Bad days can be contagious
by Kelvin Wade
Have you ever gotten up on the wrong side of bed? You know, one of those days where you feel like you’re being Punk’d? Just a series of unfortunate events that all together adds up to, with props to Judith Viorst, a ”terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
Recently, only seconds after emptying my wallet to fill up the tank, my car died at a gas station. Fortunately, it started again and I got it home. Later, it would not start. So I made arrangements with my usual mechanic to have it towed in as they offered free towing.
I elected to have it towed at 10 a.m. on a Saturday so me and the better half could sleep in. Of course, my beagle Theo didn’t get the memo and had to be let out at 6:15 a.m.
When he has to be let out, he keeps touching me with a paw, almost nudging me. Then he sighs repeatedly. Finally, he climbs up and lays on my back. That’s the final stage. I have to get up and let him out at that point or else the bed will become his toilet.
Then, at 8:15, I was awakened by the sound of a very-nearby weedwhacker. I get up to investigate and it’s the neighbor’s son working on our front lawn. Cathi had arranged for him to do it and I was out of the loop.
I went to make coffee and through bleary eyes thought someone had spilled coffee all over the counter. It wasn’t coffee because coffee doesn’t move. It was an ant invasion. I killed and cleaned up the ants and got ready for the tow truck.
Cathi went outside to talk to the neighbor and clean out my car before the tow truck arrived. She found that my car started right up and she even drove it around the block. Of course it did! She asked me if we should cancel the tow and drive it in, but I knew that Murphy wasn’t done with me yet so I declined to drive it.
The tow truck I expected at 10 showed up right before 11. The tow driver tried to start my car and it wouldn’t start at all. Nothing. I knew it. So, he filled out the paperwork and then quoted me a price for the “free” tow. After informing him it was a free tow, he had to call my mechanic to verify. About 30 seconds after hanging up with my mechanic after verifying that the tow was in fact free, his cell phone rang.
It was the California Highway Patrol. He hung up and profusely apologized saying he had to leave and do an emergency tow for the CHP and he would be back shortly.
A little bit over an hour later he returned, loaded my car on his truck and left. My more significant other and I left five minutes later to rendezvous at my mechanic. We got there quickly with no sign of the tow truck. While I was describing what was wrong with my car to the mechanic, my cell phone rang.
It was the tow truck driver telling me his truck had broken down and he was waiting on another truck. Of course it did! Where’s Allen Funt? Ashton Kutcher!
We left the mechanic and found the tow truck on the side of the road. The driver apologized again and we asked if he needed anything to drink or eat, and he said he was fine. So we went to run some errands.
We stopped at a sushi restaurant for lunch. We parked in disabled parking (because I have a placard due to a medical condition and I walk with a cane). So, we had lunch and of course we had a disappearing waitress who never came back to see if we needed a drink refill or anything. But that was a minor thing after a day of setbacks and the sushi was good.
Things were looking up.
We walked out of the restaurant and immediately noticed an expensive sports car parked right next to our car. It was parked so close to the passenger side I didn’t think I had room to get in. What’s worse is the car wasn’t even parked in a parking space. It sat atop the crosshatch lines next to our disabled parking space! A teenaged girl stood leaning against the car.
Cathi told her that where she was parked was not a parking space and she needed to move the car so I could get in. In the most smug tone she could muster, the girl said, “It’s not MY car. It’s my brother’s. And I wasn’t driving!”
“Then go get your brother and tell him he’s parked illegally,” Cathi said.
Now if it had been a regular parking space they were parked in, Cathi would’ve pulled out and I would’ve hobbled to the car. No problem. But the fact that this asshole was parked on the crosshatch lines (a $350 ticket easy) and the girl was so snarky, we were going to make them move. We watched the girl go into a cell phone store and tell her brother who seemed oblivious. He just shrugged. He wasn’t about to lose his place in line and move his car.
After the dog, weedwhacker, the ants, the intermittent starting car, late tow truck driver, tow pay fiasco, CHP towing intervention, tow truck breakdown, disappearing waitress and the fact that I was still waiting to hear how many gazillions of dollars I’d have to shell out for a new Johnson Rod (kudos to George Costanza) for my car, I’d had it with Inconsiderate-Sports car-Guy. Like a cartoon bull, I was jettisoning steam from my nostrils.
“Just get in the car,” I told Cathi in the mellowest voice I could find under the circumstances.
After Cathi got behind the wheel, I proceeded to get into the car the best I could given the narrow space to operate a hard car door next to the glistening fragile body of a very nice sports car with an exquisite paint job. I’ll say this much as we left the parking lot that day, my mood finally brightened. And I’m sure that when Inconsiderate Sports Car Guy and his mule-headed little sister came out of the phone store it was probably the beginning of a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” for them.