Tuesday, February 15, 2005

For Mildred

This story has no moral, no lesson, no artistic insight as far as I can see at the moment. It is simply an account of what went on this afternoon. In other words, I got nothin'. So, breaking my own rule, I'll tell you about my day. C'mon. Every day can't be an enlightening experience. I can't afford those drugs. Some days I just paint rats.
So I spent the morning painting rats, trying not to think about the guy online who complained about the price of the Lovecraft rat. Willing myself not to post a comment telling him I'd just PayPal'd him a couple of bucks for gas so he could borrow his mother's car, go to the mall and buy some Mary's Moo-Moos or Dept. 56 made in sweat shops in China by women and girls for no benefits, no breaks and precious little pay. Nobody is sitting for hours painting rats except me.
wow Look. Already I've already slipped and fallen up, onto my soapbox. Sigh.
So I spent the morning painting rats, listening to Goreki, Hindemuth, Flogging Molly and a bit of Kronos Quartet. Something else I can't remember. By afternoon I was hungry enough to want a hot dog, but knew tomato soup would be much healthier. I cut up the hot dog and put it in the tomato soup. Um Um good, that's what Campbell's soup is....for kids who climb on rocks...
I picked up Aubrey, then Orion and we were headed up Dinah Shore toward the mountains when the car died. It just gave out, poor old thing. Didn't stall, just slowed down, down and down. Aubrey asked if I were slowing down on purpose. I said no. I managed to get into the right lane before we slowed to a complete stop, just around a curve with heavy 50mph plus traffic on our left, and a sandy hill on the right, stretching as far as we could see, dotted with pretty desert foliage and covered, literally, with big black ants. Not great. I hit the emergency flasher.
I dug out my cell phone, started to call AAA, then called Ben (sculptor, engineer guy who rarely shows up for work these days, and never, ever on time) instead. I'd just started to tell him where we were when the cell phone died. No service.
Yes, a word I'll admit I use all too frequently, and which, in these moments, has no equal. What to do? I remember Wile-E- Coyote. (the monomaniac) I try some inventive positions, which would have, under different circumstances, elicited wild laughter from Aubrey. But she was quiet. She knows me. This was not the moment. (Neither is when I'm cutting mats) I found a magic pose, got service to the phone. got Ben who said he was on his way. I phoned AAA , holding my Wiley pose. Just as they answered, Orion decided to try out every possible incantation for "fuck"."Fuck. Fuck, fuck Fuck FUUUUUUUUUCCCCCK. Fu-fu-fu-fuck. FUCKKKK!" then "Wheres French fries?" about forty times, then more 'fuck fucky fuck."
"Cute kid," said the AAA operator, Vicky. Cars and trucks buffeted us as they passed. Ok. After a lengthy discussion with Vicky, trying to explain that the reason I knew Gene Autry Trail crossed Dinah Shore was because I could see Gene Autry Trail from here.
Ben came and collected the kids. We quick -stepped through the ants, got Orion strapped in and they were off to Taco Bell. Whew. I tried waiting on the bank, stepping from one foot to the other, but the ants were really interested in my shoes, which made me think they were probably interested in my feet. I got back into the car and sat for half an hour.
After I'd searched every possible nook and cranny for a pen, pencil or even a crayon, I resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck with myself. So I thought. And thought. And tried not to. Then I noticed how evenly distributed all the different kinds of wild vegetation on the hill was. That reminded me of how people space themselves in the elevator, the movie theater, in waiting rooms, on the sand at the beach. I was saved. Something to do. We all tend to naturally space ourselves out evenly. I'm going to look around and see if I can find out why. Do you know? There must be something about this somewhere. And I'm going to try some experimenting. Okay. Fine. I'm going to fuck with people.
I'll let you know how it goes.
The tow truck driver was an elderly man who moved so slowly I almost checked a couple of times to see if he was still breathing. He was nice though. He was a fan of musicals, and because I knew who Robert Preston was, he felt like talking. I found out his wife is diabetic. He worries about her a lot. She's in charge of the playgrounds at the schools. He was proud that his tow gear was made of titanium alloy. When I brought up transparent aluminum he lit up with such delight I thought he'd break 3 miles per hour. So we talked about Star Trek and and laughed about Preston's great hair and his musical number in Victor Victoria.
February 15 isn't my favorite day of the year. It carries the memory of my mother's death on this day many years ago when I was young and losing my mother was about the worst thing that could ever happen. I didn't tell him about that. Didn't need to. I did tell him my mother had liked Robert Prestion. She always said, "what a head of hair that man has!" Her hair was red and she was really good at math. She always had tissues and Rolaids in her purse and she taught me to notice things like how people spaced themselves out in elevators and on the beach. That's good enough. I love you, Mom.

1 comment:

Carl V. Anderson said...

Aren't you thankful that days like those are (usually) few and far between. The trauma of car trouble days is very frustrating. There's nothing more that I hate spending money on than unexpected vehicle repairs. Hope today is better. :)