When Life HappensAugust 29, 2007
I have a story to tell today that has nothing to do with painting, but it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.
I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning in the Valley–a good half hour freeway ride away. As I was walking out the door, my 17 year old son, who had just awakened, walked into the room and when I told him I was leaving, he whined that he wanted to borrow my car for the day. This meant switching cars with him. he has a souped up 5 speed Mitsubishi Eclipse. He rebuilt the engine himself, and last week replaced the brakes painting them bright red because I guess that’s cool. His car is not comfortable to drive with three passengers all the way to the beach in Malibu, plus, he has carpal tunnel in both his hands (surgery is scheduled for tomorrow), and his car aggravates his hands–it being a souped up five speed and all.
I groaned audibly and told him no. Any other day, but I had to drive to the Valley, and they would have to make do. He gave me a puppydog look. I groaned again and thought about it. It was their last day before school started. ”Do you have gas?”, I asked him. Sheepishly–”Maybe a quarter of a tank”. NO. No way. I did not have time to stop for gas. NO. Another puppydog look. I told him I would go look at the gas gauge and evaluate whether or not I could make it. NOT. No way. He argued that the car was on a slant in the driveway, and it made the gauge inaccurate. NO, I told him and started heading toward my car. I looked back, and it did me in AGAIN. OH GIVE ME THE DAMN KEYS, I told him. I got in his car, and off I went, loudly, in a souped up kind of way.
I made it to the doctor’s appointment, and was barreling down the freeway on the way back when suddenly it sounded like a rock hit the bottom of the car. Then another bigger rock. Loud noises. Next I heard what sounded like the noise you hear when you are coming up an off ramp to a stop sign, and the road has a set of textures on it to warn you to slow down. A great rubbing sound. The rubbing soon turned to grinding, and I began realizing something was terribly wrong. I began moving to the right through the lanes of traffic. The sound got worse and worse, and luckily I was close to an off ramp and was able to exit. Before I knew it, the tires seized up, and I had no control over the brakes, but the car was coming to a grinding halt all by itself. The sound was now constant and deafening. I was yelling OH MY GOD, but I couldn’t even hear myself yelling. I could not, for the life of me, imagine what could make such a tremendous noise. I imagined the brand new engine dragging the ground underneath the car.
I was shaking like a leaf when I called my husband. From my description, he knew right away that it had to be the new brakes Dylan had installed. Sure enough, the front right brake had mangled the hub cap and was broken probably as a result of the bolts not being properly tightened. We called Dylan and told him about it. He felt terrible. My husband felt terrible. They had worked on the brakes together, and are very competent mechanically, but something went terribly wrong and could have caused a dire situation. We called a towing service.
As I was standing there watching the car get towed, thinking about what a rotten day it was shaping up to be, and feeling rather sorry for myself for experiencing such a trauma, another thought dawned on me that turned my mood on a dime. I realized how close I had come to making Dylan drive his own car with his three friends that day through the winding mountain pass on their way to the beach. And the waterworks did flow. I am not a religious person, but I was sure counting by blessings after that.
Maybe there’s a painting to come from this story. Okay that was a lame attempt to make this post about painting in someway.