October 14th, 2008 by Dusty
Someone should invent a catchy saying for that notion.
Today was one of those days. Nay, I say it was two of those days. I had a marathon past two weeks, not getting anything that resembled a full night’s sleep in anything that resembled my bed with anything that resembled my girlfriend (or fiancée, for that matter). I awoke with a start at about four o’clock this morning, realizing that I have not had much chance to keep up with my pathetic bank account, and was thus probably overdrawn to the point that I would have to change my political affiliation.
I checked on line, and found that I was okay. I then noticed that this month’s rent check had not cleared, and I had not nearly enough money to cover it. I needed $500 cash by the time the bank opened. I began laying my brain map for the day. It involved the following –
1. Go get money from anyone who owes me money
2. Convert said money to cash and deposit it so it posts immediately
3. Go fly an airplane to Nashville and pick up a passenger and bring her to Atlanta by 8 pm
I checked my phone to make sure I still had the number of the guy who owed me money, and noticed that the battery was close to dead. Now, where is my charger…?
4. Go to Radio Slack or something and get a charger, because I have been in 42 locations in the past week and have no idea where I left that damned charger. This should be more interesting with no money.
Chances are, I will get the money in the form of a check, and this check will come from Smacky’s Bank. I need to find the nearest location so I can get it cashed and take it to my bank. My GPS was sitting right there, so I consulted…what? Battery is dying on that one, too. The charger for that has been screwed up for a while, so I added
5. Go find whatever retarded miniature ceramic bullshit fuse Garmin decided to use in the charger and then fire it out of a rifle at the asshole who decided to use the world’s most unusual fuse in the design of that charger.
My day was starting to stack up
I left the house at 8 am and got my check without incident. Now I just had to find the bank it came from. Garmin was almost dead, so I decided to call them. Phone was now flashing the “LOW BATT” signal, and I thought to myself “Isn’t it scary how completely my life is falling apart at the hands of my two most valued electronic gadgets?” Think about it. How in the hell did we used to get anywhere or do anything? I don’t remember either.
Luckily I vaguely remembered a Smacky’s Bank branch on Piedmont. It was still there and they only charged me $5 to cash a check since I didn’t have an account there. I now agree that there is something of a conspiracy to keep poor people poor, and I secretly hoped that this bank would go the way of WAMU and all the others.
My bank happily accepted my deposit, and with the major fire now out, I decided I could go look for chargers and fuses and stuff. I started my car and noticed that the console display that shows all of the stereo information and climate control stuff had crapped out. I checked the fuses and did the normal troubleshooting stuff, and finally gave up and did that thing you do when a little too much shit is awry at one time – I put my hand out palms up, looked skyward and sarcastically said “really?” to a god that clearly does not exist.
6. Take car in to see what can be done about the stereo situation
7. While I’m there, see about some new rear tires, as the driver’s side tire had recently been punctured and was running with a full can of Fix-A-Flat inside it
As long as I was right next door to a Radio Slack, I went in to get a phone charger and possibly a new fuse for my Garmin charger. Phone charger worked like a charm, and at $15.00 was a bargain at twice the price. I had also found a fuse that was the same size and rating as the one that came out of it. After finally installing the new fuse in my Garmin charger, I plugged it in expecting to see the happy green light. No such luck. It refused to be fixed. I took it apart three more times expecting to see the problem staring me in the face.
I won’t go into how childish I acted in response to its refusal to cooperate, but if anyone is looking for a slightly used Garmin car charger, it can be found in the Ansley Mall parking lot outside the Radio Shack. It has been run over twice, but may still be salvaged for parts.
Now it was time to focus on getting the car fixed. The radio seems like a part that the dealership would know about, so I’ll go there. The dealership had bad news and good news. The bad news was that the part I needed would cost $1300.00 to replace. The good news is that it was covered by warranty.
So I’m leaving the Honda Place feeling pretty good, tooling down Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when I hear the unmistakable sound of a blown tire. I moved the side view mirror to see flappy bits of rubber coming off my rear tire.
Now is the part where my hands involuntarily become fists and I want nothing more than to beat them on the steering wheel and scream “fuck” over and over.
Life is a series of challenges. How you choose to deal with these challenges determines your worth as a human being. That is my #1 mantra, and I refused to allow myself a loss of control. As if in answer to my choice, I looked up and saw a big burly sign that said “Kaufmann Tire” on it. I had just enough speed to coast to a stop right in front of their front door. I silently thanked the god that I previously denied the existence of for a) putting my blowout right in front of a tire store, and b) not letting it happen at 70 miles per hour while I was drunk with a bunch of coke and dead hookers in the trunk.
The part that sucked is that 17” tires cost a billion more dollars each than 16” tires. Especially when they see you drive up on a rim. $318.00 later I had two new tires. Now I had to hustle to the airport to get this whole flying thing going.
Did I really want to fly considering the way my day had gone so far? Turns out I didn’t.
The plane had just come out of maintenance, so we did a very thorough preflight and run up. We ran the engine up and studied the instruments for anything sucky. We did this for a full minute longer than we needed to.
“789 Marco Polo (that isn’t the real tail number, so don’t try to look it up), cleared for departure Runway 9.” Ground control chirped.
“Cleared for departure blah blah blah” I responed in kind.
We rolled out, lifted off, and at about 400 feet, I noticed the oil pressure was at 28 psi, rather than its usual 40-45, and fluctuating as low as 2 psi. At this point I had had enough. I made fists and began beating them on the instrument panel, screaming “fuck” over and over into the radio.
Kidding. Brian (the guy I was flying with) saw the problem at the same time I did, and since he has much more experience in this plane than I do, I said “Your airplane. I have the radios” and called the airport.
“So-and-so tower, this is 789 marco polo. We have a low oil pressure indication and need to land on 27.”
“789 marco polo, clear to land 27. Let us know if we can help.”(the controllers are very accommodating when they think something is wrong with your airplane)
The engine was still making lots of noise and we were still in control, so I felt no need to fill the cockpit with liquid feces. We just made a tight turn and landed where we came from. We taxied to the maintenance hangar and told them what happened. Much like trying to tell a computer engineer what is wrong with your computer, and airplane will not behave the same in the presence of a qualified mechanic as it will when you are flying it. Still not sure they believe us.
I gave up on today. The good thing about a particularly bad day is the knowledge that the following day, even if it is slightly below average, will seem wicked awesome by comparison. Just now, I looked in the refrigerator and found a forgotten beer in the veggie drawer. It has been in there for about nine months, because the expiration date is today.
Things are looking better already.
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