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Sunday, November 6, 2016


The inevitable has come to pass. Together with watching college football on a Saturday night and shorter days, I had to wear a long sleeved top!  The temperature had dropped to just above seventy, and it has been raining!  Statistics were being thrown about regarding every aspect of life.  Weather 'stats' were being compared, as were traffic 'stats', and of course, being the season, sports 'stats'.  With the Chicago Cubs beating the Cleveland Indians, taking the 'World' Series for the first time in 108 years, it was reported that virtually every baseball fan (with the exception of a few around the most populous county in the state of Ohio) was rooting for the Illinois team.   

During the week, the temperature had dropped from high eighties on Monday to low sixties on Sunday morning.  I had contemplated swimming Monday lunchtime, but instead walked, as the sun had not risen until long after seven, and the clouds had not dispersed until nearly eleven.  Tuesday had been slightly colder, and Wednesday morning saw me wearing a jacket.  Welcome to winter, y'all!

It had been quite a unique week.  We were not as overwhelmingly busy as we had been the previous week, but still the work was pouring in.  

Monday was Halloween.  Samantha arrived at the office, dressed as a 'minion'.  She had crocheted Frank a matching costume. Somebody, rather foolishly, asked as to why Frank was wearing the little yellow coat, and Samantha's indignant reply was, "Because I could not find his banana costume!"  This was a good enough answer!  It appears that employees at most stores in Austin, are given the option to 'dress up' on All Hallows Eve, and statistically, most of them do.  HEB was no exception as Dorothy, no longer in the land of Oz, was operating the till, and witches meticulously packed away purchased items.  Cats prowled the aisles purring offers of assistance, and the strange characters were the likes of myself, whom did not take part!  

I drove myself to work on Wednesday, having been to have coffee with Joe. The rain started to pour just after I crossed the bridge from north to south.  I was rather amused as I headed along the freeway, and saw a car approach from behind.  I knew that I was not going fast enough, despite being at the speed limit, as it swiftly changed lanes, in order to overtake me on the inside.  Suddenly, splashes of raindrops hit my windscreen, and the traffic in front slowed down.  I looked in my side mirror for the car that had been so anxious to get ahead of me, and I could not see it.  I checked my rear view mirror, and saw that it was now several yards behind, having slowed to a crawl.  Once again, rain had 'stopped play', and the race was no longer 'on'!  I continued along and overtook all the vehicles that had stopped (yes some had stopped!) due to the water that had landed on the front of their car!  Safety always being paramount in my mind, I continued at a reasonable speed taking into consideration the slickness of the road, and the danger of coming to a halt in the middle of the freeway!  I wondered about the accident 'stats', that would no doubt be reported after the storm. Joe warned me that he was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks, so I stocked up on supplies for the office.  Traffic was exceptionally heavy heading back to the north of town, and the 'stats' were coming over the radio in quick succession.  Due to the rain, every main thoroughfare had been affected, due to one accident or another.  I took the 'frontage' roads for most of the journey back, as they were moving far more freely due to no one wanting to take the 'lesser' road in the rain. Once again, my journey was made easier!

Samantha called me on Thursday morning.  She was going to be late as she had to renew her vehicle registration, and as she could not find the renewal letter, she was unable to complete the task online, nor was she able to send a surrogate.  She did remember receiving the letter, but based on statistics, I could have predicted the 'misplacement' as a 'happening thing'.  She called to say that she had found a new phrase, one that she thought (along with many we have found) she would never say.  "I am at the drive-thru waiting for my vehicle registration!"  Suffice it to say, as she did not have her 'letter', she had to go inside the building, and wait to see a clerk at the desk.  However, all's well that ends well, as she received her registration sticker, and headed into work.

Statistics formed a big part of my week, and weekend.  Everything was based on 'stats'.  I received a call from 'Google', (which according to Internet reports was not 'Google', but another scam,) and was informed that 'statistics' showed that my company was not being found, on search engines, by those who wanted to use my services. After a little 'to-ing and fro-ing', suggesting that I was quite happy with the level of business I received from those who had used 'search engines', I asked how they found my company, in order to inform me of such statistics, and I was told that they did a search. After the laughter had died down (from my end of the telephonic line) I announced, "I rest my case", and suddenly the phone line became impaired, and apparently the person with whom I was talking, was no longer able to hear me!

The Saturday 'stats' perhaps became a 'stat' in its own right!  I was faced with more than my fair share!  Samantha was not going to join me for our usual Saturday adventure, as her father was still in town, and they were going to the mall.  I took off around ten thirty, and headed north.  As I drove along the highway, the rain started to pour, again, and the traffic came to a standstill, again!  Feeling as if I was in charge of a remote control, able to stop and start the traffic at will, I took advantage of the comatose state of my fellow drivers, and reached my destination with no obstacles.  However, the 'Englishwoman abroad', had failed in 'Englishwoman lesson 101'; I had no umbrella! I was astounded that with years of British heritage on my side, I had left home without precaution.  Statistics would be altered and new records would be made!  I did not sit in my car and wait for the rain to cease falling, but hopped over large puddles, with my feet shod with flip flops, and reached my first destination dripping from hat to sandal!  Like a mouse in a maze, I was rewarded with pieces of cheese, as I walked around the aisles of Specs, (the liquor store,) with my cylinder of instant gravy granules, and sampled the current wares.  I skipped back to the car, and drove to the next stop.  

By the time I had reached my fourth stop, the rain had stopped, and I was quite dry, and not particularly uncomfortable, as the temperature was not so low that I felt chilled when wet.  I often say that I should not be 'let out without alone'. Saturday was no exception. I am not generally a 'browser', but on the odd occasion, when left to my own devices, I can do so for hours.  I was in one of those moods!  Statistics would show, that when allowed out, without supervision, I come home with items that cause those with whom I reside to state, "What on earth....", every single time!  I reached the counter, placed my wares upon the conveyor belt and waited for the amount to be totted up! The conversation went as follows: 
"Do you have an account?"   I responded in the negative.
"Please put your phone number on the screen", was the request.  "No" was the answer.  
"But we can't provide you with your points if you don't give us your phone number".  With eyes rolling, I said, "But if I give you my phone number, how will you give me points?"
"With your phone number, we can access your account!"  I perhaps acted rather more confused than necessary, moreso to state a point. "But a phone number is not going to access an account that doesn't exist, and an account that doesn't exist cannot accept points".
"But we need the phone number for our demographic statistics!"  Now I was confused.  "What has that got to do with having an account?"
Obviously, the young lady behind the counter had been following standard operating procedures, and was no doubt following a script that she had been given when undertaking to operate the check out. She was not amused.
"Please answer the next question on the screen".  She was probably not surprised that I selected 'No' when asking if I wished to 'round up' my change to give to an undisclosed charity.  I wondered if the phone number was connected to the answer, in order to provide another statistical analysis!  I didn't ask, and she did not volunteer any information.  I left the store with a 'minion' pillow, and two pillow cases, with the same characters adorning the cloth.  Why? Because they were on 'sale'.  

The 'Dollar Tree' did not need statistics.  They know that statistics show I visit them most weekends.

After my trip to Walmart, I called Samantha to ask if she wanted to meet me, as I was in her 'neck of the woods', and we had agreed to 'Frank sit' overnight.  She and Edward were going 'downtown' with her father on Saturday evening, and they did not expect to be home until the early hours.  Statistics show that the years have changed me, and whilst I would never contemplate having a dog when in England, (mainly because it would not be my pet, but I would be the one, statistically, to be the main carer,) I am now concerned for the pup's welfare, should they be away from home for several hours.  We met at a strip center half way between her house and Walmart, and I took the animal home.

Dana and I enjoyed dinner on Saturday night, at Macaroni Grill.  It was quite busy, despite being relatively early.  This was because the UT Longhorns football game had taken place in the afternoon, and statistics show that when they win, people tend to eat at restaurants. Apparently, adjustments in profits can be forecast upon the success of the college's performance!  

We returned home, to a grateful dog, and a night of 'stats' galore! Watching one game, the commentators spent more time revealing how crazy it was that one team had beaten another, because the stats had shown, in 1927, the losing team's quarterback had rushed so many yards, to score a touchdown, and now the opposing quarterback was about to do the same.  What I found crazy was the amount of time that they spent discussing this piece of information. It bore no relevance to anything that was happening today, nor perhaps any relevance to anything, period! However, it was obviously something that they found to be of interest.  The phrase, 'there is an app for that', is replaced on 'game days', with "There is a stat for that", and believe me, there is, for every single play, stoppage, time-out, or ref call!  I commented to Dana that I was rather surprised that they did not have a 'stat' for how many times the defensive co-ordinator tied his shoe lace in any particular game, during which time, a player had made a fifty yard run that resulted in a touchdown.  He patted me on the arm, and assured me that he could probably find one!  

Statistics are no doubt going to dominate the next week, as we head towards an 'historic' election.  I have purposely not engaged in conversation regarding the subject, mainly because I am not eligible to vote, and secondly because opinions are being attacked so viciously.  One way or another, next week, there will be a new president 'elect', and I promise not to make it, nor the 'stats' that surround it, the topic of ...... another story!

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