaining possession of our precious wallet. We rewarded them generously with a healthy sum for their kindness, honesty and patience. The granddaughter at least has hopefully learned, if she didn’t already know, that every good deed is rewarded (at least eventually). Of course, John had found our number from the note that Kat wrote earlier in the day because she could not get the account on the phone re-charged.
The taxi driver who took us on that 40 mile round trip was a lovely lady called Daphne, with whom we had a great chat. On the way back from Publix, we found out that her ancestors/family are called Carey, and her Dad is called James Anthony. At that point, it was all a bit much for Anthony James Carey to take in…coincidences or what?
Anyway…the last story of our day. After rolling back from a nearby dinner, we decided to try to purchase our usual bottles of water from the vending machine near our room. Painstakingly inserting the dollar bills into the machine, we pressed the appropriate button and then sighed in dismay as the machine display said “not available-make another selection”. Rolling our eyes and pressing the reject button, a whole host of quarters rained down into the slot at the foot of the machine and onto the floor.
Picking up the quarters, we couldn’t help but check them (well Anthony couldn't...Kat was ready to put them straight in the washing machine). You see, since early on in our trip, we have been collecting all the different quarters from the various different US states. We had not been aware that there were different quarters for each state until we read about it in a newspaper in Richmond, VA. Since then, it has been bordering on the obsessional for us (think back to football stickers at school … why was it that you could never get Kenny Dalgleish?). Quite soon, we had collected a quarter for every state bar Wisconsin. Literally, for about 5 weeks now, we have been waiting only for Wisconsin; at times believing that it doesn’t really exist. So, when Anthony looked at the quarters that were spread all over the floor by the vending machine that had failed in providing the water that we wanted, he saw those 9 letters that we had been doubting we would ever see…