Metro-East Living

Anatomy of a long drive home — from ATM quirks to the mobile home in the sky

Here are some random thoughts from a fairly boring four-hour drive back up Interstate 44 from Springfield, Missouri, last week.

When I go to the bank to use the ATM, the machine tells me to insert my card in a certain manner. It is particular about how the card goes in. Then it asks me to wait while it retrieves my preferences. Then it asks me whether I want to continue in English or Spanish.

I always think, isn’t that a preference? Shouldn’t it have retrieved that? Then I stop arguing with an uncaring machine and go about my transaction.

I am grateful the machine demands I take my card back before I get my cash. That has eliminated the chance of leaving the card in the machine, as I was prone to do.

I don’t know if I am losing any driving skills but my car is constantly beeping at me to tell me I am too close to the center line or the shoulder of the highway. I might have always been like that but didn’t know until I got a car that insists on telling me. The solution may be to drive slower than 30 mph because the car tells me the lane drifting feature doesn’t work under that speed. But I’m thinking that will irritate a lot of people on the interstate highways.

You can buy all the toys you like, make an elaborate climbing structure or get all kinds of cats treats, but there is nothing a kitten likes better than an empty sack.

I thought using debit or credit cards was supposed to be easier with the new machines stores have. But it always seems to take me longer. I never know whether to insert the card or slide it. Whichever I do, it usually is wrong.

Even the cards with chips sometimes require sliding. And the transaction takes even longer if you answer any of the questions it asks you incorrectly. Is this a debit card? Is the amount correct? Do you want cash back? Enter your ZIP code. Enter your PIN number. Do you want the receipt emailed, printed out on paper or both? Mess up any of those steps and you have to go back to the beginning, feeling terribly inept and sensing the impatience of the people behind you in line.

It’s enough to make me shop online, if I could remember the password.

When you reach Medicare age, you are bombarded with offers from insurance companies. Those aren’t so bad. You can just recycle them.

But you also have to go to doctors and one of the requirements is for them to tell you three words. You are supposed to memorize these words and repeat them back at sometime in the medical examination.

By the time I have answered a few medical questions, usually those words are long gone. And you don’t even have to remember all of them. I fear that I will be carted off to a home somewhere before I can explain I always forget everything. I’ll never know if dementia sets in because it will seem like me just forgetting again.

What I really miss on I-44 is the mobile home in the sky. When I was a kid it was the symbol of a mobile home company in St. Roberts, Missouri, which always advertised on KRCG, channel 13 in Jefferson City. But I never actually saw it until I was older and visited my future wife in Springfield where she was going to nursing school.

It was majestic, looming high on its poles above the road. I don’t know what happened to it. It no longer is there. It always amused me, unlike the current attraction along that stretch of road, the Uranus Fudge Factory.

Seems to prove that if you can’t be funny, at least be smutty.