Maybe God was punishing me last Friday. It wasn’t Friday the 13th. At least not on any calendars with which I’m familiar. And I don’t think I’ve offended any witch doctors or voodoo queens. Sometimes I think that when I have extra cash, my house or my car can smell it. Still that doesn’t explain everything that went south.
It all started because I was feeling pretty good. I’d just finished a small project and was getting ready for a drive to the airport the next morning. My kids were going to visit their grandparents for a couple weeks. Which means a vacation for me. Now somehow the house surmised that I had just sent out a bill for my time. And it decided it was time for the water heater to start leaking all over my garage. A problem, but I guessed it was also an opportunity to get a larger and more efficient unit, or maybe even an instantaneous model and maybe write off $300 bucks next April.
Since my children are unaccompanied minors I called the airline to see what procedure I would follow. I already knew I’d be parking in short term parking. But would I be walking to the gate? The nice lady on the phone said no, they would be accompanied by a stewardess after I checked them in at the ticket counter. This sounded too good to be true and I should have seen the foreshadowing of the events to come.
Then my son and daughter asked if they could take the two iPods with them. Sure why not? One is vintage, the other a relatively new video iPod. So I plugged them into my computer to recharge. About that time iTunes needed to tell me something. It seemed that most of the songs could not be copied to the iPods because they were not in a format that could be played on the iPods. Strange I thought. They were in the right format a week ago. Well the files seemed to be alright but iTunes didn’t like them. So I had to remove them and add them back to iTunes and then they worked fine. Only problem with that approach is that the ratings and play counts get lost. And many of my play lists depend upon song ratings and play counts to work. Not to mention that when you remove a song it is removed from any regular play list in which it was included. So suddenly the contents of the iPods have changed and with both iPods I can’t copy everything onto them so some selection needs to be done. Plus my kids naturally each have their own ideas of what is good music. Oh well I spend a few hours to restore the old iTunes database from backup and rebuild the iPods. I can sleep after I get back from the airport.
I wake extra early after almost no sleep. My daughter says that she changed her mind and doesn’t want to bring the iPod because she has no way to charge it while visiting grandma and grandpa. OK, we’ll leave early and pick up a charger. Of course my eldest decides he could use a ride to work. So even though we are under severe time constraints, I wait while he decides to spend 45 minutes in the shower and then pack himself a lunch.
Three blocks from his work the car decides that it is jealous of the house and breaks an engine mount. Then it proceeds to tear a radiator hose and spill all the radiator coolant on the ground.
Now standing in a parking lot with kids and luggage I decide to call a neighbor to see if we can’t get a ride to the airport. Ah, luck is with me, as it turns out for the one of the rare moments that day. I leave my car where it died.
At the airport I tell my neighbor that I just have to take them to the ticket counter. Sure my neighbor will wait. Unfortunately this neighbor doesn’t have a cell phone so once in the terminal I am out of contact. And I have to go to the gate instead of the counter. After answering all the questions that I was asked when purchasing the tickets, and then again the other day when calling the airline, the clerk decides to finally give me a pass so I can go through “security”.
Security consists of taking your shoes off and sitting around while somebody stares at my son’s XBox for 10 minutes in the XRay machine trying to decide what it is. In the meantime I could have passed a Glock handgun through the metal detector and put the bullets in the little tray with my keys.
Amazingly the gate is as far away from the terminal as you can get. In fact I think all flights leave from that gate. The other gates are for arrivals and places to hang around.
Well they made the flight anyway. And their plane took off while I was still standing around outside wondering if my neighbor was ever going to come back. Eventually he did and I was given a ride back to my mini-van. Now my mechanic is not so far from where my car is located. So I think maybe I can take some coolant which I just happen to have in the back seat and fill the radiator and make a quick dash to the mechanic thus avoiding a tow. I tell my neighbor to take care of his busy day and I’ll be alright. I then open the side door to my mini-van, grab the coolant and give the door a shove whereupon it falls off. I guess I don’t know my own strength.
The coolant flows through the radiator and out the hose hanging from the bottom. So I call a tow-truck. After about a half hour a smoking derelict of a tow truck arrives. I begin to think that I am better off pushing my car the two miles. The driver explains that his regular truck is in the shop, and this is the truck the tow company uses for backup and hence is a piece of s**t. I tell him I’d like a ride to the mechanic. He says just hop in the cab. So as I do, the step on the passenger side of the truck breaks and I am back on the pavement. There is no way I am climbing into that truck at this point. I tell the driver to just drop my car off and give my key to the mechanic. I’ll take a cab home.
So now I’m alone in the parking lot and I decide I’m a little hungry having missed every meal so far. I walk over to the nearby restaurant which shares the parking lot and see that it has closed because it is after lunch. So I give up and dial 411 and ask for a nearby cab company. I call them and give the guy who answers my address. Then he asks, “Weiyagaan?” I say, “What?” and he says, “Weeiiigaaa?” I say “What!!?” and he says, “Weeiigaa? Weeeyaga?”. I start to say “I don’t know…” and he says “Yadonno weeyagaan.” and hangs up.
So I call 411 again and ask for a different cab company. They give me the number for Broadway Cab. I call them and a very nice lady who seems to speak perfect english says “Oh we know where you are. A cab will be there in 10 minutes.” I say, “Don’t you want to know where I am going?” and she says “No.”
About 15 minutes later a cab marked “Broadway” in big letters pulls into the parking lot where I am standing and makes a u-turn and leaves without ever stopping.
Well I didn’t pay the extra charge to have the cab company’s number text messaged to my phone. So I call 411 again and ask for the number of Broadway Cab. The girl on the line tells me there is no such listing. I tell her that I just got the number from 411 fifteen minutes ago. She still can’t find it. So with yet another number I call for a cab. They tell me it will be in 20 minutes. It takes more like 30 but this time the driver doesn’t use the parking lot for a u-turn but actually picks me up.
I tell the driver (a foreigner of course) that if he is the least bit superstitious he might want to reconsider letting me into his cab. His eyes get as wide as saucers, but he is a brave man and drives me to my home.