Saturday, May 18, 2013

Flat Tire in the Rain

Well, I'll tell ya.  This past week has been difficult and annoying, but also sort of rewarding.  Both from the same source: my son Joe.

On Tuesday morning, the phone rang before I had gotten up.  It was Joe, letting me know that he couldn't start his car, and asking me to drive over before work and give him a jump.  Which I did, but it would not take.  His little BMW was just not responding at all.  We went through several rearrangements of engine parts and what-not, and finally I had to call it quits, or be late for work.  I agreed to take Joe with me, and let him drive my car back and keep using it to get his car started.  He would come and pick me up that evening.

Well, at about three he called.  "Mom," he said.  "I got my car started!  But hey, your car has a flat tire.  I've got to go to work now, can you take the bus home?"  
So I did.  It's a two-bus trip, taking just over an hour, instead of the twelve minutes the car trip takes, but whatever.  No problem.  My car is still in Joe's friend Brian's driveway.  Joe assures me earnestly that when he gets off work he will go and fix it.  

At about three in the morning Joe comes to my door, awakens me, and tells me that his car is not holding a charge and although he is willing to attempt to take me to work in the morning, he cannot promise that we will get there.  Oh, and my tire is not merely flat, it has a large area of rotting rubber, and cannot be repaired. 

I take the bus to work.

At about three I call Joe and ask him for an update.  He says, "Oh -- yeah.  Uhhhhh, I've been working on my car, and haven't gotten to your car yet.  I'll give my tire guy a call when I get cleaned up and see about finding a tire to fit your car."

I take the bus home.

When I get home, Joe is not there.  I call him and find him picking up his girlfriend from work, in his friend's truck.  When they finally get back, it is dark.  I ask Joe what the plan is, and whether he has fixed my car yet.  He gives me a look.  "Mom," he says.  "I haven't even gotten my car running yet!"

I tell him that I don't want to interfere in his arrangements, and ask if I should just go and buy a tire myself.  Joe is distressed, and urges me not to, saying that his "tire guy" will be able to find us a tire, we just have to wait for the "time to be right."

I take the bus to work.

Now I am annoyed as well as concerned.  I know that Joe is  perfectly capable of replacing this tire.  I also know, however, from long years of experience, that Joe is very, very easily distracted.  Almost anything can turn his eyes away from what he is supposed to be looking at.  So when I get home, (on the bus) I repeat to him several times, loudly and clearly,  that I need to know if he is going to fix the tire before Friday night, since I must drive it Saturday morning.  Can't take the bus to Beaverton, after all.  So can he?  Cuz if he can't then I will go and buy a brand-new tire at full price at Les Schwabb and have them put it on my car.  

When he understands that I mean it, and that it is now Thursday afternoon already, he sort of comes to attention.  Calls someone and has them drive him over to Brian's house, where he puts the donut tire on my car and drives it home, and calls the "tire guy" and gets an appointment for the following day.
I take the bus to work, but at about two in the afternoon, I get a call from Joe.  A proud and happy call, saying, "Guess what, Ma?  I'm driving your car!  It has a brand new tire!  I'm going to come and pick you up from work!  How about that!"

He then went on to add, "And thanks for being SuperMom and coming to the rescue when my car wouldn't start. I know you don't have to take care of me anymore, but it sure makes me feel safe to know I can call you when I need help." 

No doubt you are looking askance at me and telling yourself that this is merely sucking up, and you may, of course be right; to which I reply: shut the hell up.

So all the waiting at bus stops (in the rain!) I have done this past week, are now forgotten.  I am happily waiting for my grown-up young son to come and pick me up!  Ahhh...!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Sitting and listening to the D'oyley Carte Opera Company singing Pirates of Penzance gave me an immediate sensory memory of sitting in Dad's warm and airless little shop, listening to the record player he had in there.  Even though I have listened to this very song performed a number of times, quite recently -- maybe four? -- by the actors who made the musical movie.  You know, Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Angela Lansbury -- those guys.  But something about the full-throated chorus of men singing

"Here's a first-rate opportunity/ to get married with impunity/ And indulge in the felicity/ Of unbounded domesticity..."

brought that smell of wood glue and warm dust rushing back.