“May you live in interesting times.”

I had an eventful weekend.

Friday evening, after work, I make the turn onto my street, which runs down the side of a tall hill (my apartment is in a building built in the middle of this hill). Ahead of me, two boys around 10 years old, are riding their bikes down the middle of this street, coasting and enjoying the wind in their hair. One of the boys loses control of his bike, the wheels wobbling back and forth, and he struggles to regain his balance. But instead, the bike folds under him and he goes flying head first into the asphalt. He slides and his head bounces. He doesn’t get back up.”Oh shit”, I think and I stop in the street, and run down to them. The boy is out cold, a limp sprawl in the middle of the road. His friend is trying to wake him up, calling out his name. I can tell that this kid needs a doctor, and I have no idea what to do for him, since I can’t make telephone calls. The kid starts moving around and slowly waking up. He is obviously disoriented and in some pain, and he does not seem to understand what we say to him and he is unresponsive. Finally other adults begin to converge on the scene, and start calling emergency services. By the time the police and ambulance and his parents arrive, the kid is fully awake and scared by all the commotion. He is bleeding a bit from his head and has a giant road rash on his arm. But he seems to be ok, with a minor concussion. The police take my statement and the kid is carted off to the hospital and the road is quickly vacated.

I found the whole incident to be frustrating, as I felt helpless and useless. I couldn’t call 911, I wasn’t able to understand either of the kids, and I don’t know any first aid or cpr. All I could do was just watch and make sure the kid didn’t die on me or get run over.

On Saturday I spent the day with my sister and her kids. We went to IKEA to buy a chair to replace her old ratty one (which she gave to me, because I’ve been sitting on the floor for weeks). There was a LINE going into Ikea almost as long as the building itself. They were having a sale on the exact chair my sister wanted to buy. We were worried they wouldn’t have enough chairs for all these people. It was an unfounded worry, because they had thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Poangs available. No wonder it was half off.

Then I babysat the kids while their parents went out for the first time in forever to watch Star Trek.

On Sunday the sun was warm and bright, and I went for a relaxing solo drive. I drove into the country, went for a short hike on a little hill called Haystack Mountain, and then drove some more. I stopped at Great Barrington, MA for sushi and windowshopping. I got fudge and truffles at Catherine’s Chocolates. I figured out some essential issues about my characters and world for my new novel (which I will be working on this summer, until Labor day). It was an excellent day and I was very happy.

Fifteen minutes on my way back home, by car sputters and dies. Home is another 80 miles away, and a thunderstorm is brewing over my head, thick grey pillows looming, fluffing themselves with rain. I pulled over, and tried several times to restart the car, to no avail. I wonder how I’m going to get help. A couple of people working on the roof of a nearby building come over to see what’s up. They try jump starting battery, but it doesn’t work. The clouds open up and dump water on my head. The battery is working fine and has plenty of juice. I know it needs a tow. They try calling a tow truck for me, but its a holiday weekend, no shops are open and the towing company isn’t going to drive my car 80 miles south. Besides that would cost me something upwards of $500. So, I am stranded. I manage to get ahold of my sister, who calls the cops for me. The cop comes (he was cute and very nice) and calls a buddy of his who works with AAA and for a local shop. He tries to fix my car but couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t bad gas, it wasn’t the starter, it wasn’t the fuel pump. Everything that needs to start the car was working fine, except that the car wasn’t starting. I send my car off to the shop. My sister drives all the way from her home, about 75 miles due south, to pick me up. She lends me her old van, and I get home late to a very hungry cat.

Monday was a holiday, and I stayed home fretting about my car and how much it would cost me to fix it or have it towed down here if they couldn’t figure out the problem. And since it was a holiday, my car wouldn’t be worked on until the following day. So all I could do was fret.

Yesterday I call the shop at 10:00 am, and they tell me it was just a bad wire from the fuel pump and that it will be replaced and fixed by early afternoon. Just a rusty, corroded wire. So I take off work early at 2:00, and once again, my sister drives me an hour and a half into rural Massachusetts to get my car.

The bill: $255. But at least I have my car.

Today, I have a strong craving for a big fat greasy cheeseburger, but I have no money. So, like a Chinese refugee of interesting times, I am eating rice.

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9 thoughts on ““May you live in interesting times.”

  1. Dude, why didn’t you TELL me? I woulda ran over to Yvonne’s and goten you a tremendously oily burher tout de suite!

  2. That was a lot of excitement crammed into one weekend, just when you probably expected to relax and do little. I’m glad you’re home, your car is fixed albeit for too much money, and that the child survived his accident. And I’m sure you helped him just by being there.

  3. Look. There is nothing tougher than a 10 year old boy. Their rejuivination powers are second to none. He probably wishes you had a video camera and had the film recorded. He could have been a movie star after that one.

    The site of that had to be a lot to process as it was happening.

  4. oh my. that was the definition of eventful.

    and everything you ever need to know about cpr can be learned by watching Old School. for serious.

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