Every morning I wake up, wash my face and walk out the door and drive to the bagel shop one town over. Every morning for the last 6 years. Every morning. Notice I said “wash my face”…I did not say, take a shower and get dressed, do my hair, put on some make up. I just wash my face (and brush my teeth…didn’t think I needed to include that). I stay in my PJ’s. The bagel shop people love me so they don’t care. And on the rare occasion that I actually have somewhere important to go in the morning and I do get dressed, they are always so impressed and complimentary! I work after school hours so that is when I shower and dress, before work.
Today, I had to drop Emma off to the groomers’ for her tri-annual shave down. Poor Emma was shaking she was so nervous because Spencer wasn’t with her. Spencer got shaved last year and his hair never grew back. But taking the dog to the groomers does not require getting all gussied up. Even though the groomers’ is in the next town over and even though my car has been acting really weird for months now…I live dangerously…from a fashion stand point.
I drop poor shaggy Emma off and head to the bagel shop. I had just been to the Honda dealer yesterday where they put in spark plugs made of gold (I am judging by the price of 4 spark plugs that they must have been made of pure gold or they were put in by a brain surgeon or something cause 179 dollars for 40 dollars worth of spark plugs seems outrageous…but then again, I’m not good at math) so I was pretty sure that the car was going to keep running for a few more weeks. Wrong.
I am driving along and all of the sudden I am no longer driving along. I am coasting…so I hit the hazards and coast to the shoulder of the road. In my pajamas. Ok, so, I call Triple A. Then, I call garage #1 who has a loaner car. They are booked solid till next week. I quickly resign myself to the fact that I will not have a car this week as I know garage #2, although a block from my house, is not quick on the turn around. I call my mother to see if she can pick up Emma from the groomers’ at 3. I call my BFF to bitch and I call the dealer to give them a piece of my mind. In my pajamas.
After an hour, the tow truck guy shows up but he can’t tow me as I have all wheel drive. So, he clears out a spot in his truck, I climb in and we wait on the flat bed guy. For an hour. In my pajamas. We talk about all sorts of things. He is a very interesting, typically unique guy. Marine Corps vet, ex corrections officer, bar owner, tow truck driver, husband and grandpa. His wife calls about every 15 minutes and after he says “love ya” he hangs up and says “she drives me nuts!!” He has three kids, two boys and one girl. His daughter died when she was 4 of cancer. He was called back from Saudi Arabia for that. Later in that same year, he was hit with shrapnel and had the left side of his head blown away. He was in the hospital for 13 months. It was his father (also a marine) who finally told the doctors to go to hell and got him up and out of that bed, walking around. The doctors said he’d never walk or hold a job again, but they were wrong. Ofcourse, he only got 73% of his service pay because he was 3 years away from 20 years. After two tours and total loss of sight in his left eye, he really didn’t sound as bitter as I thought he should. Ofcourse, I was in pajamas….so…..
He lost his brother in the Gulf War. Coincidently, his father lost a brother in Vietnam and his grandfather lost a brother in WWII. They told him there was a family emergency at home and they stuck him on a plane not telling him that his brother was in the cargo bay of the plane and that his brother’s death was the family emergency. I asked why they would do that. He said because he was still in, still dealing with Iraqis and the higher ups didn’t want him to take it out on anyone….wow.
So, now, he works two jobs and gets to have his granddaughter every saturday, just the two of them. And she is the spitting image of his daughter when she was 2. He owns a big bar in a small town and he has a good life. Better than most. He still has his weapons…you can’t train a marine for 17 years and expect him to not still have weapons!! The neighbors thought Rambo was moving in..ha ha ha!! The only thing he wasn’t allowed to keep was the hand grenades. Hhmmmm….although, he used 3 of them to dig his brother’s inground pool…I’d say that’s the best use of a hand grenade I have ever heard of!
So, although I felt driving around in a car that might or might not die, in my pajamas, was an act of bravery, I was wrong. Brave is losing and losing and losing and still being a human being. Still being able to make conversation, still being able to see the miracle, in being able to work 2 jobs and change a dirty diaper and having a wife who annoys you every 15 minutes. And helping out some weirdo who is stranded in her PJ’s on the side of the street. It’s not that this is something I didn’t know…I just didn’t know I would be reminded of it all today, while in my pajamas…but really, how else would I have met this really neat guy?
Anyway, I am not going to stop hopping in the car to go to the bagel shop in my PJ’s just because my car might die. Obviously the pajamas are the key to meeting really interesting people. Maybe you should try it sometime.