By Monte Lazarus
I hate posts. Concrete posts. You know the ones I mean. The ones that are in a road, or “protecting” a gate, or just there. The common belief is that they are fixed in place. I know better. They were devised by fiends, and they move around when nobody is there to watch. They reveal their ugly cemented bodies when we back up our cars, or when we’re otherwise not looking for a monster slab that has no purpose except to cause us great material and psychological damage.
Just the other day I was being extremely careful not to bruise my aging…oops – aged…Camry. She has suffered many bumps and bruises during her long life, and I want to spare her any more pain in the remaining years of her life. So, I slowly, slowly backed out of the driveway with my eyes focused on the infernal gate that serves no apparent purpose, except to allow residents to proclaim that they live in a “Gated Community” (all eight small buildings).
Wham! Out of nowhere a concrete post ran right into the trunk of my poor Camry. I am absolutely certain that the post did not exist – certainly not in that spot – before I moved the car. It was a diabolical plot, probably conceived by the cement lobby (there must be a cement lobby) to pick on defenseless automobiles. I can hear the post chuckling to its pals: “Hey, guys, got another one! This was a great one; got her smack in the middle and ruined the trunk.”
If anyone still believes that posts don’t move allow me to invite your attention to an otherwise lovely city – Lyon, France. Lyon is the third largest city in France. It’s a gastronomical delight, and it’s located between the Beaujolais and Cotes de Rhone wine areas. Just a couple of years ago we were having a magnificent time with two dear friends. We had rented a portion of a centuries-old hunting lodge in a small French village, and were enjoying nearby villages. Our French rental car was delightful and the GPS unit was fluent in French and English. The sun was shining and all was right with the world.
It was difficult finding a parking place in Lyon so we commenced a diligent search. We spotted what appeared to be a designated parking area in a central part of the city, near a pedestrian mall, and below the magnificent cathedral. Luck was with us; or so we thought. I deftly maneuvered our vehicle into an empty spot, and off we went.
After stuffing our senses with the beauty of the cathedral, and our stomachs with the beauty of a splendid French lunch, we wandered back to our car. Sacre Bleu! There, surrounding all the cars were large posts that had sprung out of the ground like tulips in the Spring. We were trapped! In our very best French we beseeched several French gentlemen who had Gitanes trapped on their lower lips. They were exceedingly polite but had no answers for us. It developed that the posts were on timers, and popped up for several hour stretches each day. The unwary (us) were caught like bugs in a Venus Fly Trap. Finally, someone with a kind heart and sufficient knowledge got some posts to descend into their pods. Unfortunately, the posts faced the pedestrian mall, and there were happy shoppers strolling everywhere. We could only drive right down the mall. What to do?
I asked a nearby resident how to resolve our life-and-death problem. He gave us his finest Gallic shrug and told us to drive right down the street. Never mind the folks on foot. And, even better, he indicated that we should ignore the gendarme earnestly enforcing the law. We had no alternative. I got behind the wheel, prayed to the Patron Saint of Les Fous Americaines, and set off very slowly. The Red Sea parted, the gendarme gave us a toothy grin, and we were safe at last.
Never tell me posts don’t move.