Monday, January 28, 2013
Finding the dead rat in the back yard wasn’t the worst part of the week, although it said something about omens, I suppose.
Driving out of Bayonne only to rip my tire on a sewer drain grate is high up on my list of bad things since it occurred relatively late at night on Wednesday, and on one of the coldest days of the year so far.
I was in a hurry, and had sped up the highway the back way through graveyard, avoiding all the usual tie ups I get into when coming up Avenue E onto Broadway. The light was red when I got to Garfield Avenue, but I could turn on red and did, only to see the pickup truck barreling towards me so I took the turn sharper and faster than I had intended.
I’d had trouble at that corner before, but this time, I knew something bad had happened, but didn’t know what and considering the neighborhood, I didn’t stop until a mile or so later when I got to the top of the hill near Summit and Fairmount and heard the rumble of a flat.
This was my first flat in this car, but I figured I could handle it, leaping out only to remember I had a trunk full of crap that I now had to put in the back seat so I could get to the spare and the tool, and when I did, I couldn’t find the jack.
I keep the car manual in the back seat for times like this, at least ever since that first time when I drove to work and realized I didn’t know how to open the gas tank and I was below E, and went on line to find the switch.
The temperatures outside this time was below freezing, and I had all the junk from the trunk on top of the manual, so after more digging, I eventually found the book, my frozen fingers turning page after page until finally, I found the page which informed me the jack was located under the front driver’s seat.
More fumbling and scraped fingers, I got the jack out, fitted it under the car, and managed somehow to raise the thing only to discover that the lugs were so cold they wouldn’t come off.
Somewhere in all this, I had dropped my cell phone, and sorting through the junk in the back seat I eventually found this, battery nearly expired, so I had to plug it in, call home for a number to our friendly local tow truck operator only to find the number went to some very irritated guy who told me never to call back or he would find me, and so I called the dealer instead, and to my surprise someone answered and gave me roadside assistance – in Nashville.
After a 40 minute frigid wait, a guy in a car showed up with a real jack and a real lug wrench and helped change my tire.
The next morning I drove on the donut tire to the dealer only to find out, they didn’t have the tire in stock and sent me to Sears, which had it only because they service Zip cars. By the time I got to work, I was exhausted and facing a long night at the Board of Education, and I was in no mood for the drive home when a couple of idiots doubled parked near where I had to turn and I had to speed up to get around a car making a left so as not to hit them, beeping my horn and giving the figure to the idiots seated in the front seat – who turned out to be undercover cops on a coffee break, who after pulling me over, made the usual request for paper work while asking, “Do you have any points?”
“I guess I will after this?” I replied
“What was that?” the cop asked.
For once in my life, I shut my mouth and shrugged, taking the tickets and driving off thankful I wasn’t hauled off in handcuffs.
It snowed that night, and the next morning, I found yet another poisonous spider in my shower, and this time, vowing not to kill it like I had the last, I found a way to put it outside, only to watch it die in the cold.
The spider didn’t kill the rat, I’m sure.
I didn’t know it was a rat until my wife said there’s a dead squirrel in the yard and I went out to take a look at it, and found it was a fat rat with a long tail and pointed front teeth.
I felt sorry for it, and for myself, thinking how fragile life is, and how lucky some of us are – escaping the worst impacts of our stupidity, while innocents like the spider and rat could not.
Omens, did I say? Perhaps more a life lesson about behaving better, and trying to live a good life, and hoping for the best.