Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, January 27, 2002

You know, most blogs are probably about the awful things that happened to each person over the day, week, year, decade, life, etc. This post isn't going to be one of these, although it could easily have been.

First of all, you must understand that my poor car, a 1990 Nissan Sentra that was apparently abused/tortured by the previous owner to such a degree that it has been basically rebuilt, suffered yet another loss when a clutch cable snapped the other night, for the second time in less than a year. This time I had a passenger in my car, who, shall we say, tends to blow lightbulbs, small appliances, etc. when he's mad. I had just made him mad by acting like an insane child. Fortuately I have road service for just such occasions. Once the car was home and we were able to fish the remains of the cable out (more on that later), it was discovered that there was a clean break in an otherwise perfect-looking cable. The person holding it said, "I don't understand how this cable could have snapped." How do you explain the strange effects people have on machinery?

My mother and her boyfriend, John, came up to look at the car. I've mentioned John before. He's the one who built my computer for the holidays, the very one on which I'm typing now. Oh, and he got the car working when it got stuck at my grandmother's a few weeks ago. He's also the only male I've ever seen to come home from a long day at work, say hi, and walk straight to a closet, pull out a vaccuum cleaner, and begin to clean. He's great for my mom. And he's better at being a dad than my father ever could have dreamed of being. He does yard work for his mom. Between his work, his son (who just turned 18), our cars, and all the other projects on his plate, I don't know how he manages--but he does. So just let me say, John, Momma, you're both great!

It took well over an hour to get to the stupid cable. It had already gotten dark by the time they got here (they had stopped to load some software for a friend, which in turn took W-A-Y more time than it should have.) The cable had snapped back up pretty high--John had to take the lower dash off just to get to it, with my mom holding a flashlight, me holding the door, and a hand mirror to use as a periscope. There's nothing quite so frightening as watching someone demolish your dashboard--it has something to do with how difficult it is to get it off without smashing it against the wheel--you just cross your fingers, hope for the best, and thank the powers that be that you did finally take your Paxil this afternoon, so you're not as uptight as you could have been.

Unfortunately, the cable had, indeed, snapped. We went to an all-night auto parts store, but they didn't carry the cable. It may be one of those dealers-only things. So, no car as of yet. But they'll look for a cable and try later in the week.

The nice thing about it all was 1) I actually had to stay home and so I vaccuumed, shampooed my rugs, cleaned my bathroom, did my laundry--several things I'd been putting off or not getting done because I'd been coming home and crashing by 6pm. I also had a very nice chat with a neighbour about the difficulties of understanding English when you are not a native speaker and the people around you are using quaint but maddening colloquialisms, diphthonged vowels, etc. I think she was happy that I understood. Even though I'm from Kentucky, I grew up all over, and I don't talk like a Kentuckian. Here they tend not to open their mouths, and that makes it hard for me to understand sometimes; I'd hate to be coming from a language like Spanish which is so much more consistent. I told her I had a lot of trouble understanding native Spanish speakers because their Spanish is so rapid. She has that trouble with English speakers, too. At least in the South we tend to speak slowly compared to the Northeast, for example. 2) I got to spend some time with my mom and John. We actually sat down for a change, and took our time. We'd all been pretty busy, apparently, and needed to just chill and relax (at least until we got to the dashboard). 3) I got to spend some time curled up in a sunbeam this afternoon with the cats and dog. This may seem like a simple pleasure, but it's a great one. I have a large patio door with a southern exposure. Today was sunny, beautiful, spring-like. I even opened the windows for a bit. The sunbeams that stream in are warm and inviting. The carpet had dried, the animals had staked out their bits, so I just curled up, too, with one cat, Spock, laid out purring on top of my hand. That is my definition of happiness.

So, despite the car stuff, it was a good day. Hope yours went as well or better.

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