Sunday, March 18, 2007

5penny and the terrible horrible no good very bad day

I haven't suffered much tragedy in my life, sure there have been hard times, but very few instances of actual why God? type tragedy. There is, however, a day I would consider The Worst Day of My Life.

It all started out normal enough. I was living in this super tiny (think the size of your kitchen) studio cabin in the mountains, it was my haven. Sure there was no indoor plumbing save for the kitchen sink, but an outhouse is a small price to pay for the view from my outdoor shower. Yes, I said outdoor shower. It was magnificent, there is no comparable experience to showering while snow falls around you. While not a very good picture, it is the actual view from the mountain where I lived. (courtesy of Nicole Holmquist)
Despite awakening to this beauty, February 14, 1998 was anything but a beautiful day. I started out on a walk with my dog, Shiloh. We were headed to a very secret meadow, my thinking spot. As we walked along the bank of the canal, I let my mind drift as my body continued on autopilot. I may have also been talking to my dog, she was a hyper boxer and seemed not to walk so much as bounce. Bounce, bounce-bounce, splash! She had bounced herself right into the ice cold canal and was quickly been swept downstream with the current. Pulling myself out of my reverie, I sprinted downstream, passed her, bellyflopped onto the hard ground and extended my upper body into the ice cold water and scooped her out. I zipped her into my jacket so we would retain some body heat and headed home. Of course, the fire was out. I got it going and we cuddled in my sleeping bag until normal temperatures were restored.

I was supposed to visit my parents later that day and so I packed my dirty laundry an overnight bag and we got into my p.o.s. orange Volkswagen bug. It wouldn't start. No problem, I told myself, I live on a hill so I'll just pop the clutch on my way down and all will be well. Or so I thought. The blonde in me had different plans. She thought it would be hysterical if I forgot to turn the ignition key on. Fucking hysterical. At the bottom of the hill, no running engine, no problem, I decided to a) turn on the damn ignition, and b) push the damn car until I got enough momentum to pop the clutch.

Which, obviously as this is my story, did not work.

After an hour or so of pushing, I gave up. I walked back up to my cabin in paradise and made a sandwich. A couple hours later, I went down to inspect the orange nightmare and thought, hehe, I'll just try to turn it over and see what happens: the car started. Of it's own volition. I whistled for the dog and we were off.

The drive to my parents took about 45 minutes of foothill driving through the barren nothingness. Golden grasses and rolling hills. Coming down the last big hill, I slipped the gear clutch into neutral and coasted (which is totally illegal in California, so I, of course, didn't really *wink*). It was the only way my orange p.o.s. would hit 65mph. Nearing the bottom of the hill I heard a clunk and looked out the driver's window just in time to see my rear tire pass me, roll off the highway, jump the bridge, and land in the middle of the creek. I amazingly kept the car from losing control and by the grace of a higher power, maneuvered it onto the shoulder where I did not turn the engine off, in case it would not start. (You know, cause tires that fall off can be easily reattached without the need for specials tools or parts. Geez, what an idiot.) The car behind me pulled over as well, stunned that I hadn't gone off the bridge and offered to let me use their cell phone (in 1998! how lucky was I) to call for help. A tow truck was dispatched and while I waited for it to tow my sorry ass to my parents, I took my second river bath that day.

By this point I could not believe the day I was having and immediately upon arriving started relaying my craptastic day to my dad. He was somber and not very interested and didn't once laugh at me. Something was wrong. My father would never purposely pass up an opportunity to laugh at my pain.

When I had finished my "can you believe this crap?" story, my father said the oddest thing. "Well, no matter how shitty your day, it's definitely better than Uncle Ted's."
"Whaa? What is that supposed to mean?" I asked.
"You know about Ted, doncha? Oh.", he sighed.
Loooong silence.
"Of course you don't. You don't have a damn phone, how would you know. Um, your uncle was involved in a fatal farming accident this morning. He's dead."

Ever have a day like that? Tell me about it.

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