Ten minutes after I successfully finished fixing the van, I got news that my Mom had been in a car wreck. If I had high blood pressure, the wave of feelings that overcame me at that moment almost certainly would have killed me.
Backing up a bit, I didn’t start the belt system repair until well into the afternoon after a night of very little sleep. It took about six hours in the heat. Between parts I bought at Harbor Freight and Autozone, I was able to replace both belts and attendant hardware. I kept the old pieces as spares, which means next time something *else* will break. A big thanks to the hardworking employees of the Treadaway Autozone, most of whom I’m happy to report are female. I’ve seen this stereotype-bucking trend at Autozones in Austin, too, and it makes me happy. They were very helpful, funny, and patient with what probably looked like a homeless guy crashing his broken van at their place of business for several days!
I’ll be glad not to be digging around in these things for several days, especially at the same time!
I had seen a call from my Mom come in around 9:20 PM, but I was rushing to get everything finished before AZ closed at 10 PM, so I didn’t answer it immediatly. I figured she was calling for a status report. Once I finally got everything cleaned up and back into the van and was starting to dial into the epic win of finishing this huge project under impossible circumstances, I got the message. She had been hit in her brand new Subaru Legacy and spun around 360 degrees. She’d been checked over in the emergency room and nothing seemed explicitly broken, but she’s already got a lot of physical problems and was pretty bruised up. She’s also dependent on her car to live, and it wasn’t going to be available anytime soon. After working to calm down a bit I called her back and confirmed that she was ok in-the-moment. She was home from the emergency room with painkillers. She would probably need help soon, but wasn’t in immediate danger. I was relieved she hadn’t been killed or maimed.
I’ve tried to make this trip to Portland every year since 2012. Last year my Mom fell and broke her dominant arm the day I was going to leave and I spent the summer taking care of her. In several previous years various combinations of problems with the van and parental health emergencies have clustered *right* around departure time pretty much *ever single time* I’ve tried to leave. I’ve made it out two other times, but never in a situation where I was able to fully relax and enjoy myself. And, frankly, I’m fucking sick of it. I’ve been to Burning Man seven times, and never *once* has it been even 1/5 as difficult as a single cross-country trip to Portland. I’m sometimes willing to allow my behavior to be steered by the idea that The Universe is Trying to Tell me something. But once it passes a certain threshold, all I’m going to do is double down, consequences be damned. There’s some statistically irrelevant possibility that this is somehow just some crazy conspiracy of coincidence and poor choices. But the pattern is too clear at this point for me to be able to defend any rational materialist explanation. I feel like my parents health is being put at risk to intimidate me into compliance. I say all this fully understanding, but not caring, how crazy it sounds. I will not be pushed around or defeated by whatever is trying to stop me. There may be times in my life where I will be taught humility, but this will not be one of them. Fuck you and your interference in my life. I’m not just defying you, I’m calling you out. Do your worst. You will fail. If necessary, I will fly the fuck up there and drive Junior through your Pearly Gates, over your Cerebrus Guardians, or between the whirling blades of Kali to End You. If you value your continued existence and whatever other part of creation depends on it, you had better back the fuck off. I have better things to do with my time than deicide, but I am out of both patience and humility.
You have been warned.
Ehem. Where was I..?
Having gotten that out of my system, I can report having written it after a decent night’s sleep at a highly sketchy tweaker-filled Super8. You can imagine how angry I was *yesterday*. 🙂 The night manager told me he had to physically punch a drunk, rowdy guest to get him to stay in bed and sleep it off. I was tired enough to sleep through all that. I’m deeply grateful the drunk guy didn’t try to fuck with me first. I would probably be in jail or dead.
I called Mom and she’s working her way through the insurance maze. I was able to communicate some of my feelings about the whole situation without being colossal asshole, and I agreed to come back to Hurst to get her back on her feet. She’s one of the most determined people I’ve ever met, she works so hard, and she deserves better than she’s been getting in the past few years.
I’m writing this from Mezamiz Deux Coffee House, the second progressive chill space I’ve found in Abilene. It’s sad that I only discovered it on the way out, but it’s good to know it’s here.
This porch might be a great place to chill when I get back in September!