Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Fallen From Their Hands

A year ago on Thanksgiving, my sister Daria and her husband Tyler gave me a car. It is an okay car to which we didn't glue macaroni in that I step on the gas and it goes VROOM! I don't think much about it. When I went to my cousin Monday's wedding in Maryland, the catsitter changed the time on the dashboard. I still don't know how to change it back but other than that, it's a car. Since I started walking everywhere in July, I think, I've filled the tank three times. Five or six weeks ago, a tire went flat. My mechanic fixed it and didn't charge me. Then came yesterday, and the utterly boring magic words I long not to hear.

Time got away from me yesterday morning, so I drove to work. The handling felt funny and grating so I shut off the jarring morning radio for a good listen. I knew. That tire was flat again. So I fwappity-fwappity-fwapped to work, and at lunchtime, drove it over to the mechanic again.

Yes. I know. He lectured me, so you don't have to: don't drive on a flat. The pump I carry around with me wouldn't inflate the tire, and calling AAA is a big waste of time unless you have lots of time to waste. So. Let's just all get over it. I drove to the mechanic without inhaling. And he lectured me. So you don't have to. Then he and the boys at the garage fixed the tire and made jokes about me using that wheel like blind pedestrians use canes: to feel the curb. I didn't argue. I laughed. The mechanic is very good to me. Then, to cover bases, he and I went over use of the mechanical pump, and he used it exactly as I had. Finally, he said the magic words.

Mechanic: There's nothing wrong with your tire, again. Not to scare you or anything, but is someone vindictive really mad at you?

Crap. What a bore. Not to scare you or anything, but please don't worry. This is merely annoying. Back at my desk, there are questions.

Siobhan: Do you think this is happening at work or at home?
Tata: I've been walking. I seldom drive.
Siobhan: Someone where you live hates you enough to flatten your tire in a public place. That is exciting.

What we do not say is that this happened in 1995 and 1996, when I replaced five tires in the space of one winter because one of my ex-boyfriends went tequila-soaked supernova. He was positively diabolical, as engineers suffering psychotic breaks tend to be. Once, I found my passenger door unlocked. The only thing missing from the car was my insurance card, which would have been a knee-slapping good prank with expensive consequences if I'd gotten stopped by the police. And speaking of, the local police played Perpetrator Twenty Questions with me.

Them: So, you don't want to tell us his name?
Tata: I can't prove anything I'm saying.
Them: What block do you live on?
Tata: Fourth, between X and Y.
Them: Where does he live?
Tata: First, between Z and A.
Them: Is he... smaller than a breadbox?
Tata: He's breadbox-size.
Them: Is it...Tommy G.?
Tata: No! Go fish!
Them: What? Is it...Benny R.?
Tata: Are you saying that in a town so small I could spit from one end to the other you have a handful of men you know are stalking women?
Them: We might, rabbit, we might.

Oh, Jesus Christ. Years ago, a celebrity friend and I were driving with two friends to Allen Ginsberg's funeral.

He: The stalker made life really difficult. She showed up anywhere I went.
Tata: I had one of those. He made it hard for me to show up anywhere I wanted to go.
Friend: I feel left out! I'm stalkable! I am!

She was, too. A boyfriend shot himself when she left him, proving that obsession, perfect hair and firearms don't mix. As for my old nemesis, he doesn't scare me. That guy quit bothering me when he and my former housemate and firmly former friend got married. Either those two divorced and he's got time on his hands or someone else has decided I'm a little too happy. But we should keep in mind the mechanic was speculating.


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