The Day That Would Not End
This is a true story …
I began the morning repeating my broken record routine of talking my daughters into answering the door when their friend arrived to walk to school, so she would not go through her daily routine of peeking in our mail slot and looking into our home while she waited.
On the drive to work I was tailgated twice by the same person in different areas when they turned off and later reappeared on a different road several miles away. Within an hour, my brain was partially drained by my anal-retentive co-worker. My cell phone rang twice. As soon as I would answer, the person was hanging up. After calling the number back and discovering it was the school nurse calling me, I was told my daughter had hit the back of her head during the lovely game of flag football. After the school nurse told me she was “fine,” I said I would like to pick her up and she replied that it was “my choice.” I later learned my daughter had also hit the front of her head and was disoriented and seeing double in the moments following her “bumping” it.
A few nights earlier during dinner, I had lamented the dangers of this game after the same child told me of her friend’s back being fractured when a boy literally ran over her back when she fell during the game. We went to the lovely pediatrician’s office where we did the usual sitting till we’ve counted the fish hanging from the ceiling and taking our inventory of the supplies on the counter seventeen times, when a medical intern entered the room. She shook my hand and promptly addressed my daughter in a pink shirt with, “Hey, Buddy!” After administering several tests that are also used as field sobriety tests, she left the room and loudly told the nurses directly outside, “I just called that little girl ‘Buddy!’” after which the women erupted in laughter.
After my daughter was told she had a concussion, I decided we were going to Chick-fil-A for some lunch. Since we were passing the law firm I worked at part-time the alternate days of the week, I asked my daughter if she would like to stop in and meet the ladies, and she said yes. This was nice but slightly strange when, during our brief visit, a call came in for me and I was asked to take it.
After a tasty lunch with the usual mob of screaming children and busy lunch time crowd that makes Chick-fil-A what it is, we returned home. Tired, I thought I’d have a nice cup of coffee, maybe wipe out my car, and get some laundry washed and put away.
I went around opening windows and stopped to talk to our sweet guinea pig, Tommy. As I moved in closer to give him a pretend kiss I saw the ants crawling in his food, up the legs of the cage, in his cage and on him. For the better part of the next two hours I cleaned the cage, cleaned the whole room, treated the room with an ant killer and ran up and down the stairs checking on my concussioned (is that a word?) daughter, who was sleeping on the couch.
Dinner was normal for some reason. Afterward, the girls went outside to throw a soft rubber ball. They ran in after I made myself the cup of coffee I was looking forward to and told me about the guy who had just walked all the way up and all the way down the hill past our house four times. I watched the scrawny, orange-maned neo-punk do this two more times, at which point I’m pretty sure he noticed my eyes boring into him and did not return a sixth time.
The evening would not be complete without the equally scrawny orange cat traipsing through the driveway and circling the cars, no doubt playing eenie-meenie-miney-moe with the wheels before he peed on one, which I personally had seen him do. This is the same cat that repeatedly emptied his meals onto our porch and drew hundreds of ants the last two summers. Feeling my patience for weird and unnecessary events thinning, I attempted to lead him out of the driveway while saying “Go home.” During this time, my head-injured daughter saw his owners walking half a block away and whispered very loudly, “Mom! There they are!” as though I was doing something wrong. I told her I didn’t care. As I came back into the yard from the end of the driveway, the cat followed me right back. I went inside and filled an old fabric softener lid with water, then went back out and gave him a shower, at which point he disappeared.
I had told my other daughter that I didn’t think I could read my newspaper on the porch due to the gusty breeze. She said it was not breezy, so we went to the porch where I took her up on her challenge. I had not made it past page A3 when we saw the lady with the clipboard going door-to-door. After running inside twice for two false alarms, she finally came down our block and we shut and locked the door. When the doorbell rang, we all ignored it.
After watching TV. and photographing our cat Henry laying claim to some homemade gifts one of the girls had given me, they went to bed. A few minutes later, I heard a car pull up on the side of the house. Even though I was again trying to read my newspaper, I was aware that the engine did not shut off, nor did I hear any doors open or shut. After about five minutes, I went to the dark kitchen and looked out at the SUV with the interior light illuminating the two guys in the vehicle. One of them was rolling joints in his lap and licking the rolling papers while the other hoodlum talked loudly to “Jim” on his cell phone. Of course, after I called the police and provided all the information on the car and the men, they pulled away, which I then called back and told the dispatcher. About four minutes after this a police car went past at a high rate of speed and then down the next street where I had told the dispatcher the SUV had gone. The irony of the policeman speeding so that the car would be a blur if he did pass it occurred to me, but what do I know?
And to wrap up this exciting day, I listened as the confused bird in a nearby tree again chirped non-stop as though the day was just dawning.
Thank you for humoring me … I needed it.