Another Day in Paradise?

I have an event coming up this weekend for which I’m responsible. In preparation, I’ve arranged to rent some tables and tablecloths from a local business. It’s also my responsibility to pick up these items, and therein lies the problem.

Since the tables are rather large, I needed a truck to get them. Unfortunately, the only truck available to me was made three decades ago. It’s a Ford F-150, 5-speed, with only 11,200 original miles on it. However, it still runs as if it were made three decades ago.  The glove box cover is fastened in place with a piece of wire. The vinyl seat is hopelessly torn. The air conditioner hasn’t worked in years. The lights are controlled by a pull switch on the dashboard with a foot button to change to high beams. The windshield wiper has one speed. It is also controlled by a knob on the dashboard, albeit one that does not work. The only way to turn on the windshield wiper is to use a pair of pliers to turn the knob.

Since this is work for me, I always dress in a business-like manner. Today I was wearing a skirt as I climbed up into Big Blue. Climbing into a truck while wearing a skirt is always an adventure, but climbing into one and sitting on a torn vinyl seat takes “adventure” to the next level. When climbing, your skirt rides up to very inappropriate locations. Yet, since I quickly adhered to what is left of the vinyl seat, I could do little to remedy the location of my skirt.

I only stalled the engine three times while trying to back out of the driveway. When I made it to the end of the driveway, I noticed that the sky was dark. I wasn’t concerned though. Pop-up thunderstorms are common this time of year and rarely last very long. Wish I would have re-thought that. I pulled out of the driveway and headed to town.

I was waiting at a traffic light when I saw the lightning. At the next light, the rain started falling. So I grabbed the pliers and turned on the windshield wipers. I really needed more than one speed. While waiting at the next light, I took a quick glance at the weather app on my phone. That’s when I learned that it would be raining for at least a few hours, long after the rental company closed. With another bolt of lightning, I turned the truck around and headed for home. I really didn’t want to load tables in a lightning storm.

On the way home, I had to brake for a light. That’s when the pliers slipped off my very high skirt and onto the floor. I would have left them there, but the rain was intermittent at this point and, with no delay setting, I had to turn the wipers off and on occasionally. So I put the truck in neutral, reached down to find the pliers, and pulled them back up just as the light was turning green. Foot on clutch, shifted to first gear, and the truck stalled again. It was like watching a comedy of errors.

The next light was at the top of an incline, so I began praying that the light would be green. It was! I really didn’t want to stall the engine again at the top of a hill.

I finally made it back home. I lost count of the times the engine stalled after eight. Maybe it’s just one of those vehicles that “knows their owner” and will only respond to their touch. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to turn on the windshield wipers with a pair of pliers while traveling at 55 miles per hour? It is especially difficult when the handle slips to an open position and they don’t close the entire way, but you don’t know that because you’re watching the road go past at 55 miles per hour.

I’ll have to try again tomorrow since I still have to pick up the tables and tablecloths. I won’t be wearing a skirt this time. The rain has subsided for a few hours, so I’ll have no need for the pliers. Now I just have to keep the engine revved up enough to not stall so frequently.

~Temerity Dowell

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