Now usually, if I’ve got shopping to do, I try to rope in my sister or girlfriends. But shopping for a bra, that’s different. It takes concentration and fortitude. There’s no fooling around. So last weekend, off I went all by my lonesome to the Bangor Mall.
To be honest, I was not in that great a mood. In my opinion, shopping for a new bra is right up there with buying for a new bathing suit. Both score very low on the ol’ fun-o-meter!
So, I’m on Stillwater Ave in the turning lane, within spitting distance of the mall. I mean, I can see it. And my car dies. Yup, it goes kaput, put a fork in it, it’s done. Doesn’t even crank over enough to give me juice so I can put down the window to wave people around me. And it’s Saturday, right, so it’s busy. I flip on the hazard lights, but people behind me keep beeping anyways. There’s two turning lanes, so they can go around, but I guess it’s more fun to get aggravated at the poor woman on her cell phone frantically trying to reach Triple A. All that got better when a policeman parked behind me. Thank you, kind sir!
Took about a half hour for the tow truck to get there, so I had time to call Charlie and tell him what was up.
“Fuel pump, sounds like,” he says.
The tow truck guy is this big, beefy fella, Dave, and it was some slick the way he hooked up my car lickety-split and got it on that flat bed. Poetry in motion. Then, he walked me ‘round the car to protect me from the traffic, and helped me climb up into the cab, a regular Prince Valiant, and away we go.
Dave, it turns out, was a wicked nice young fella. From Massachusetts originally, but I didn’t hold that against him! Married a Maine gal, so he must be smart.
“You comfortable, Mrs. LeClair?”
“You bet, Dave. Call me Ida. So, how long you been doin’ this?”
“Oh, ‘bout eight years or so.”
“You like it?”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “I do.”
“What do you like about it?”
“Well, I like drivin’ around. And I’m good at it.”
“I can see that!”
“Yup. Don’t want to brag, but I’m kind of a master at loadin’ up vehicles.”
“It’s so nice to do what you love doin’, isn’t it? That’s how I feel about bein’ cashier, down to the A&P.”
We drove on. Turns out, Dave’s an avid reader. Fantasy adventure books. You know, ones that take place in a medieval sort of world. And he loves video games, too. “I get a new game, I play it ‘til I beat it, then I take a break. Might go back later and do some of the extras.” He has everything hooked up to his big flat screen TV so “it's just like bein’ there.”
For television shows, Dave’s into “Sons of Anarchy,” “True Blood,” “Walking Dead.” Said he’s still kind of sad that “Breaking Bad” ended. Though “it had the best endin’ ever! Perfect!” Oh, and he really likes “Ink Master.”
“What’s that, Dave? Some sort of reality show?”
I guess tattoo artists come from all over to compete for the title of Ink Master. They do all sorts of challenges.
“Gee, do they practice on real, livin’ people?”
“Oh, yeah,” Dave replies. “You can sign up to be on the show as a livin’ canvas!”
That got us talking about tattoos. Dave has three. Only one was visible, on his arm, and I thought it was best not to ask where the other two were located. I stared at this skull, sitting on top of some weird sort of cross.
“What’s the significance of the design, Dave?”
“The significance? I don’t know. It’s a cool design is all. I’m saving up for a big one on my back.”
“How much would something like that run you?”
“I got some quotes. Anywhere from $500 to $2000.”
“Dave,” I said, putting my hand on his arm, “with tattoos, you don’t necessarily want to go with the lowest bidder, if you know what I’m saying.”
Dave chuckled. “I hear you. I only want the owner of the tattoo parlor to do it.”
“I’ve been thinkin’ a lot about the design, too. See, it’s this big, ugly demon, and he’s chained up.”
Wow! I’m thinking. That’s a commitment.
Dave continues. “There are three chains, right? And each one goes to a crystal pillar in color of my kids' birthstones. It represents how my kids keep my inner demons in check.”
“That’s deep, Dave. What color are the birthstones?”
“Well, there’s red for July, purple for February. I forgot what March is.”
“Let’s look it up.” I dazzle Dave with my smart phone skills. “Aquamarine. So you could do a kind of light blueish-green. That’s a real nice variety of colors.”
Bing bang boom, we are back in Mahoosuc Mills. I call Charlie to come pick me up at the garage. Then, while Dave’s getting my car off the flatbed, I start thinking. Are you supposed to tip the tow truck guy? If so, how much? I heard my niece Caitlin’s voice in my head, “Just look it up on your phone.” So I did, and it was a amazing.
All I did was enter in, “How much do I tip the tow truck guy?”, and the answer was right at my finger tips. $5 if it’s their own truck and they did a good job. But if it’s a Triple A deal, they get paid less, so you should definitely tip $5-$20. Dave had done such a good job, I slipped him a twenty. “Here’s a little something to use toward that tattoo. Maybe one of the pillars.”
“Ida,” he says, “that was the most pleasant tow truck ride I’ve had in ages.”
My car’s all fixed, now. Turns out, Charlie was right. It was the fuel pump. When they go, they go. No warning. Things are back to normal, now, though I still have to buy a new bra. Ain’t life grand?
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Coming Up This Fall:
October 10: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You, Keynote Speech,NH Council on Developmental Disablilities Caregivers Conference, Concord, NH
October 26: Book Reading, Betsy Ross House, 3:00 p.m., South Portland, ME
October 27: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You, Community Concepts staff retreat, 1:00 p.m. & 2:15 p.m., Newry, ME
November 7-9: I Married an Alien, The Public Theatre, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m., Sunday at 3:00 p.m., Lewiston, ME
November 29 & 30: A Very Ida Christmas, The Footlights, Saturday at 7:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m., Falmouth, ME