This has not been a good last four days. It started on the weekend when I agreed to drive a friend to meet his brother in Michigan -- the reason isn't important but my friend has three lockers full of antiquities [junk] and Big Bro was going to start selling stuff on eBay.
My friend's family won't let him
drive anymore. This former college athlete no longer has the use of his
legs, which makes hitting the accelerator and the brake together and/or
separately a somewhat dicey proposition. He has other problems that I
won't include here. The real problem is that his brain is hardwired
for his old healthy self and his reality is in denial about how
handicapped he has become.
I arrived at his house at
9:30 in the morning. So I could help load up HIS CAR with our stuff and leave by
eleven. We loaded up by 11:30. And the car wouldn't start.
Here is where I made my biggest mistake. I said we could take my car.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. So we -- me, his son and his wife -- unloaded his vehicle and loaded mine. You may ask
why his family wasn't taking him on this trip. Because they
didn't want to.
We finally left at 2:00. His brother had planned to meet him at one.
His son had also told me that my friend's older brother would have to help him
get back into my car over in Michigan, because he knew I sure wouldn't
be able to. Having to help him into the car was something new from the last time we went
After going through the lockers,
big brother was supposed to spend the weekend at my friend's new summer
house on a lake. But he announced that he had to get home. Huh? At this
point, we should have turned around and headed back to Chicago, but we didn't.
We still went to the summer
house. First, the little scooter he uses to get around inside the
which was supposed to be charged and ready, had a dead
battery. Luckily, while it charged, he could use his wheelchair, which
had been loaded into my car. I could get it out, but
without his brother, who was going to put it back in?
Then after unloading his stuff out of my Jeep, the wayback door wasn't
shut properly and the next morning my battery was dead. I'm not
pointing fingers, but IT WASN'T ME who went back and opened up the car after I went
Luckily his next door neighbor was
around the next day to provide some juice for me, as well as load him into the car.
And that's the short version.
Unfortunately, the neighbor wasn't contacted until three in the afternoon. The reasons for that remain obscure.
I had originally planned to go out
with friends to see Steven Wright on Sunday night in Chicago. Because I
THOUGHT I would be home by three in the afternoon.
Finally at five, with help from the neighbor to charge my battery and a two by four to load up my friend, we got on
the road. Heading for the highway, I thought.
But for some inexplicable reason we
took a one hour jaunt around the countryside that I mistook for some
kind of shortcut to the highway. Until we ended up in the exact same
place where we started. And I learned that the side trip was just for fun.
Then there was a stop for dinner in
the car, followed by his lo-o-o-o-o-ng emergency sojourn in the men's
room of a restaurant that was already closed. The good news is they had
a huge guy who could lift people into cars.
In the end, because there's
other stuff to tell, a 2.5 hour ride back to Chicago took SIX HOURS.
Oh, and the car heat had to be on full blast because his body's thermostat
doesn't work very well. Every time we stopped to pay a toll, I
opened up my window and the moonroof to suck in some cold air and wake
up. Speaking of paying for stuff, his wallet was glued shut most of the trip.
I have no memory of Monday.
Tuesday however, was voting
day. I went to my polling place and discovered that my signature
was no longer on file, even though I vote early and often. So I had to sign my name multiple times on
multiple pieces of official paper before I could vote.
Ever willing to go where no one has
gone before, I asked to use their new touch screen voting system. Try
as he would, the elderly man in charge of the machine [who will soon be
gone to the great polling place in the sky] couldn't get it
to work for me. The machine kept making odd noises and flashing,
TRY AGAIN TRY AGAIN. I finally said to stop trying. The guy ahead of me
got on with no problems.. So did the guy behind me. Just not me.
So I had to fill out my ballot by hand. Putting X's in a circle with a
pen. So retro.
But the best was yet to come. After getting home in the late afternoon
followiing a day that somehow passed without incident, I used some
tissue to blow my
nose, tossed it into the toilet and flushed. Little did I know
that that was the last of the water in my house. A couple of hours
later, when nature called, I pressed the handle again only to
discover, to my chagrin, that there was NO WATER for flushing.
Earlier in the day when I was leaving to vote, I had noticed a bunch of
sewer company employees looking down into a hole they'd made in the
street. Just staring down into it. I now know that is not a good sign.
At 6:00 PM, apparently the village finally had their people climbing down in the hole
trying to fix a broken main caused by the workers I saw earlier in the day. That's what the
police told me when I called them to ask WTF was going on.
So I had to move out of my house last night or pretend I was camping
and use my backyard for waste management in the thirty degree
We have a system in my town that makes automatic calls to everyone to
warn of tsunamis, cyclones, tornados, stranger danger and unauthorized
But they couldn't let me know that there was a broken water main and
the water would be off for a few hours. So I might want to find an
Maybe I will teepee the Village Hall tonight.