Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snapshots: The Day Before Thanksgiving

Usually I take pictures when I do snapshots, and usually it is after a vacation, a rendezvous with my kids, the people that I let go, why, I'm still not sure. Something to do with autonomy, individuation, growth.

And no family business to fall back on.

Today I had absolutely no intention of posting, but when you go through a trauma, hey, you have to tell your friends.

The morning was okay. I started getting ready for an impulsive, fairly ridiculous Black Friday garage sale in my front yard, an event surely to take place in really, really cold, maybe even snowy post-Thanksgiving weather. It's set, the time and date, no turning back, but we're not. This is to divest of the many things my father left behind, New Old Stock from his gift shop, stuff people only use for Xmas, and being Jewish, how in the world can I possibly use any of it? Xmas plates, Xmas bells, Xmas figurines with kids on sleds. Stocking stuffers. By Friday afternoon we should have some remarkable deals, Black Friday virtual give-aways, minus the late night TV advertisement glitter. I have promised not to keep these things. A person has to let go.

Anyway, after sorting and bubble-wrapping, I take mom to the beauty parlor for a touch up, and while they all touch, I shop at Jewel, the Albertson's of Skokie. I buy things I never buy, things she needs, like Witch Hazel, something she never used when I was a kid, and a pencil sharpener, Kleenex, paper towels, bananas. Your usual shop.

Then off to score three dozen bialis and a dozen bagels at Bagel Country (don't ask why so many, not sure, these will go into my freezer, the winter is long). I drop off her slacks and sweater set at the cleaners, and wouldn't you know, she calls; she's ready. And wowzers, she looks great.

Everyone at the beauty parlor is thrilled to see me.

I drop her off at her senior living spa in time for lunch, shlep (you know this one, rhymes with rep) her stuff up to her apartment, unpack it, steal a piece of Fannie May from the freezer, and take off for work.

No surprises here, sad people, ordinary lives, my people.

I had had a little trouble turning off the car, actually, before getting to all of that pre-holiday angst, and this is a really busy street, where I work, the last really busy street with free parking, but it adds to my stress, cars whizzing past at forty miles per hour. Mine is a vehicle with a very cool ignition system. It's called keyless entry, but it seems a little funky, the system, like it's misbehaving. Ordinarily you push a button, the car starts. Push it again, the motor turns off. Leave your key in your purse, always know where it is. Like power windows, you don't look back.

But today, after turning off the car, the dash still seems lit in the mid-day gloom, not a good thing, but hey, you know who is important, not the dash, not the lights, but my 1:30 appointment. People, not dashboards.

There are days, honestly, even cold ones, you wish you rode your bike. Sure, we're taking a detour here, but bear with me. Picture it. The seemingly brainless biker in three layers, although how could you know this, nylons, flannels (could be pajamas, not sure) under rain resistant pants, skirt, a parka, a hat, another hat under a bike helmet. It's not so crazy. People ski and nobody says, "But it's so cold! You're crazy to ski in this weather!"

Today would have been that day.

So I leave the office at 6 pm, cold, because it really is sleet, I think, coming down, although it melts as it hits the street. A really thick, delicious, hearty soup, I'm thinking, nobody needs more than this. If soup is on by 7:00, it will be ready by 9:00, and this therapist will be in dreamland by 11, because it's been a long day.

But of course, the automatic car door does not automatically open, not as the automatic lock on the door of an automatic vehicle is supposed to do, and the cars really are whizzing by now. It is rush hour. I worry immediately, because it is rainy and sleeting and the wind threatens to blow me away, and how will we jump this car in the middle of this very busy street? At some point I reason, Try the old fashioned way, put the key into the lock. Except there is no key, only a button on a very expensive oval transmitter, we call a "key".

G-d is good, somehow the electronic ticket is cashed, somehow I get into the car, which of course, does not start. None of the other doors open, either, and I am afraid to let the driver side, the only door that is open, close. Because what if I get locked in the car? So I wedge a coffee cup between the door and the frame of the car, and it is really, really cold, that air that whistles inside. And the airfares to those people I let go, the ones in warm places, have burst through the atmosphere.

Needless to say, this comedy becomes ridiculous, and you don't need to know but I'll tell you that I lose the key altogether (find it later in a hidden pocket of my parka) and my son rescues me with jumper cables, his. Mine are in my trunk, a place inaccessible when all things electric go funky in a vehicle like this. And the driver of the lone SUV, the one parked in front of me, when I ask him for help, perhaps he could help me jump my car, condescendingly tells me: You just turn it, the key, two times. Turn the key like this (he demonstrates) and then like that. Two times.

Oy vey.

All this crazy car needs, we come to find out, is an electric pulse, a kiss on the cheek, really, not even a jolt. We don't even turn on the ignition on the Rescuemobile and my kid's electrodes send some special message, telepathy, perhaps, but affectionate, that reaches my battery terminals, the positive and negative, and a current, not even a spark, and the dash lights up like Xmas. It never looked so good, my dash, against the night. The door locks work, the car starts with the push of a button, as it should, as other cars, I suddenly begin to feel, never would, never could, not without the sacrificial groan, that ugly rev of the engine, that painful moan of the Rescuemobile. But mine does. What an automobile! What a vehicle! Gotta' love it. Better even, than a bicycle in the rain. Are we ever thankful!


Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. Soup's on.



Syd said...

Hope that you have a great Thanksgiving. Tomorrow's soup is oyster stew here. Glad that the KISS principle worked.

Anonymous said...

I would have blown up my car trying to start it with jumper cables. Instead, I got this neet little funky thing, 'bout the size of a backpack, that I charge up and keep in my trunk (mine opens even if the door doesn't) and it has a little set of cables on it. It also is a minnie compressor that will lift a dead tire up enough to limp to a station on, AND it has a light AND a spot like a cigarrett lighter for those kinds of things (for my cell phone, altho I have onstar). Oh, heck no, I'm not paranoid.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

shaya g said...

wow, that was the longest story I've ever heard just to tell us you needed a jump today. Now I'm exhausted.....

Glad it's all better, Happy Turkey day. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use part of the information from this blog post right above if I give a backlink back to this site?


Kerro said...

Oy vey is right. Sheesh. I'm glad you made it out.

Tuesday@11 said...

A son to the rescue with jumper that's something to be thankful for. May your Thanksgiving be blessed.

Nainja said...

This story made me smile especially the part with the jumper cables in the electrically locked car boot (Murphy's law?), so there is somethings for me now to be thankful for :). We don't have the tradition of Thanksgiving in Europe but it sounds like a good one.
About the bicycle ride- I am a very stubborn cycler and cycle in almost every weather, but in the winter when it's dark and slippery, it's no fun anymore and can be pretty dangerous too. So, you can be thankful for having a car here. :)

Leigh said...

What a good son!

Also, reminded me of the time I was lost in South London at night trying to meet up with friends at the Tate.

I was 27, and for the life of me couldn't find a single person who could give me directions -- scary. Speeding traffic is very unnerving. Ditto asking strangers for help -- esp. when they look at you as if you have 2 heads.

Sandy Cooper said...

"my son rescues me with jumper cables, his. Mine are in my trunk, a place inaccessible when all things electric go funky in a vehicle like this."

That's funny and sad all at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving,

porcini66 said...

So glad you made it out intact! As we drove across the country towards Thanksgiving bounty, I had many a vision of something like this going wrong...funniest was driving through the mountains with literally NO ONE on the roads. It had started to snow, it was getting dark and the road twisted and turned up the mountain with just the occasional ramshackle house leaning against the wind.

We passed one house, tarpaper and all, with a Confederate flag flying on the front porch, rusty cars (and refrigerators...) on the lawn and a big, hand-painted sign that read, "STAY OUT!"


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts