Monday, August 27, 2012

Not-so "Reliable Towing"

This whole saga began on this past Saturday AM. I was getting ready to go and from the grocery store, and then do my regular work routine. At least, that's what I'd planned...

There were no signs of life when I turned the key in the ignition, only a few red icons, including the battery light. I called the 800 number for Ford Roadside Assistance, and got a soothing, young voice, who dispatched this Reliable Towing company to give the battery a jump. The dealership's regular shop was not open on weekends, so I had fingers crossed that this would be a one-time intervention, and then I could move on with my life, thank you very much. This is important, since even on Saturdays, I usually have my life scheduled to the nanosecond.

I ambled around my back driveway, taking the deeeeeeep breaths I'm frequently encouraging in my clients, to bring down their feelings of irritation and frustration. Finally I got a call from the tow-truck driver, saying he was in front of my house, and where was I? I explained that my garage was situated not in front, but in back, off the alley. This is the case with many of my neighbors, as can be observed if one were to drive along my street. I had clearly explained that to Roadside Assistance, and had been given reassurance that this information would be passed along. Throughout the years, and with all the vehicles I've driven, it's never been a problem.

The driver seemed totally perplexed, saying, "I don't know how to get to the alley. Can you come out and point the way?" (Oh, really? You don't know how to make two right-hand turns?) When I said it was around the corner, he said, "I don't think I can do that." So, I stomped out through the side gate, and pointed (but not with the finger I was tempted to use), and wonder of wonders, he made it to the garage.

I got to and from the store, and then to and from work without incident. Sunday AM saw another dead battery, and I begged the same dispatcher to NOT SEND RELIABLE TOWING. This time, the neon yellow truck that arrived had "Polite Auto Service" on the side and was driven by an older,soft-spoken gentleman who actually had his wits about him. My plan was to keep my car running until I could get to the dealership on Monday afternoon after my morning appointments. My new "BFF" at Roadside Assistance and I agreed to schedule a "just-in-case" jump start appointment for Monday AM between 5:30 - 6 AM, which I would call and cancel if it was not needed. Fine, this worked for me. Again, I got to and from my office with no problems.

Today, Monday AM, I was up even before Tiggy, at 4:15, to go out and check if I needed the jump (turned out I did). I made breakfast for Mom, put her lunchtime provisions in the insulated bag, and set about with an efficient pace, with an eye toward the 5:30 - 6 AM ETA. At 4:50, I got a cell phone call from *cue the screechy horror film music*, RELIABLE TOWING. They were outside, in front of the house, demanding to know where I was.

I lost it. Not one to lose my temper on the phone, I yelled that they were way ahead of schedule, and I was just not ready! Click! A few minutes later, a (I believe) dispatch supervisor called me back, and I swung into Round Two, telling him that clear arrangements had been made with Roadside Assistance, and all this miscommunication was unacceptable. He yelled back, and said he'd route me to another company. Fine, do that...and I was so ramped up at that point, I didn't need any coffee! And it wasn't even 5 AM.

You know what they say about not "poking the bear"? Well, the same goes for pissing me off early in the morning.

So then, there I was, 5:32 AM on a Monday morning, fully dressed, doing the old "hurry up and wait" dance. Then, at 5:35, the call came...

P & M Towing was passed the baton this time, and I was to work was ahead of schedule, affording me time to do my makeup in the parking lot, slurp some now lukewarm coffee, and set myself right for my clients. I got my last jump at 2:30 (from an unmarked truck this time) and sped to my dealership. While I waited at Galpin, I had a late lunch/early dinner/whatever at their Horseless Carriage Restaurant -- a marvelously gooey cheeseburger and a huge hot fudge sundae for dessert. As I type this, it's weighing a bit heavy in my stomach, but I'm glad I indulged. Even if it was a couple of thousand calories, they call it "comfort food" for a very good reason.

I'm home, and it's not even 7:45 PM. I've got a fatigue-headache, and I'm going to crash any minute. My car now has a new battery, and all is well. I'm going to drop a note to my dealership and Roadside Assistance, thanking them for their assistance and giving them my feedback about the entire experience.

When I enter my car tomorrow, perhaps I'll kiss the steering wheel and promise not to take it for granted again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh, post-reunion let-down! On what shall I obsess now??

Okay, so my knees and calves have fully recovered from my dance-floor antics of last Saturday night. The afterglow of seeing all my friends still lingers, and I can still get misty over all the love. FYI -- Basically shy person that I am, I'm NOT normally a hugger, but I decided to put this aside the other night, and I'm so glad I did.

Thank goodness for Facebook; I can really now make good on those inevitable "We must keep in touch" promises. In meetings of pre-FB past, especially ones amped-up with cocktails and emotions, they used to be whole-heartedly made, but then so quickly buried under everyday demands.

We are -- (with a sigh of reluctance here) and I am -- not getting any younger. Facebook will now hold me accountable to my grand promises.

Speaking of promises, there was one I made to my friends Susie, Marcy, and Dave (you surely know what I mean...wink, wink). Just want you folks to know I haven't forgotten, and will be sending this token to each of you, probably when you least expect its arrival. Hint: it involves my love of the written word.

This is my day off, and I'm lingering over coffee, wistfully listening to my 1972 music (again!), and finding ways to get back fully to my writing and Facebook page presence. As I mentioned a few posts back, I was recently feeling as if I'd lost my momentum. Just know that I've taken some private measures to get my "groove back," and think I've succeeded.

Two "tasks" will be catching up on some piled-up New Yorker issues, and also my long queue of recorded Charlie Rose segments. That way, it will be, as our childhood Highlightsmagazine covers proclaimed, "Fun With a Purpose."

One point to digress a bit: I have been meaning to delve again into the literature on my bookshelf -- Johnson, Whitman, Shaw, Woolf, and Shakespeare. Oh, and I can't exclude Jung. All were required reading at some point in my academic journey, but now they're all beckoning me to do another, more thoughtful read. I'm thinking that I should scour the used bookstores for inexpensive Shakespeare copies to complete my collection, as he's one of my historical heroes. With his relatively unschooled, but uncanny, insights into humanity, I think he would have made a damned good counselor.

Or a late-night talk show host. Or comedian. Consider a terrific source I found my morning's internet surf: Shakespeare Insults Dictionary:

So, enjoy today!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The "prom" is over, but I suspect we've only just turned a page...

At about 12:35 this AM, I got home and sent Mom's caregiver away. Mom had groused mightily about my having engaged a "babysitter" for her, but too bad. They apparently had a terrific time, sitting in the living room, discussing the state of the world, and coming up with solutions to all its problems,..all while Chuck and I were partying at the Pickwick, as we hadn't in so long. "We" meaning the two of us...and I suspect others in the BHS class of 1972. Oh, sure, the little kids now populating the high school were off doing their own shenanigans somewhere, but we boomers have the better view of life, in my opinion. Am I right, or what?

As I begin to type this, it's 7:57 AM, and I'm the only one up (even Tiggy's laying low), with my black coffee as my only company. We were so wound up earlier, we didn't retire until roughly 3 AM (the last time I consciously saw those red digital numbers, anyway). I know I'm going to pay for my sleep deprivation later on, but I'll deal with that then.

OMG, just where to I begin to capture the experience of last night? Forgive me if much of what comes out sounds overly-sentimental, or cliche. I got moved to tears at a few points...some (formerly!) "mean girls" coming up and profusely explaining that they had hoped, for decades, that they'd have an opportunity to make amends to me...all the "you look great" compliments (and yes, back atcha, because I think we all cleaned up well, and did ourselves proud)...the hugs...the precious chances to be able to say (again) "let's keep in touch."

This time, I, for one, am sincere about that last remark. Seeing the touching photos of departed classmates, and trading anecdotes about where we've been/what we've done, has given me a renewed sense of urgency.

I'm usually so good with words, but they're failing me now. So let me take a rain check, and as other thoughts come to me, they'll be sure to appear here.

Now, for more coffee...and to nurse my aching calf muscles. Dancing with my dear Chuck and my old pals put some serious cramps in my legs!

Love to you all!! And here's some music to try to capture my feelings:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Upcoming "Prom Night" for us Older Folks

Ten days, and steadily counting down. Members of our 1972 class from Burbank High School will be gathering to catch up, reminisce, trade stories...and perhaps even rebuild a few bridges that got torn down over the past 40 years.

Speaking only for myself, a part of me is like a young girl again, giggling with anticipation, while I download YouTube clips of oldies I used to listen to on my little RCA transistor radio. I'm instantly transported back, from the responsibilities of my grownup present, and I can see the faces of those around me in my classes, as if we never left that time. In that wonderful never-ending alternate reality of misty nostalgia, we are all there, and always will be.

Another part of me is pretty damned nervous.

My new dress is hanging here in my closet, my shiny sandals are sitting newly-purchased in their box, and my bling-y jewelry has been carefully chosen. The dress code on the reunion website says "dressy casual." Dressy casual...what's that anyway? From my woman's perspective, there's only one or the other, and I'm determined to go with the former, to honor my friends, my gentleman friend-escort, and, of course, this occasion. And even though I'm not a betting woman, I'd put down a serious wager that I won't be the only one who'll be "gussied up" that night. C'mon, it's our special night, for heaven's sake!

I call this "prom night" because of the level of anticipatory energy--and because I didn't go to my 1972 prom. There were many reasons I wasn't at that once-in-a-lifetime event, and it made for one of the many regrets I've carried throughout my life.

At several points throughout this past year, and in response to various personal events, I have considered giving this reunion the go-by. Finally, I have decided that I don't want to add to the length of my "shoulda" list. The urgency of my life has gotten in the way of maintaining the importance of friendships, and perhaps reconnecting with classmates can help, in some ways, to make amends.

On August 18, I want to arrive with my heart and love. Stretching out my hands may be not only a social gesture for the evening, but a way to forge a whole new beginning.