Jim, Wearing My Glasses, Fighting With The Air Hose
It’s turning out to be a FOD.
When my granddaughter was about 7 she mentioned that every time she’s with me we always have “Fun, But Odd Days.”
“We have FOD days, Babba,” she said.
Right now I am not having so much fun, but it is an odd day.
I’ve asked my brother Jim to show me how to check the air in my car tires and to show me how to fill them. I have 2 blinking lights in my car and when I look the symbols up in my car manual, it says tersely, “Pull over to the side of the road immediately.”
Jim meets me at the gas station. He’s huffy and puffing around like he’s in a hurry to be somewhere else.
After I rustle up 4 quarters he gets the air pump going but he has forgotten his glasses. He can’t see what he’s doing without them and so he takes mine.
Now, I can’t see what he’s doing and the whole point of this is that I will watch closely and see what I need to learn.
Jim is busy unscrewing some little tubes on the tires and I try unscrewing one, myself. My hands are now streaked with black grease. So are Jim’s.
Next, he yanks and pulls the long air hose away from the pump and says “We gotta’ hurry before the air runs out. We only have 3 minutes.”
I wonder out loud why we started the pump before we got the ‘thingers’ out of the tires.
Jim is whipping the hose around and complaining about how his day has gotten all scrambled up.
I wrote a list,” he says, “and this wasn’t on the list.”
The hose won’t reach the back tires. Jim has a hissy fit.
I move the car.
The hose gets away from Jim and snaps in large circles in the air, like a champagne fueled horse whip. We both scream and duck.
Jim then leaps into the ethers like a ballet dancer, grabs the hose, subdues it and starts to fill the tires to 33 pounds of pressure. I’m hanging over him, trying to see where he puts the hose and trying to see how he measures the air. Of course, I can’t see because Jim is wearing my glasses.
I’m frustrated and run my hands through my hair.
My white hair is now streaked with black tire grease.
The pump stops. Our three minutes are up.
We have one tire left to fill.
“No problem,” Jim says. “Leave it.”
“Leave it?!” I stammer. “What if that’s the tire that is bad?”
Jim checks the tire. It’s at 32. “Close enough”, he says.
He runs his black-greased hands through his white hair.
I look but I say nothing.
The day continues in a similar vein, too vexing to even write it out for you to wade through. It’s just one of those days that I don’t have on my list and neither does Jim.
When our sister Candy was in college, one of her teachers was an African American man. One day, someone in class mentioned the lists we make that we think will take control of our days and keep us in order.
The teacher said, “Only white people make lists. Black people never do. We just roll with the tide.”
That made a big impression on me but it didn’t stop me from making lists and getting frantic and fevered when during a day I couldn’t cross most things off that piece of paper.
All these years later I am still making lists. You can always find an old list of some kind in all my jean’s pockets and in the washing machine.
However, sheer age and time have worn me down.
I now make lists but I am loose with my days.
Every morning I think, ‘OK, I have a day planned and I have my list, but I know today will go however it goes and it probably will take turns I never expected.’
And, unlike in my former, more harried life, I look forward to the surprises.
As for today, how many times in my life have I almost been horse whipped by an arcing air hose?
‘Dang,’I think. ‘That’s something I wouldn’t have put on my list, today. I did have a FOD after all!’
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