Wednesday, August 8, 2007

News and a Story

News:

An epilogue of my last entry: I'm not dying! The dermatologist flatly said that my mole is of no concern at all. The slight raising that I've noticed is very common and in no way indicates possible malignancy.

As far as the toe goes, he also gave me confident assurances that it wasn't at all suspicious. He was immediately familiar with the condition I was concerned I might have and he let me know that my toe doesn't look anything like the early signs of it. He measured the mark that I have and said that I could keep monitoring it. He expects that it will move up my nail as the nail grows, or else fade away. He also said that even if it stays the same there is no cause for concern. I'll watch it closely, but it sounds like I'm pretty much in the clear. Now it is time for the long decompression from the stress I put myself under over the past few days. Phew.

Story:

Kimberly left a cliffhanger in her entry today, so I guess I'm obliged to tell the story.

I suppose it begins on Monday, when I went downstairs to deliver the rent check and tell our landlord that we'll be moving out October 1. He was even fine with us using our security deposit as the last month's rent, which is convenient. So the very next day we're contacted by his sister, who handles the finer administrative points of the renting process for our apartment. She has friends in town that want to view the apartment before they leave, which means things need to be in relatively good shape very quickly.

With that news I came home last night (on the day of our third wedding anniversary), practiced some Bach and ate some yogurt (my usual pre-gym snack). When Kimberly arrived we debated about whether we could still go to the gym when we had to do all the last minute cleaning and wanted to try to salvage a bit of time together on our anniversary. Since we had already eaten as if we were going to work out, and since I wanted to return Nathan's car that I had borrowed (another story all together) I decided that we should go to the gym anyway.

Kimberly followed me down the street toward the Keliher residence in her car, I in Nathan's. We made it down to Middlesex St. at the corner of Foster, when she pulled into the parking lot of Bain Pest Control, across Foster St. from Captain Jason's Pizza. I pulled in beside her to find that she stopped because of a flat tire. It was REALLY flat with a 2 inch nail going in, curving around, and coming back out.

No problem. She has a spare and a jack. We'd only lose 10 minutes or so. I jacked up the car and found that she was missing her tire iron (or at least it was nowhere to be found in her trunk, which wasn't totally orderly). Nathan's Honda had a different sized iron, so I zipped back up the street to get the one out of my Toyota.

I returned and took off the nuts. Trying to pull the wheel off of the hub was, however, a different matter. I banged with all my strength on the center of the hub, around the back of the wheel, through the spokes of the wheel, everwhere. It would not budge. I took Nathan's and my tire irons, wedged them in the wheel and against the hub to create a lever, and pulled so hard that I was bracing my legs against the side of the car. It felt as though the wheel were welded to the hub.

Okay, we have the old fall-back. AAA. We called in for roadside assistance and I suggested that we have a nice anniversary dinner at Captain Jason's while we wait. We walked over, me with a splitting headache that began earlier that afternoon (see my last entry, I'm sure it was semi-suppressed stress causing it), to Jason's and ordered some steak subs and fries. They were great! We ate outside on a picnic table overlooking Kimberly's disabled car, waiting for the tow-truck.

We finished dinner and made our way back over to the car. I continued to try to separate the wheel from the hub, becoming more and more convinced that the help that was on the way would try less hard than this and then want to tow it. If only I could get the wheel off, we could cancel the assistance and Kimberly could drive the car to work and we could arrange a more convenient time to change the tire. I called my dad (a few times) and his last desperate suggestion was to put the lug nuts half on and drive around the parking lot, forcing the wheel to separate from the hub as it turned. No luck. Like I said, it was as though it were welded on.

Now the story gets odd. Instead of the "45 minutes at the most" that it would take our tow-truck to arrive, it took an hour and a half (that isn't odd, it's par for the course). The driver was the unusual element. He immediately seemed to be in a very bad mood. He backed up his large flatbed tow-truck between Kimberly's car and Nathan's with excessive speed and force and sarcastically asked if would could have parked the two cars a little closer together.

His attempts to change the tire reaffirmed this initial impression. He turned on an air compressor, and eager to let him know exactly what this situation was, I told him that there was a nail in the tire, so he didn't need to try to put air in it. His response was, "did I say I was going to put air in it? Do you think I'm going to jack this up by hand? Hmph!" He went on to use a pneumatic jack to jack up the car. Around this time he made some other confrontational comment that I don't recall, to which I replied "Sir, I'm only trying to be cooperative." His response was to call me a wise-ass.

He took off the lug nuts and tried banging on the wheel with a rubber hammer. After 10 seconds of trying to loosen the wheel he said "Where ya bein' towed?"

Keep in mind that other than letting him know that I was trying to be cooperative, I gave no verbal, facial, or physical indication that his behavior was affecting me at all. I remained flatly cool in speech and only did or said what was necessary. He wanted me to tell him where he should tow the car. I told him Mechanics Direct. He scoffed about how he was supposed to know what that was, since he visits thousands of garages a month. His engine was loud so he was having trouble understanding me when while I pointed to Mechanics Direct, which was in sight. I moved closer to explain to him which of the buildings it was. At this point he threatened me with physical harm if I stepped closer to him.

He loaded up the car and drove it down the street. We followed in Nathan's. He plopped it down, crooked, by the garage door and then sped off without a word. We submitted the after-hours paperwork and deposited the key, and then moved the car into a proper spot, and went home, no gym, later than when we hoped to have our cleaning done.

I didn't dare ask the guy's name, but I made a point to remember his license number. When I went inside I immediately called back AAA and reported the highlights of what I just shared. The manager at the Merrimack Valley AAA that I spoke with was quite familiar with the towing company (M&S Towing, I think) and was aghast at what I had told him. He assured me that the matter would be taken care of.

Incidentally, our clean up was pretty speedy and we enjoyed the second half of our sandwiches with some Fresh Prince season 4 that I got Kimberly for our anniversary. It was certainly an anniversary celebration that we will always remember. (And thanks to my above stated news, I'm sure we will have so many more to celebrate in the future!) If you are ever in need of roadside assistance and you see MA license plate number 8945D approaching, it might be best to tell the driver to move on (assuming the fellow is allowed to continue operating that vehicle).

3 comments:

Kimberly Pye said...

At least we were together for this one! I was being all linguistically-nerdy last year and had Chinese food with my grandparents instead. :)

Dan said...

She was in Northern Maine studying the local dialect for an independent linguistics paper. We did celebrate with an awesome trip to Acadia National Park on one of the weekends that bookended that trip...

Danielle said...

I'm very glad to hear that things are clear on your toe and your mole. That's great news!

Also... M&S Towing seem to have a reputation for cranky people. I've dealt with them before (also for a AAA call) when I had my Buick and while no where NEAR the level of nastyness that your dude provided, he wasn't friendly. Hopefully your complaints to AAA will come to some sort of good outcome.