It's not about the house.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bad Things Come In… Wait: Fours!?

I’ve been a little raw this week. For lots of reasons. None of which have anything to do with you folks, whom I have so thoughtlessly forced to stare at the cat puke on my radiator for as long as I have stared at it myself.

But enough of all of that. I cleaned the cat puke up this morning. Because today was going to be the Day of My Salvation.

See, My Lady and I have been reading the Bible together every Friday morning for just over six years. The King James. It’s not a religious thing. More of a “getting it under our belts” thing. A “know thine enemy” endeavor, as it were. We’ve been covering eight chapters a week (actually, we started out with four, but we decided that we wanted to get through it before one or the other of us joins Elijah in the sky). Each of us reads the week’s passages on our own to begin with, and when we get together we take turns reading them out loud. Then, after we read a chapter, we discuss. We have a couple study bibles we refer to, and she has the complete OED if we get really stuck, but mostly we’ve found we prefer to suss it all out on our own. From what we’ve seen in the conflicting footnotes in the study bibles, our interpretations are as valid as those of any scholars.

It’s been fun. A lot of times we end up laughing. Me, I can’t stop thinking of those wandering Jews as so many Terry Gilliam-style animated cut outs, shouting things along the lines of: “Run away!” “Doom!” and “You’ll never make it…” Last week, I was a veritable blooper reel or something, unable to get through my reading-out-loud chapter without bursting into fits of giggles over the footnoted-phrase “What happened to Zerubabel?”

Maybe you had to be there. But if you were? Oh, holy Christ. Snork-freaking-snork!

Anyway, this week – today – we were finishing the Old Testament. After a half-a-dozen years, we were putting the God of Wrath and Punishment behind us and turning the page onto Him of Forgiveness and Love.

“Hooray!” say all the cartoon Christians. “Huzzah!” And “Hallelujah!”

My Lady and I decided we needed to do something special to celebrate the grand occasion. After all, who knows how long our slog through the New Testament will take? I mean, I could certainly figure it out by paging through The Book, counting out the chapters, doing the divided-by-eight math and adding a few weeks here and there for holidays. But I’m not quite that neurotic. Yet. And anyway, My Lady is 69 years old, and I cross against the red light all the time. If there’s one thing the OT has taught us, it’s that you have to seize the day. Otherwise, you just keep reliving it. Over and over and over and over again…

(Gotta love those Babylonian-exile inside jokes, don’t you, Henny? Yukka-yuk!)

So we decided we would read our last eight chapters of the Jewish Bible at Mount Auburn Cemetery, where My Lady’s Gentleman is buried. Mt. Auburn is not a Jewish burial ground, by any stretch of the imagination, but Her Gentleman was of Hebraic descent. My Lady ain’t – she’s High Episcopal, that one is, and she was nearly disinherited for marrying Her Jewish Gentleman when she did, back in the day. Maybe because of that, though, and in spite of the fact that he was not at all Observant in his adult life, she’s discovered a Judaic connection with him since his passing, largely through our half-decade wrestling match with the Words of OT God.

The Mount Auburn thing was my idea, and I think I saw tears in her eyes when I suggested it. We agreed that we’d have lunch after as well, and after a little internet searching I thought I’d found the perfect place. I told My Lady that I wanted to surprise her, and also that I wanted it to be my treat. She always treats everyone for everything, and mostly I play the old three-objections-and-give-in. But it didn’t seem right to make the where-to-eat decision on my own, not tell her about it, and then let her pay. Miss Manners would have taken away my grape-scissors!

The place I found to buy My Lady lunch is called Shalom Hunan, and it is – as you may have gathered from the name – Kosher Chinese. I thought that was fittingly ridiculous, in the spirit My Lady and I have brought to our studies thus far, and I only hope that, if we both survive through to the closing of The Book, I can find a diner called “The He Is Risen Grille.”

Now, Johnny’s been painting in My Lady’s place this week. A kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and hall. Since I was driving in this morning anyway, to pick My Lady up and take her on our celebratory jaunt, it was decided that I’d come a little earlier than usual, so I could drop Johnny off and pick her up at the same time.

She lives in Beacon Hill – which, if you don’t know, is Boston Proper. When Johnny and I are going into town together from the South Shore, where we live, he always wants to take Morrissey Boulevard and I always want to get on the Expressway. You might think, since I’m always the one in the driver’s seat, that I would get my own way 99% of the time, but it’s actually the opposite. You try sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with an Irishman who’s not afraid to say “I bleeding told you.” Most times, even if the Expressway is a happy flowing river of joy, I go his way just to avoid the possibility of getting stuck.

But not today.

Today, the highway was clear, and I got on it. He questioned my choice as usual; I said “Yes” in the tone that he has only recently cottoned to mean “Do not question me on this one.” And he didn’t. Looking back now, I can’t remember why I bothered. We weren’t late, and I wasn’t even mad. I guess I just wanted my own way for once, because today was going to be My Day. And I was right. We did not get stuck in traffic. But we did


hit something.

“What the hell was that!?” I said.

“A rock?”

“You think? Jesus. I hope we don’t end up with a flat tire. Oh, man. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.”

And then.

“Oh, shit.”

Oh, shit is right. And you know what the Expressway into Boston doesn’t have? A breakdown lane.

So I pulled over as close to the guardrail as I could, while the car went whompada-whompada-whompada. I was pretty sure by now that I’d not only blown a tire, but thrown a tie rod or broken an axel or something equally expensive and horrible on top of it. Also, it’s not so easy to remember – when you’re trying to pull over and stop with a thrown tie rod going whompada-whompada-whompada – that everybody else on the road is going 65 miles an hour on their way in to work, and that they don’t instinctively understand your brake lights to mean you intend to come to a full and complete stop. On the expressway. Without a breakdown lane.

Oooh, the honking!

My first reaction —

Actually, I’ll pause this story here to share a little post-traumatic, hindsight-20/20 PSA: My first reaction should have been for both of us to get out of the car and climb over the guardrail. Get our flesh-and-blood out of the way of oncoming, bone-crunching kinetic energy. Nothing horrible happened to us. We are both fine. Still, though, it would have been a good idea.

My first reaction was, however, to pull out my cell phone.

My cell phone! The little damn machine I never wanted in the first place, which I have barely used in the ten months I’ve had it, and which has recently reproduced itself (oh, I haven’t told you about this, what with the whole ostrich-week and everything) in the sense that Johnny now has a complimentary Razr of his very own. Turns out they come in handy, after all.

“Are you calling AAA?” says he.

Oh. AAA. That might be a good idea.

No. I was dialing My Lady. But I promptly hung up, because I saw a big green wrecker pulling up behind us.


I’ll finish this tale later. It goes on for three tow trucks, a cock-up on the T, a missing Johnny, a concerned but increasingly impatient Lady, one liar, a walk on the beach, three liters of Diet Coke, one honest man and a silly movie.

Then, eventually, beer.

2 comments: said...

Mercury supposedly exits retrograde tonight. I'm looking forward to all the crazy bad shit stopping over here too....

EGE said...

Tonight, you say?

Or, wait, that would be last night by now?

So that might explain why Andy actually showed up this morning and why he and Johnny are finally at Lowe's as I type this, buying (hold your breath) drywall for the kitchen?

Oh, god. I hope everything else goes back to normal, too.