We were standing in the kitchen, deciding which chips to have with lunch, when I noticed Boo was looking in his pill organizer. You know, the Monday through Sunday plastic medicine container that has A.M. and P.M.?
“Dang, I took my day pills at night again,” he said.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No, I’ve done it before.”
“I don’t know how it could get any clearer, Boo. Monday A.M.”
“I wondered why I couldn’t get to sleep last night, and besides, I’m worried about the car battery. I think it’s on the blitz.”
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. Sometimes the car battery lasts four-and-one-half years and other times, twelve months. Sometimes the air conditioner unit goes out, and sometimes the day pills get taken at night. No matter what happens in life, there is always something out there to steal your peace.
Exactly two months ago I was recuperating from knee surgery, going to physical therapy, and trying to stay positive. Day after day, by mid-afternoon, our house would be a balmy 78- 85 degrees and then it would partially cool off at night. Until it didn’t.
“Babe, I think something is wrong with the air-conditioner.” ( spoken in a stage whisper, because to say it aloud would make it true.)
“Can’t be. It’s not that old,” he said.
“Let’s just call anyway. Maybe it’s something easy.”
At first, it had taken Boo a few days of constant cussing and fuming, sweating, and pacing until he gave in and accepted the fact that we had to get a new AC unit. But, one week and ten thousand dollars later we were shocked at how quietly the air-conditioner purred, as the positively artic air filled the house. We also got a new thermostat to replace the old one Boo had just recently learned to adjust. Sometimes I wonder how Boo was able to graduate college and receive a master’s degree, but maybe that’s the way it is with the highly intelligent.
A few days ago, I woke up and the house was 85 degrees again. I went in to start the coffee and there was a note from Boo: “This house is sooo hot. Something is wrong with new AC; I pushed a bunch of buttons, but nothing helped.”
I padded into the hallway and moved the thermostat to 74 degrees. Then pushed the hold button. ‘Permanent hold’ not ‘temporary hold.’ The house was all cooled down by the time he got up.
“Why do you insist on pushing buttons willy-nilly and then complain something doesn’t work?” I said.
“There’s a 50% chance it might help.”
“Speaking of 50%, what makes you think your car battery is going out?”
As we all know, car batteries have a life expectancy. The likelihood of having to replace the car battery is extremely high during the time you’re in possession of a car.
The battery issue will sometimes begin subtly with a slow, gurgly engine start. Or perhaps the little battery sign lights up with the sputtery start, but generally, there is a small window of warning before your battery just conks out.
“It took a while to start, but the battery light didn’t come on. It’s been happening for a few days now, but the battery light should come on,” said Boo.
“Battery light or not, I think you should take it in any way and ask someone about it.”
Tomorrow came. The car would not start, and Boo had to jump off his car using the cables on our old truck. Boo made it to an auto parts store that advertised free installation and was home by 1:00 with his lunch, Jersey Mike’s #2, Mike’s Way.
“How did it go?” I asked.
“I’m glad. How much was the battery?”
“I got the best battery they had, that’s what Darryl said. It was $212, not like the old days when you could get a new battery for $50. The world is really changing. That’s what Darryl always says.”
“Darryl works at the auto parts store. He worked for twenty-five years at the local newspaper and then when he retired he went to the auto parts store. He’s worked there for three years now. He lives close to us in a four-bedroom house off Brodie Lane, but I think he’s divorced. He never mentioned a wife. Darryl loves to cook and grills out three nights a week. He’s quite a guy.”
If I know Boo, and I do, he loves to ask people about their lives. He can ask twenty-one questions in ten minutes flat, and people love to tell him their stories. Boo should have stopped asking questions much sooner than he did because he proceeded to tell me more about Darryl.
“Get this.. Darryl is Mexican American, but he said he might not stay at the auto store because they’re hiring too many Mexicans. And they even hired two lesbians. Darryl said he was just a regular guy and that he’d never met a lesbian before.”
“Babe, what did you say?”
“I didn’t know what to say. I mean part of me wanted to say, ‘I like lesbians, Darryl.’
But I wasn’t sure how that would sound either. What could I say? I couldn’t leave until he finished the battery.”
“So?” I asked.
“So, I just mumbled uh huh, and hmmmm.”
“Why do people tell me these things?”
“Maybe you ask too many questions?”
“Maybe, but you have to admit, Darryl is a complex individual.”
“Darryl is some kind of guy, that’s for sure.”
In life, and especially with Boo, there are always people, places, and things that disrupt the steady, peaceful flow of living. We try to stay Zen, yet there is a car battery, air-conditioner, or pill box just waiting to take us out. There are many people in this world who have differing opinions and values and as long as Boo is on the planet, he’ll continue to ask questions and love hearing the answers.