Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day Two & Three. A Blur...

Tuesday was one of those days that you will remember forever. Like 9/11, the Rodney King riots, the Japanese Tsunami...days that you will always recall in crystal clear detail. For me, the detail I will always remember is..spaghetti.

In Patrick's defense, he had been forced by circumstances to move all of his worldly belongings twice in the last 3 months, and then once again from a bedroom to what was a dining room in his current apartment. It's a long story involving leases and whatnot that I won't bore you with except to say that there were extenuating circumstances behind the fate that awaited us at his apartment Tuesday. We arrived around 1 o'clock in the afternoon with the rental truck for what we supposed would be a rather simple job of loading all of his stuff and then going out to dinner. Wrong. What we found was the most bizarrely conceived collection of boxes you could possibly imagine. In one half empty box there would be two books, some sheet music, one sock, a necktie, and a box of flour. On the top of the box, it would be labeled.."eclectic randomness". No, we would have loved any label. There were no labels. How do you label a box with one pair of long john underwear, a screwdriver, a box of staples, and a can opener? For Pam, this was the moral equivalent of cruel and unusual punishment. Her eyes were wide with the horror of it all. She began making furious plans to organize it all, starting with cleaning everything she could get her hands on. But soon she realized the futility of her efforts. The turning point for her brings me to my spaghetti moment. Up on the top shelf of his closet was a box that he assured us contained only "kitchen stuff". He was right. Inside was a teaming mass of things associated in most people's minds with kitchens. There were two or three glasses, some plastic measuring spoons, and no less than 8 frying pans of every size imaginable. Where did he get so many frying pans? We could only recall buying him two. From the looks of it, maybe he thought that once a frying pan was used once, then a new one was needed. Digging through the box, I half expected some hostile living thing to jump out at me. Then I saw it. The one thing that served as a cold water in the face moment for Pam and I, the clarifying event of the day that screamed out, "Forget organization..that way leads to madness. Just throw it all in the truck and deal with it later." We pulled out the last frying pan in the box and found that it still had the remains of a spaghetti dinner from June encrusted to the Teflon coating.

By late afternoon, it was all packed. Then I happen to notice that the right rear tire on the truck was flat. You would think that this would have sent me over the edge, but I was strangely serene. I calmly called the "roadside assistance 800 number" given me by the strange smelling woman at the Budget Truck Rental office earlier in the day. In less than an hour, Leon showed up and replaced the valve stem. The next thing I knew, Pam and I were sitting at Puckett's Boat House across the table from Patrick and Caroline having a lovely dinner in the most charming small town in America...Franklin, Tennessee.

Yesterday was just a long hard slog of a trip. 10 hours of holding on for dear life in the loudest truck cab I've ever heard, sitting in a seat designed for transferring all of the impact of even the smallest pot hole directly to your kidneys, with the added bonus of an engine that got 8 miles to the gallon. The driving downpours and high winds we encountered along the way actually helped me by diverting my attention from the cramps in my legs brought on by restricted blood flow to my extremities, courtesy of my tortuous drivers seat.

Last but not least, I did notice two hilarious roadsigns along the way, one that caused much ponderous thought and the other, well, it just struck me as funny. The first one was a large sign advertising an ADULT SUPERSTORE and CONSIGNMENT SHOP. The mind reels at the possibilities. The second was actually plastered on the side of a building. There was a ginormous picture of an AK-47 machine gun and then the name of the gun store. Right under that was a sign in huge red letters....JESUS IS LORD.