Between Comedy and Tragedy

Dearest Rachel –

It’s been years since I’ve been here at Walker Brothers’ pancake house. I’m pretty sure that the last time we were here (and yes, it was definitely ‘we’ at the time), it was for a similar reason; we had taken my car in to have it looked at. That’s what happens when the place is located right next door to the dealership. I don’t recall if the issue was simple enough for us to just eat breakfast and pick the repaired car up, or if it was complicated enough to require you to come with me in order to have a car to return home in while they worked on it. You would have been able to remember, but that’s not a possibility anymore.

In either case, we had decided to stop here to try something we normally wouldn’t, since we were in the neck of the woods that we didn’t frequent. One thing I think I do remember is that we decided to take home a frozen apple pancake, in order to bake and share it with Twofeathers and your mom.

It’s their specialty here, as you’ll recall. When I came in this morning, I literally ordered it as I sat down, thinking it would take some 40 minutes to prepare. Turns out, my memory had failed me yet again, as this came out before I had finished a single paragraph of this letter to you.

That, and a collection of Cinnabons to distribute to the nurses was probably part of our visit to Macomb in December of either 2017 or 2018, I guess. All of which would have seemed so exotic to the folks downstate; a real treat.

It’s a bit of a treat for me, too, even now, as I still don’t come up here that often. Considering the reason for being here, that’s actually a good thing, from my perspective. And considering what I led the story off with, I’m sure you can figure out why.

To be sure, there’s no good time for one’s ‘check engine’ light to come on. And it was a rough ride back from now restaurant where I picked up dinner for Daniel and Logan yesterday afternoon; rough enough that I was wondering if I could get the car into the shop this morning before I dealt irreparable damage to it. But even on that short trip, it went from riding rough to nearly settling down, and the light stopped flashing, and switched to just displaying steadily. It wasn’t enough for me to simply dismiss the incident, but it was enough to dispel any out-and-out panic. It even cooperated sufficiently such that my trip to VBS and back later that evening was completely uneventful – apart from the fact that the light remained on throughout the trip.

Still, it could’ve been so much worse; consider what might’ve been had this happened when we were down in Tennessee. Not that it would’ve gotten me in trouble with my boss (since the one I have now is a pushover, as I’ve been fond of saying ever since your situation allowed me to retire), but it would have messed up our time down there, having to spend time (and money, but that’s beside the point) in a place we weren’t familiar with or necessarily trusting of. It wouldn’t have been a tragedy per se, but it wouldn’t have been a comedy, either.

And you’re probably wondering where the comedy lies in the story. After all, an engine fault isn’t a good thing, no matter when it happens. Even the fact that I got an email from my monitoring system, explaining what the issue was – apparently, one of my fuel injectors had a momentary fault, causing my number one cylinder to misfire – only serves to confirm that my car had suffered an actual problem that needs to be dealt with. What’s so funny about that?

Well, as the saying goes, the difference between tragedy and comedy is timing. Which, now that I think about it, is more than appropriate, given that the engine fault was literally a matter of timing. But that’s beside the point. When I got to the dealership this morning, and prepared to drop the car off, I decided to take a picture of the dashboard, just to show you what had happened.

You can see that I didn’t bother to buckle myself in, since I had just switched the car off upon arriving at the shop. This was just to take the picture.

What you’ll notice is missing is the check engine light. It had been on throughout my trip to the dealership, but once I arrived, it shut itself off, as if everything was perfectly fine. It was like dealing with a little kid who, once he arrives at the doctors’, tries to act as if he’s not sick or injured, or whatever needs medical attention.

Which turned out to be a good thing, as when I tried to check the car in, I was informed that they were booked solid for the remainder of the week. I could make an appointment for Monday morning (and I did, I might add – it may still be a problem that needs dealing with, after all), but that was the soonest they could squeeze me in. And if the light was off, I should be able to limp through the weekend without any issues. That’s what was so funny about this whole thing.

So I’ve been sitting in the pancake house, killing time that I didn’t need to, trying to fill you in on what’s been going on, despite the fact that not nearly as much has been going on as I expected there to be this morning. It’s not the same as making conversation over breakfast, but it’s pretty much all I’ve got. Now I have to figure out what to do for Daniel, as VBS kind of messes with the weekly schedule of dinner at the folks’, although he could go there on his own.

So, with that in mind, wish me luck, honey; I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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