Friday, March 12, 2010

The Lumberjerks and the Dead Body in the Back Of My Truck

It started raining sometime before four, but after midnight. The lumberjerks were trying to move equipment around last night until midnight, and at four the mutts got freaked by the thunder and wanted out. Yes, the thunder frightened them so they wanted to go out into the pouring rain. My neighbor had warned me the lumberjerks would be cutting timber but I had no idea they worked such odd hours, and yet took so much time to do the work. I’m pissed because they’ve been working days while I’ve been working nights so they keep me awake. So, getting next to no sleep, having to deal with night weirdness, and the lumberjerks kicking up so much dust and pollen, this means the last week has been most unpleasant.
When all else fails try true exhaustion.

I went to Valdosta today and yes it was still raining. I was taking a shortcut down a side street when I passed a cop going to other way. Does anyone else always look to see if the cop is turning around? The last time I got pulled over I was parked, and had my music too loud. The cop then was about half by age and even though he never cracked a smile he had to be grooving on the irony of having to tell a dinosaur to turn it down. These were my thought as I glanced into my rearview mirror and ..sonofabitch! He’s turning around! A quick check of the speedometer reassured me it wasn’t speed. I looked around. I didn’t run a stop sign or a red light…did I? Sure enough, he lights me up and I pull into the parking lot of a radio station.

“Is there a problem Officer?”
Why, no, there isn’t a problem at all. It’s raining, I’m bored, the coffee is really kicking in and I’ve got a sugar buzz from the doughnuts. Problem? Mercy no! I just have to deal with humanity at its very worst, hope you aren’t some idiot wanted for murder who is going to just start blasting away because I pulled you over for a traffic stop. Problem? How could there possibly be a problem?

“Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?”

Because of the kilo of coke I keep in the glove box? Because of the dead body in the back of the truck? Because I’m wanted for muder? Because there are warrants out for me in three galaxies? Oh, I get it; you ask me to confess to some crime, and me, in hopes you’ll reward me for good behavior, will spill my guts and we won’t have to have any sort of judicial process that invariably will go in your favor because we cannot have people like me riding around breaking whatever the hell law I broke.
You see why I might need a nice five mile run to drain some of this off?

“Just wanted to tell you your passenger side headlight isn’t working. I won’t give you a ticket, but please get that fix, have a nice day sir.”

Damn. There isn’t anything worse to destroy a good rant than someone being nice and professional. I reach out with a foot and tap the light. It still doesn’t work. Why should it? I mean really, where did we ever get the idea that percussion engineering was a good idea? This goes back to the days when we made things out of rock, and if it wasn’t just right a few more taps would usually flake off another piece of flint and all was well. Tap, tap, tap…he’s dead, Jim.

I’m mechanically reclined. I’ve got as much skill with a wrench as I do a scalpel. Working on simple parts takes me ten times as long, and usually results in something else being broken along the way. The guy at the part store is a very large young black guy with tattoos. He doesn’t seem very interested in my plight; sell the parts, move along, next customer please. I try to change the bulb out in the parking lot but didn’t bring my glasses. I can’t see where the tiny wire brace goes. These things cost sixty bucks a pair, so if I break one I’m screwed.
“Got it sir?”

The very large young black guy with tattoos has just gotten off work. He wades in to rescue me without a smile. He seems to have a sense of obligation here without any hope of good coming of it. Meanwhile, one of his co-employees is trying to help someone install windshield wipers. She cannot figure out how to get the old ones removed.
“Be right there.”
He says this without a smile, without any hope of getting off work on time, and without any sort of emotion.

I don’t need glasses to see the windshield wipers so I pop one of them off, and the other I have to pry off with a truck key because it’s stuck. The very large young black guy with tattoos actually smiles. He isn’t used to anyone helping him out like this. Division of labor I tell him. I get headlights, the other guy gets wipers, the co-worker and I get rescued. The very large young black guy with tattoos gets off on time, mostly, and gets a little faith in humanity, maybe.

The five mile run feeds the creative. Mike, you have to admit everyone you came in contact with today has been pretty decent, don’t you? I do have to admit that. People aren’t always bad, and they can be helpful, but it rarely happens like this. Other than the lumberjerks, Mike, who are just doing their job, really, what’s the problem? I have to admit it’s been a good day, despite the lack of sleep. Go home and nap, Mike, and stop being bitchy. The exhaustion from the run is already seeping in. The chemicals flooding into my body relax me and put my mind at ease. I feel much better. I feel there is hope. I feel….shit, I have a flat tire.

Take Care,
Mike

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