All Aboard!

Married people tend to play their parts. She does her thing, I do mine. It is comforting to know what is coming next, because you can trust your partner to do what they’ve always done, until the day when they don’t and things run off the track, just a tad, and the train’s next stop could be Crazy Town. Or worse. Let me explain…

The Mrs loves her new wheels. It’s bigger, nicer and newer. She mentioned that you could put, maybe 4 bales of hay in the back. We use hay as a ruler on how useful a vehicle can be. The old car could only do 2 bales of hay.

Since all these new fangled SUVs come with a key that has a large top part that locks/unlocks the doors and other sundry attributes, they end up being a pain to put in your pocket, bulging in all the wrong places, making people want to ask if you’re happy to see them, but you can’t do that any more, and this is why we can’t have anything nice.

Where was I? Oh yah, keys. The new car has a key that I just won’t do. The top is huge and built so you can’t just causally go down to the hardware store, whistle up the key man and ask for a more discrete key that will start the car, and not have people look at you funny when it’s in your pocket. No, you have to go to the dealer, and what the parts guy at the dealership told me is, they have to reprogram the computer to recognize the new slim key. The key has a chip in it or maybe a chip on it’s shoulder, and a slim duplicate will only open the doors, not start the car. I looked at the car dude, squinted a bit, and looked some more. He started to squirm a little, and I summed up the whole deal for him. “So, you’re telling me the key that comes with the vehicle is frivolous and likes to hang drapes and that type of thing, and to get a key that will just do its job without complaining, a straight key, no bells, no other stylish embellishments, you have to program the computer to tell it you got a straight dude driving the car, not some…” I lifted my hand in a “Dude you have to be kidding me” sort of way, and let it hang a moment, my left eye squinting a bit more, and several mechanics that had wandered up as I started this rodeo were starting to giggle. “So how much is this change in the computer’s “preference”, and a key that doesn’t bulge my pocket the wrong way, going to cost me?” “Um, ahh, $65 sir.” He was trying real hard to look concerned and not lose it. “OK then, I will start a savings plan and look forward to that happy day” I said, turned and headed for the door. The car salesman standing in the show room had not heard the exchange, and asked me if they were able to help? I told him they were all smiling when I left, he grinned and went back to his coffee.

When we got out the door, the Mrs gave me one of those side eye looks, the kind you see in a horse when you’re about to get kicked, she’s not a kicker or a biter, so she just unlocked the door with her “fabulous key” and we were on our way. That’s her part, unlocking and locking the door. I just drive and give running commentary on what I see,  she locks/unlocks the door and navigates a little.

Until that happy day, when I have saved enough to have the car’s computer “fixed”, I’ll ask her for one of “those” keys and we do our normal thing. We had to run up to Wichita, to have my shoulder Dr. confirm that I can safely be a hunchback for the short term, and if I find the thespian way of life and bit part horror roles is not the thing for me, can get the corrective surgery to be normal again. It took an hour to drive there, he looked at the MRI images for maybe 5 minutes, said what he had to say and we were out the door. As we got to our vehicle, I noticed it was still locked. Strange, she usually does this, so I used the borrowed driving key that I can’t get in my pocket and clicked the unlock button and got it. The Mrs is still standing on her side of the door, saying “I can’t get in.” I am still expecting her to open the door, per her usual part. She continued to stand by the door, looking a bit peeved, telling me she is still locked out.

Our train is now not on its usual tracks, as I look around in the new car, at all the buttons, with inscrutable symbols on them, not knowing what does what. Finally cutting through the mental red tape, I take the borrowed key out of the ignition and hit the unlock button twice. This finally lets her in. We look at each other, her perturbed, me confidently confused. “What’s the deal” I asked, “you always unlock the doors?”. She counters with female logic, “but this time I didn’t.” “Huh?” I queried. “What do you mean, this time you didn’t?” “I just didn’t” she stated. “So, does this mean everything is different now?, If you change this, what else is going to change? Or are you just going to go all random from now on?? She looked at me like I was talking crazy, a common look she gives me, and said, “maybe, I don’t know.” I told her she was tampering with things unknown, and consequences could be had. She waved her hand at me and “Pffft.” I just shook my head and drove home.

We quite often have a spot of tea in the morning. Neither one of us is English enough to make that mean anything, I just like a little Earl Grey and she does a fruit/berry thing. The deal is, she usually does this, gets the water on the boil and so on. Since we’ve entered this new surreal land, I got up and started the process.

When my son Chuckles was a wee lad, we used to watch a cartoon where “See You Later, Estimator” was used quite often. The guy on TV was teaching how to estimate things. Our family uses it all the time, especially when we get the tea water exactly right. So, my ticket to ensure I win, is to count to 10 when I pour the water into the tea kettle, for every 12 oz cup of tea. Yah, these are big cups. I can usually nail it, not have to pour any water out, and proclaim “See you later, estimator” as I deliver the tea. The Mrs uses the water ring on the kettle for measuring.  Whatever that means. She wins a lot too, not sure how. But the deal is, she usually does the morning tea thing, not me.

Lately, I’ve been spicing it up a bit, by counting in German up to 10. Pronouncing all those consonants gives me the right amount of water for one cup. Today, living in the bearded Spock universe, I tried to wing it, by giving the German 10 count twice, and totally muffed. My tongue could not do all that Kraut. As a result, I had a somewhat reduced amount of tea water and to add insult to injury, I poured some of it on the counter, half of it according to my wife, when I poured up the cups. When she got hers, she exclaimed she only had half a cup of tea. I looked her in the eye, and calmly asked her if she really thought things were going to be same/normal after what happened yesterday?

Yup, she shook her head and gave me that look. Me, I knew it was coming.

She’s been seeing the Chiropractor for a muscle strain problem. Today she had planned to go to town to do some shopping, and was rubbing her back on the chair because the damp weather was bothering it. Our Chiropractor is in the town where we work, she was planning to shop in the town we live closest to. She likes shopping in the town where we work, the people are nicer, she says.

All of this is running through my mind and suddenly, the ole brain spit out a solution, I think my head might have jerked back a bit when it hit me, I might need to oil the gearing. Before me, was one well tossed stone, streaking forward, seeking out many birds, and terminating them, righting all wrong, putting the train back on the tracks to Normalville. I blurted out, “I’ve got it! You’re going shopping, you need to see the Chiropractor, go to Work Town and get both things done, be happy, get happy, come home happy!” About half way though this, she had started to frown and put up mental roadblocks. I could see orange cones in her eyes. “No way, I am not going to Work Town to shop.” “Why not?, I exclaimed. “you like shopping there better, get your pains fixed, no extra hassle. The birds are just waiting to be knocked down.”

I reminded her of yesterday’s cause and today’s effect, and this would mend all that. It’s as if I was speaking in my native tongue, gibberish, she didn’t even hear me. “No, I’m not doing that.” Total orange cones. I put my hand up and said “Hang on now, you are getting tangled up in that yarn you women like to play with, and I am stomping all around the outside of the box that I don’t think in. This is an elegant solution, and you’re trying to put a Detour sign on it, because it is logical.” To late, I could see the excavator tearing up the road, birds flying away, laughing at me. Feelings over logic is just no way to run a railroad.

As she was ready to go to town, it had started to rain. Our front gate was closed, and so she would not melt in the rain, I did the logical thing, and trudged down the driveway, in the rain, and opened the gate for her. She breezed by with a wave, in the new car, splashing me a little as she drove past, to go shopping in a town she does not like. Me, I am going to be oiling the train, cause I am pretty sure the next stop in going to be Looney Town.