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3:00 am EDT 74°F (23°C) in Dearborn, MI
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OK, I said I would be back in a few days, and here we are now with 10 days gone by. It’s time to catch up on some shit.
Last week, my friend Marc was in an auto accident. Save a few scrapes on his left arm (from the airbag), he’s fine, thankfully; but the same cannot be said for his (now-former) red 1996 Ford Probe SE. Some woman failed to stop in the median before completing her left turn, with Marc going the other way on the four-lane divided street, and with less than 100’ (about 30 m) to react, he couldn’t do much except broadside her Honda. With an estimated $5,000 in damage, including some of the necessary running parts in the front end (radiator, A/C condenser, etc.), the car, which at best was probably only worth two-thirds that, is effectively totaled. Fortunately, he has already taken over another 1996 Probe, this one an automatic-transmission GT (GTs have V-6 engines instead of four-bangers), for free (technically, for the cost of fixing its transmission troubles) from his father. He’ll just have to be jealous of my car’s stick-shift now.
This past Wednesday, I went with my sister and two of her friends to catch the new film version of The Da Vinci Code. Having read Dan Brown’s best-selling book, I have to say a couple of things about the film that may seem contradictory — I can’t complain much about the film, but I was also just slightly disappointed in it. The film is so faithful to the book that it really lacks any sort of cinematic originality — I guess that’s a good thing if you really loved the book, but a bad thing if you like to see filmmakers take a few creative liberties and really put their stamp on the work. They left out at least a few large parts of the book, most of them long segments of explanatory chapters (such as the set of chapters where Brown explained pagan and feminine symbologies in early Christianity), but with an advertised running time of two hours and 34 minutes, that was probably a wise choice. (The actual running time from the first frame to the roll of the credits was a little more like 2:20.)
Thursday, I headed out to Ann Arbor for what I thought was going to be an appointment with my psychiatrist. As has happened at least a couple times before, though, the clinic staff fucked up the scheduling, and I found out a mere 15 minutes before the scheduled time that they had to cancel on me. What that ended up meaning was that Marc thoroughly kicked my ass in two games of bowling before we eventually met up at the collision shop to which his now-gone Probe was towed. We fought with his license plate for over an hour before finally managing to separate it from the (undamaged) rear end of the car — basically, using my pocket knife, he had to pull the whole screw bracket right through the sheet metal, because the cheap plastic screw head stripped almost the instant I put a screwdriver to it. After that, it was off to the Olive Garden for dinner, and then back home.
On Friday, my mother took me to rent a 2006 Ford F-150 that would be used to complete my sister’s move to Milwaukee. We took it as far west as Jackson, MI, to attend my cousin’s high school graduation Friday evening, and after a night in the Motel 6 and another hour Saturday morning at my aunt’s house, I left my mother there and took off for Illinois. Including a couple stops, it took me four hours to get out to my sister’s boyfriend’s house in the southwest suburbs of Chicago; with his mother’s help, I packed most of the large items in the F-150 and then had to wait on them to come back down from Wisconsin. They were so tired upon their return that we decided to say ‘fuck it’ and wait until Sunday to take off; in the meantime, I bought a tarp and some bungee cords to cover and tie down the load in the truck, and later that evening, I took them to the IKEA store in nearby Bolingbrook so she could buy $200 worth of furniture and housewares. Sunday afternoon, my sister and I made the trip up; we unloaded the truck and most of the stuff in her newly-leased 2006 Jeep Liberty and ran a few errands in Milwaukee before I set out for home at 9:00 pm EDT.
(I have a few parenthetical notes related to the move. First, this memo goes to all the FUCKING MORONIC IDIOTS with Michigan plates on their vehicles: KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS, AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY IF YOU’RE NOT PASSING. It’s a simple request, especially if the right lane is clear for at least a couple hundred feet and somebody’s just blocking the left lane at 68 mph (109 km/h) for the hell of it. Once Interstate 94 went to three westbound lanes after the Interstate 196 interchange, people were literally avoiding the right lane as if it was the plague — so I just used the right lane to blow past everybody in the left and middle lanes at 80 mph (129 km/h). Also, for numerous reasons, the 2006 F-150 sucks — the four-speed automatic transmission is constantly hunting for a gear with even the slightest undulations in the road and doesn’t let the engine use its optimal power band during accelerations at freeway speeds, and my little Saturn gets double the shitty 16 MPG (14.7 L/100 km) highway fuel economy I got from the truck.)
I finally got back home at 5:15 am EDT Monday, after 5½ hours of driving and two hours and 45 minutes worth of stops — two hours of which was a nap in the truck in an I-94 rest area, because I was starting to nod off. Thankfully, this time, I was able to keep up 80 mph (129 km/h) once I was back into Indiana and sufficiently out of Chicagoland; it was nice to be out there after midnight, and rid of all the morons on the road. I didn’t do a whole lot yesterday, except participate in the extended-family get-together we had here for Memorial Day. Later today, I’m back out to Ann Arbor with a rescheduled appointment, and then on one of the remaining three days of the week, I have to head down to Columbus, OH, to take another shot at a D.O.T. physical exam.
Good night for now …