CHEAP EATS My pickup truck died and this time the death was fatal. The clutch, the transmission ... costs more to repair than I paid for the mighty 'mobile four years and 60,000 miles ago.
I rolled into a legal parking spot, got out and walked to a restaurant I like, sat on a bench outside with my head in my hands, and cried. I had $8 and change in my purse, on my lap, and one bar of battery left on my cell. None of my city friends have cars. I called my sister in Ohio.
"When your car dies," she said, "that's rock bottom. Now you have nowhere to go but up."
I didn't think this was true, but my sister, this one Carparts, I call her is younger than me and therefore wiser, so I decided to take her word for it. Rock bottom. Depressed. Beaten. Hopelessly hopeful. Puked upon. And now wheel-less, an hour and a half from home. And cat. And chickens.
Sockywonk has a car. I called Sockywonk. But she's had an even unluckier life lately than I have. She has to move from her great place, and was moving, so her car was already in service for at least a week.
Me, I didn't want to sit on a bench for a week, so I called my brother in Ohio, and then my other brother in Ohio, and then my other brother in Ohio. If there's a way to eke 75 more miles out of a clutch-fucked junkyard pickup truck, they would know.
So you know, before I say this next part: I do not embrace terms like "trailer trash," or "white trash," or even "college-educated fuck-up farmer trash" in reference to me and my family. We are "people of trash," thank you. We have dignity. We just also have rusted cars on blocks all over the property, it happens. And I know for a fact that any one of my brothers, and many of my sisters, could have and would have pulled the exact parts that my exact situation called for, and shipped them to me.
All I had to do was ask, but I didn't. Because right now I don't have any brothers or sisters or even nephews out here on the receiving end, and, while I can do some things myself, I have never replaced a clutch and transmission and had no interest whatsoever in learning how now. Call me unautomotivated.
What I really needed, I'm embarrassed to admit, was for one of my brothers, probably Jean Gene, the Frenchman, to say, "Wait right there, sis. I'm going to book a flight and pull the parts and ... what day is street cleaning where you're parked?"
I would have said, "Thursday," and Jean Gene would have showed up on Wednesday, taken care of it, and I'd buy him a burrito with my $8.
Let me have my fantasies!
How about this one ... I open my cell phone contact list, first name: Alice. Hit send and she answers. "Hi, Alice. My car died." And she says, "I have an extra one. I'll come get you."
Now, the cool thing about this particular fantasy is that it happened. I swear to my sweet sisters, one minute I was a wreck on a bench, publicly losing it, and the next minute I was sitting at Alice's kitchen table eating biscuits and gravy, a lone car key on the Formica between us. It belonged to a Honda that is registered, insured, and mine until the end of the month, or, you know, longer if I want.
Those were some very important biscuits. For one thing, they tasted great, better than any biscuits and gravy I've ever tasted, and not just because my New Favorite Person had made them, from scratch!
They were bottom biscuits, highly symbolic and loaded with sausage chunks. It was easy to believe, eating such biscuits and gravy so soon after feeling so hopelessly fucked so far from home, that in fact I had bottomed out, and was well on my reboundingly upswung and cheerful way to, if nothing else, a second helping of biscuits and gravy.
Which I was.