Here I sit, Saturday morning, at one of the local dens of caffeination, drinking the Elixir of Knowledge and hoping for inspiration to leap from my fingertips and dance across the keys.
So far, no inspiration and no dancing. But I have developed a slight, sporadic twitch under my left eye.
That's something I guess.
I contemplate the week past. Not bad, really. The Badgers dropkicked the Cornhuskers down the field and across the parking lot. The Packers did the same to the Eagles who aren't a bad team at all. Lotsa sales on four of the days this week. Sales which translate into income. Yeah. Everyday this week was OK. Except Thursday.
Thursday was kinda different.
It was the day both the Wife and I went to work early so we could get more done.
Best laid plans of spouse and man.
The Wife was the first one to work and someone had locked the office door. And the key had migrated to an unknown location. So she had to wait until the normal time for a key to show up.
That was right about the same time when Phlegm the Taurus broke an ankle.
I was halfway to the next town when I heard a rifle shot. Phlegm immediately dipped and pulled itself over onto the shoulder. My first thought was that some poacher had jumped the gun on this weekend's Deer Gun Season and had accidentally harvested Phlegm.
Due to the early hour I wasn't quite cognizant of my surroundings...which explained why I exited the car with both hands in the air, waving a white handkerchief, and screaming "I give up!". It freaked out the guy driving by in his blue SUV. I could care less. I was just praying that the Geneva Convention applied to Wisconsin.
The cold air woke me up enough to realize I wasn't under attack. Dropping my hands, I stuffed the handkerchief back into a pocket. I walked around Phlegm. The front tire was as flat and low as the President's approval rating. We weren't goin' anywhere soon.
That mystical bond between man and machine told me this wasn't just a flat tire. Phlegm had broken something. Something really necessary for good mileage and motion.
I looked up to the sky. I took a deep breath and muttered a prayer. Not really one of Thanksgiving and joy. But it came from the heart and was somewhat direct. Actually it was more of a direct question followed by a prayer. Which slowly dissipated into a quiet trust.
Of course the dissipation took a bit of time before the trust showed up. Hence the word "slowly".
Once trust and regular breathing returned, I called the insurance company. Three phone calls to 1-800-WHO-CARES yielded thirty-five minutes of muttering to a computer who wanted to be my bilingual friend. Finally an English-speaking human, with minimal accent, politely helped me. A tow truck was called. The wait began.
(I should clarify something. The accent thing. It's more to do with my frozen Northwoods ears than the folks I talk to. I talk to guys from all over the country and from various heritages. They know what they're saying. I'm the one who's not picking up on it. One thing is certain though. Politeness and patience, like common sense, is universally understood.)
During my half-hour vigil by the side of the road, I had six variations of this conversation.
"You okay? Need a lift?"
"No, I'm good. Tow truck's comin.''
"Okay. Hang in there. Take care."
Five motorists and a sheriff's deputy. About 25% of the morning commute migrating by that morning.
Yeah. The weather may blow here for 6 months outta the year but the folks are great.
The tow truck arrived and Phlegm was dragged up and locked onto the flat bed, reminding me of an old guy strapped to a hospital gurney wearing one of those worthless gowns that never really covers the exhaust.
I somehow managed, without a rope and belay, to crawl up and into the cab. Wheezing mildly, I pushed the debris of wrappers, invoices, and paper toward the middle of the seat as the young driver levitated quietly and smoothly to his position behind the wheel.
As we bounced down the road I explained what happened to Phlegm.
"Oh. Ya coil broke and took out ya tire. Same thing happened to my girlf'end."
I've never heard of such a thing so I wrote it off as "wanting to impress the customer".
On the fifteen minute ride we discussed, in no particular order, the early cold snap, ice shanties, ice fishing, the towing business in general and, of course, the Packers.
Over at the Car Doctor's lot, he deposited Phlegm at the end of a row of sick cars. I deposited a check into his hand. A handshake later he was back on the road and I went in to see the Doctor.
I told the Doctor what happened.
"Oh. Well, probably your coil broke and went through your tire."
"Yeah. It happened to my neighbor last year. Sounds just like a rifle shot."
My hand went back to the pocket containing the handkerchief.
Do I know anybody who drives a blue SUV?
The Doc gave me a ride home. I gave him $600 a couple of days later.
I take another pull of the Saturday Elixir as I stare at Phlegm parked outside the window.
A day that started badly... but helped me to realize that I'm not in it alone. That He's got me covered. And He's never surprised by what happens. That would be me, the surprised one. Not Him.
Another sip erodes another thought.
A bad start doesn't automatically mean a bad finish. Just an interesting race.
Even when I shoot a coil through a wheel...and surrender to trees and blue SUVs.