Friday, May 22, 2009
Life Is What Happens While You're........ Or: I Should Have Just Ordered The Fries.
Because I'd just learned that more surgery's required to fix this ailing leg, I decided to take care of things I've put off, like having snow tires removed, and getting new tags for the car.

On the way to the tire place I realized I was hungry, and remembered a Burger King is close by, and since I'd probably have a wait, could enjoy a burger, and some fries. Then as usual, I did my little"squeeze the cash" mental dance. Perhaps I'd only get fries, lots of fries, for I really like them, and those of you who are Irish will probably understand. There is something about eating potatoes, cooked almost any kind of way that soothes our Irish souls.

But inside the BK it is a noonday madhouse, and I'm so busy dodging people who are in a hurry, and didn't expect to manuever around an unexpected crutch, that I decide what the heck, and blow my entire mental budget by ordering one Whopper Jr, and a regular order of fries, and then for some reason I still don't understand, and wish I hadn't, some onion rings.

I hadn't had onion rings in years, but today was kind of special. I was still getting accustomed to the idea of having more surgery, and anyway the entire order was less than four bucks. The clerk looked a little confused, or mayby she was bewildered, when Iasked her how many rings I would get. She gave me a look like my question would never be answered, so I let it be, and when my order finally came, quickly looked inside the bag and made sure there were three items, and made my way to where I thought there might be some napkins, but couldn't find any, so I left.

At the tire store I got started with the wait, after a nice worker took time to park my car, so I would have to walk less. I found a good spot that wasn't crowded, and pulled out a small book I would enjoy as soon as I ate.

Reaching down into the sack I thought it a little strange that such a little burger was so big. I could see the onion rings, and there seemed to be many, and then I discovered another little burger. But fries? Absolutely none. If it hadn't been so far to walk back over, I would have tried getting the order corrected, but I wasn't about to tackle that, and anyway, the clerk couldn't understand my American English. I tried eating part of the really big whatever it was, and could see it was twice as thick as ordinary burgers, and sure enough, it was chicken, almost oozing in its still cold cheese, even though the 'someone else's order' I got was marked "No Cheese," and the small burger was just as mistreated, trying to get its own breath while drowning in its mound of the goopy yellow stuff.

If I could relive this situation, I would have put everything back in the burger bag, and dump it in the nearest garbage. But as I struggled to make my body comfortable in chairs that leaned too forward, I stuffed an onion ring in my mouth, and immediately realized something had broken. I checked the onion rings again, and they almost felt as hard as the tooth I'd just ruined. That made two teeth that need replacing, but dental work cannot be done until this leg situation is resolved. If tears would have helped, I would have turned them on. But I just sat there, and concentrated on how to place my legs, so I could bear waiting for the tires to be changed.

Eventually it got done, and after having the tire men rearrange the snow tires so I could see through the rear window, I headed to the Dept. of Vehicles, to get the new tags. As I drove, the little red warning light showed again. I was pretty sure it was the rear door, since my driver's side was alright, and the other three doors probably didn't get opened. So I pulled over again, and waited for someone to come by.

With my teeth missing, and my hair needing a good cut, I didn't exactly look like the best desperate housewife. The man looked a little perplexed, but did walk closer. I showed him my crutch, and asked him to close the rear door better, and he did, and I thanked him profusely, then headed to my next stop.

I got as close as I could to the handicapped parking, but two other vehicles were already there, so I took the furtherest spot, and slowly inhaled a few times, before walking again. One of the others getting out of their cars must have said something the first did not lunderstand, or particularly like. Maybe it was just her abupt tone, but the man proceded to tell her what he thought, and she didn't waiver, just kept saying "Come over here so you can see my arm is really gone". She said she lost it in an old war, and that people accuse her all the time of not really needing handicapped parking, because they can't see that an arm is missing. The man explains he's a Vietnam veteran, and by now the two of them are exchanging wartime tales. and I'm not about to miss how they end, because it must be more interesting than knee surgery, or car doors left open, or breaking teeth on onion rings.

She walks faster, and goes through the doors, and the man turns to me and says "What's wrong with your leg?" I tell him it's a partial knee replacement, and he lights up immediately. Leans on his walker as he tells me I need one of those. But I leave that alone. "I'm having a replacement done next week," he says, as he pats one of his knees. "This all began when I got shot long ago, in Vietnam". He wants to know if I think I had a good doctor, but I assume we're just making talk now, so I let that go.

Inside I look over where this man is sitting, and in my mind, I see a young soldier being dragged out of battle, and I wonder how the elderly, outspoken woman lost her arm. But I will never know. I skip from there to now, and decide perhaps my coming surgery isn't as critical as I sometimes want to think. In life, sometimes we brush against another person, and will never know more about them than that. So it's important that we leave them at least a happy moment of ourselves.

Before next week, when I do a consult with the doctor who will do the new surgery, I intend to use these days as wisely as I can, trying on everything hanging in my closet, and donating what doesn't fit. I plan doing the same with rows and rows of books. To read all of them, I would have to live many years. If I can discipline myself, I may deal with some paperwork.

From now on I will not pick up more church activities, or other time stealers. (That thought reminds me of a conversation I had not so long ago with a daughter.) I will only clean and dust when I must, and the next time I am hungry I will get a double order of the fries. While I am getting through this life, it is time to brush into myself.

  posted at 11:23 AM  
  5 comments





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