Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bad Moon Rising

I am a man traveling under a curse. I believe this now. I may have believed it all along. I don't know.

Last week, in an effort to take control and manage my time a little better, I started making little lists in a convenient, pocket-sized notebook. The lists were just things I should accomplish: Get to the gym, go for a swim, start work on the taxes, call the circulation desk about just getting Sunday delivery, go to the library.

It started going south almost immediately. On the first day, the list had six relatively easy items to accomplish. I got to four. On the second day, there were another six. I managed two. On the third, the list was six, but nothing got done. By Thursday, there was no list and on Friday, I couldn't even find the notebook.

I could do no right --particularly, at home --and it seemed like, suddenly, the bad old money problems were back after I was sure they were gone. At work, someone else joined the exodus of fed up and worn out employees who were moving on for something with a future and it made me wonder, again, if I'd made the right decision to stay. I could have left months ago, taken a job with decent benefits, maybe 30 percent more pay and a lot less uncertainty.

But I thought, hey... it's just another rough patch and I did the math all over again. In less than six months, my weekly childcare bill drops to about half when my youngest starts school. In another ten months, I make my last car payment and with that, my car insurance goes down. All I had to do was wait it out --just a few more months.

And this was what I was thinking while I was driving Friday evening when the back end of the car began to violently shake and shudder. This was what I was thinking before I noticed I couldn't keep up with traffic, pulled over and heard the tell-tale slapping of rubber against the road.


I looked at the tire. It wasn't completely flat, but it was sagging. An exit was only another two-hundred yards. There was a gas station at the bottom of the ramp, but I squeezed the tire. It was as solid as a loaf of wonder bread.

Cars whizzed by on the highway and not so far in the distance, dark clouds rolled in like the tide.

I popped the trunk and started to work on changing the tire. I'm not very fast and by the time I had the lug nuts off the wheel, rain was pouring down. Cars continued on their Friday path home. Inexplicably, a few of them honked their horns as they passed in either solidarity for my plight (sorry, bro) or to jeer (fuck you, asshole). I don't know which. Nobody stopped.

The moment I put the deflated tire in the back and closed the trunk, the rain had passed. The storm had moved along and I stood there laughing. What a fucking cliche...

The damage turned out to be more severe than I expected. I didn't have any cash so I had to use plastic and Firestone couldn't offer too many options. Two rear tires and a very necessary alignment came to $310. With a coupon, it only cost me $260. The card is now, again, maxed out and this is probably my last save.

My super snazzy Neon is on its last legs and I have no doubts about this. A few months ago when I first maxed out the card with repairs, the mechanics listed a wide variety of needs. It will be lucky to make it another ten months.

I am traveling under a curse, at least for now. Soon, I imagine I'll be walking.

1 comment:

eclectic guy said...

"Inexplicably, a few of them honked their horns as they passed in either solidarity for my plight (sorry, bro) or to jeer (fuck you, asshole). I don't know which. Nobody stopped."

People are fucking cruel.