Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Damn You, Janitor's Truck!!

At about 9:15 last night I received a call on my cellular phone. I picked up and on the other end I heard the high pitched squealing of a woman set to the sounds of a loud grinding noise in the background. I was about to chalk it up to another anonymous sadomasochistic perv-call when it became clear to me that the woman on the other end was, in fact, my girlfriend. And she was not happy.

Katie, who lives in one of the far suburbs of Chicago, surprised me earlier in the day by offering to come into the city to spend the evening with me. It appeared that I would finally realize my life-long fantasy of being hand-fed grapes and fanned by a scantily clad woman. I cleaned up my room. I showered. I bought a giant palm fan and some grapes and then I put on a nice button-down shirt. I did everything that I should do but typically don't because I'm somewhat lazy that way in preparation and was ready to go when I got the screamy-hysterical call.

As it turns out, while she was on her way down the highway a pickup truck loaded with a bunch of janitorial supplies must have hit a bump or something. Garbage bags and other assorted crap fell out of the truck, which was directly in front of her, and she couldn't swerve in time. There was now a loud scraping noise coming from somewhere beneath the car, which explains the grinding noise I heard on the phone. She had stopped on the side of the highway to call her dad, who proceeded to yell at her for stopping on the side of the highway (admittedly not the best place to stop given that there were psychotic drivers speeding around the curve at 90 miles per hour). She was scraping along down the highway and thoroughly scared when she called me.

I calmed her down and told her to get off at my exit and stop at the nearest well lit place (the CVS drug store on Diversey and Western) where I would meet her. I jumped in my car and sped off down Diversey towards the highway.

When I got to the parking lot, she was already parked and out of the car. I got down onto the parking lot pavement in my nice button down shirt to take a look. A powder blue plastic dustbin attached to a rod was lodged underneath her car. I felt around underneath the car to see where exactly it was stuck and discovered that there was also a plastic hook on the other end of the rod that was attached to the bottom of the car. I needed scissors. Stat. We were in the CVS parking lot.

You would think any self-respecting establishment selling office supplies would be sure to have scissors in stock. This was not the case at the CVS. Apparently, scissors sell like hot cakes on Damen and Western Avenues. Who knew that area was such a hot spot for arts and crafts. I was certainly not aware of this. If I had known, I would have got an apartment in the area. I love arts and crafts. I was about the leave when by chance I found one lonely utility knife hanging out in the housewares aisle.

The cashier must have thought I was going to commit some sort of heinous crime. When he asked if I needed a bag for my brand new utility knife, I told him no. It was to be my only purchase. He then got to watch me rip the packaging apart and open the blade as I walked out the door. I guess I could have waited. I'm lucky he didn't call the cops.

I then spent a good ten to fifteen minutes underneath Katie's car hacking away at the makeshift plastic contraption lodged between the pavement and the car while she was calling her dad again. I took a quick breather from hanging out in the warm underbelly of the car and noticed a smoking middle-aged Indian man staring at me. I don't know if he was trying to figure out what I was doing or just staring at my now exposed sweaty ass-crack. I gave him a polite smile. He looked away and went back to waiting for his bus.

I finally managed to pop the plastic hook off one end of the rod and cut away enough at the dustpan part so that I could drag it out from under the car.

Was it time for the hand-fed grapes yet? No. Why? Because the car was now leaking some sort of fluid too. We left her car in the parking lot for a moment and then drove back to my house to turn off all of the lights that I had left on and to wash and bandage up my hand. I changed my shirt, now black from all the crap underneath her car, and then I followed Katie back out to the suburbs so that she could leave her car in a mechanic's parking lot. Finally we made it back to her house and then we crashed. So much for a lovely evening in the city. I am happy, though, that I could help her out and keep her calm. Hopefully the car's fine.

As I was driving in to work this morning from the suburbs (a nice two hour plus traffic-filled joy ride through thick fog) I was cut off by a little purple Hyundai. The rear driver's side window rolled down, and a man popped his head out. He then projectile vomited onto the pavement twice. My sentiments exactly. I thought how nice it would be to have a chauffeur or, better yet, not to have a car at all.