Changing Lanes: Contracting a family member’s pet peeve
His methods for choosing women were a mystery to Emmy and me. His reasons for breaking up with women who were well-suited to him were unfathomable to us.
Donna was one such woman. She lived in a local, suburban southtown. She and Dick enjoyed each other’s company on half a dozen dates and he seemed very interested in her. Alas, all things must come to an end.
She committed such a heinous crime that he walked out without a single word of explanation.
Jack-of-all-trades would best describe most of the people in my family. Other words have been used to label my family, but some things should not be printed.
Dick ran a restaurant, but thought of himself as a mechanic. He was a pretty good one, at one time, before computers became ubiquitous on cars. Electronics and on-board computers were his downfall.
He took the term “grease monkey” to heart and felt that little actual honest work went on in a shop that was too tidy or too clean. In his mind, a really good, working garage was one where the tools showed signs of dirt and wear. The floor had to have a well-ground-in veneer of oily grease, lightly sprinkled with sawdust or an absorbent to keep it from being slippery.
Dick and Donna met at restaurants or movie theaters for dates before one fateful day on which he was to pick her up at her home. He knew she was divorced and her husband had left without taking so much as a change of clothes.
Donna’s house was easier to find than Dick presumed. He arrived 15 minutes early. She was in her garage on her hands and knees, committing the afore-mentioned offense. She had just washed her concrete garage floor and was finishing off the nicely-painted surface with a gleaming coat of wax.
Donna told him she had just finished up, would change clothes and be back out in a moment. She was probably proud of the lustrous workshop floor. Dick said nothing. I imagine he stood, mouth agape, taking in the glossy floor and all the shiny, unused tools on the walls. Dick felt trapped and misled. He was sad that the nicely-equipped garage was being used for only show - a tragic waste.
He left and never called Donna again. I always wondered what that poor woman thought when she came out and Dick was gone. To this day, she doesn’t know she dodged a bullet.
Fast forward a couple of decades to last week. Emmy and I have been in the process of adding a garage to our home. We just acquired a nice, new concrete floor and are busy moving stuff into the space that is already getting too small. I am ecstatic about the new garage and maybe a bit more protective of it than I should be.
Our grandkids were coming for a visit; we hadn’t seen them for months and were awaiting their arrival. Early in the week, Emmy mentioned that it would be great if the kids could do chalk drawings on the new floor. I was happy to have something for the 6- and 8-year-olds to do inside, out of the rain.
I cleaned up my fresh, new concrete floor so the kids could play without getting dirty. Emmy came home through the rain a few hours before our grandkids were to arrive and pulled her car, complete with mud and gravel on the tires, into the garage.
When she walked in the door, I said, “I just mopped that floor. Why did you drive your car over it?”
That’s when we felt a rumble far below. I think it was my brother rolling over in his grave.