Friday, June 6, 2008
Cars, Cards and Illiterate Heavies
I really want to move on to a new storyline, but have to share the punchline to my last post. When I collected my car from Fred's cousin, I noticed the check engine light was still on. "Ah yes, we tried to do that," murmured Fred's cousin, shaking his head sadly. I wanted to shake his head for him - violently. My service light needed a service and apparently neither Fred, nor his cousin could reset the damn thing - not for love or 1200 bucks.
Instead of bludgeoning Fred's cousin with a tire iron (for some reason I felt less anger towards Fred), I managed to let the blood drain from my face into my finger tips - that way I could sign the invoice and stagger off to vent in the comfort of my not-quite-fixed yet car.
Cycling would seem a better option and I enjoyed my ride to gym the other day. That is, until I was nearly crushed by a Lincoln town car, with registration 8G59464. The car swerved to the curb without signalling, and without checking its wing mirror. If it had, the driver would have noticed me, on my bike, pedalling away. Thankfully I managed to screech to a halt, nearly falling over in the process. The occupants clearly knew they had hit me, as there was a distinct sound as my handlebars made contact with the side of the car. Also the passenger couldn't fail to miss me, wobbling alongside the rear door, as we both navigated towards the sidewalk.
Evidently, limo drivers are a callous lot - or perhaps this particular chauffeur had been drinking, as he emerged with his passenger, grinning as if he'd won the lottery. The passenger appeared ecstatic! Almost as if "nearly killing a cyclist" ranks somewhere below "spotting Brad and Angelina" and slightly above "that guy from CHiPs".
No rush to help, no apology, not even a cursory wave of the hand to say "hey, I'm sorry, but I was born this way". I don't know who I was more disturbed by - the evil driver or the guy running the tourist stall, who refused to lend me a pen to write down the town car's details, even though he had no customers and a bucket of pens within arm's reach!
When I got to gym, I worked out with a new intensity. Last week, Fred's cousin helped me to 220lb on the bench press, a new personal best. Limo guy got me using the whole stack on the tricep press. Thanks, limo guy. I did notice however, that most free weights, as usual, were in the wrong places. 45lb plates hanging on spots clearly demarcated for the 101b plates. The same with the dumbbells. But only the heavy ones appear out of place. Anything under 30lb is where it should be. It's sad, but clearly the stronger one gets, the weaker one's grammar. Until all one can manage is a grunt. Wait a minute, I've think I've heard one or two of those guys...
Later on and safely back in my car, I shot off to a voice audition and, to be fair, my engine light went off by itself. I felt a wave of calm run over me. I collected some new business cards on the way, which the ever friendly Mario made using my headshot. But rather than crop the image to fit the card's dimensions, he saw fit to stretch the image vertically, thus making me look even more gaunt than I already am. But I resisted the urge to make him swallow them in front of me and drove off again into the future.
All might just be well with my world again. Almost. As I slowed at the traffic lights, I heard a dreadful cry. Others heard it too, as I noticed heads turning. Curiously, they were turning in my direction. Oh dear. Had I run over a cat? Crippled a child?
The sound was coming from my brakes. An excrutiating 15 minutes of squealing later, I was nearly at my audition. I glanced to my right and saw a man gazing out into the traffic from the gas station. He looked peaceful, almost meditative. He also looked like Fred. Which is fitting, seeing as he was, in fact, Fred. I gave him a steely glare and pulled away, but it's doubtful if he caught the look through my tinted windows.
So now I need to do my brakes. And fairly soon. Well not me, of course, but someone. And, as God is my witness, that someone will not be Fred and especially not Fred's cousin. Of that I am certain. Fred's cousin will never again come within fifty feet of my vehicle.
Unless he happens to work his way rapidly from the grille to the under carriage...