Let’s Try This Again…

Dearest Rachel –

I’m fully aware of the fact that most of the things that are happening to me these days that I keep informing you of are fairly little things, when looked at dispassionately. A swollen thumb is as nothing compared to the loss of a limb, say, or (more to the point) the loss of a spouse. But life is rarely made up of Big Things; most of the time, it’s just one little thing after another. And it’s the cumulative collection of those little things that tend to do people in. Mostly, because we don’t see any of them by themselves as likely to cause us to reach our breaking point. The camel will not allow King Farouk to mount him, with his 400 pounds of long-overindulged fat – but what’s one more straw, after all? He can deal with that – until he can’t.

All of this is not to say that I’m anywhere near my last straw. Far from it. I’ve proven that I can carry the king by being able to deal with your departure, so I consider the little things to be that much less consequential. But the things I deal with from day to day are those kind of inconsequential things, and I don’t want to seem as though I dwell on them overmuch, even if they’re all I have to talk about today. That is, ultimately, the point; they are what is happening today, and small or great, I feel the need to keep you informed. It’s up to you to determine whether these are important or interesting enough for your attention. Hopefully, I can make them so, but I also understand that everybody deals with their own little things, so they may not be interested in mine.

It’s the result of all of us having our own individual perspectives. Those things that are right in front of us seem so much bigger than the big things that are way off in the distance – or in somebody else’s territory entirely, and will never touch us directly. They’re of no concern of ours (or at least, not yet), and so they mean nothing to us (at least, for the moment). But whatever we have to face today, ah, there’s the mountain we have to climb – even if, upon reflection, it’s little more than a slight incline. We can still feel the push of gravity against us as we make our way uphill, and sometimes, we have to talk about it, lest the frustration – warranted or no – should drive us mad.

So it is with me today. I’m not going in to the ‘office’ – and that works out well for the folks, as my cousin Brian is taking them up to the camp to have a look around for the first time since the church acquired the place. Dad was a camper there, back in the ’50s, but I’d be the first to mention that a lot has changed since he was last up there.

Instead, today turns out to be a follow up from last Thursday; which is somewhat ironic, considering that the ‘check engine’ light hasn’t gone on once since I went to take that picture of it for the last letter I sent you about this issue. Still, I’ve made the appointment, and the car could stand being looked at a little bit, regardless. So here I am at the dealership.

Like you, I’ve never really been much for the dealership, when it comes to getting my car serviced. I’m not sure if it’s out of penuriousness – it’s certainly not because I don’t trust them – but they aren’t my first ‘go-to’ when I have a problem, or even for routine maintenance. For all the admiration you’ve known me to send towards my dad, this is one point upon which he and I differ. It’s probably follows from the fact that he’s a Ford guy and I’m… not. It’s not that I have anything against the carmaker, but I can be satisfied with whatever used car I can get my hands on her a reasonable price. It just so happens at the last four cars I’ve owned have been purchased from dad when he’s been ready to swap out, and therefore, Fords. It’s not out of a matter of my own personal preference (although, if I was forced to acknowledge it, I can’t say that I have a personal preference).

Anyway, as I began this letter, I have to acknowledge that this is something of a nuisance trip. It’s a little thing, but it changes the day completely, for better or worse. It’s certainly a change of scenery, and it’s a lovely day outside to walk across the street to the local shopping mall (not that I have any shopping to do), but it’s not something I’d planned to do this morning, had I been asked at this time last week. Then again, if you had asked me last week what I would be doing today, I would probably simply shrug and say that I assumed I would be in the ‘office,’ just like I am most weekdays.

Of course, at this hour of the morning, there isn’t that much to shop for. Nearly everything is closed until ten – or even eleven – except for places like the 24-hour gym that hold absolutely no appeal for me. There is a hair salon here, and I do need a haircut, but when the first thing I see when I poke my head inside is a lady getting a pedicure, I conclude this isn’t the place for me. Then again, my last haircut was at a fancy salon, so…

When I step inside again, after another circuit around the shopping center to think things over (and after a phone call that I expect to be the dealership, telling me my car’s ready, but ends up to be a volunteer reminding me to vote tomorrow, and singing the praise of a candidate I hadn’t planned on voting for, but didn’t have a real reason not to, either. She may have earned her keep with the campaign), the proprietor tells me “I can take you right now,” despite the fact that she appears to be busy with another gentleman. Turns out, her accent is such that I can’t tell the difference between her ‘can’ and ‘can’t,’ which is a problem when literal opposites sound the same. Anyway, I’m not sticking around until a quarter to one, when she’s free.

Especially since, after making my way back to the dealership, it isn’t long before my name is called. They did perform the oil and filter change, and while they never could find out what happened to cause the fuel injector to malfunction and the cylinder to misfire, they found a whole host of other things for me to have them look into; not now, necessarily, but real soon, they tell me.

You know how I started this letter by talking about the little things, and how they build up? Yeah, that’s what this feels like; that, or I’m being upsold here. Not only that, but the alignment issues (which the fellow working on my case insisted would be the first thing I should address) seem to run counter to the fact that I just replaced the steering frame entirely. Granted, it was aftermarket, but still… this is why I’m not fond of going to the dealership for repairs.

Well, that’s all for this morning. Maybe there’ll be other stuff to report this evening.

Until then, keep an eye out for us, and wish us luck; we’ll need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

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

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