I Don’t Care If It’s Real Tuna

S M Chen
5 min readNov 6, 2021

Be present in all things and thankful in all things.”

  • Maya Angelou (1928–2014), American poet, memoirist, activist

Someone once described war as: ‘Long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.’

Similar to flying: ‘Hours and hours of sheer boredom punctuated by moments of stark panic.’

And Forrest Gump, fictional creation of writer Winston Groom, once observed: ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.’

My life is like that.

Fairly mundane, routine and predictable.

Until it isn’t.

Near where I work is a sandwich shop. I have walked to it, but usually, under some time constraint, I drive.

I have taken to getting a large sandwich, have half for lunch, and save the other half for dinner.

There is a rather surprising amount of traffic in this particular area — a number of stores; a few eateries; side streets, not all at right angles, and people don’t always yield right of way — so I have to drive with some care.

So long as I pay attention, it works.

I try to park in shade, but it’s often hard to come by, so I bring out my folding sunshade.

And I place a CLUB in my steering wheel. I carry its key on my keyring.

I’m quite religious about that, ever since my car was stolen near the end of 2017.

One cannot be too careful, and this particular town is suspect.

Someone tried to steal my car’s catalytic converter recently (I wrote about this at Medium: “The World According to Steinbeck” — see here: https://sctmtn.medium.com/the-world-according-to-steinbeck-42e2f8a0a8a2).

I take my cellphone with rear magnet off the dashboard, where I had placed it for temporary charging, retrieve my fanny pack from under the driver’s seat, and exit the car.

There is usually a line for service. Sometimes it is long, but I try to be patient, gauging the…