Friday, August 31, 2012

The Relief of Mundane Problems

I had an awful day on Wednesday.

Stressful, long, exhausting, nigh-disastrous, its fires still burning (figuratively... I think), and infectious, it was my worst day in recent memory.  Let's start at the beginning.

It rained heavily on the way to work.  The defogger in my car hasn't worked since I last had it repaired, something I've meant to address but between work and my various treatments I've lacked the time and energy to do so.  At least, that's what I tell myself.  During my commute the ventilation blowers kicked on full blast and refused to shut off, even when I took the key out of the ignition.  Maybe the car was trying to dehumidify the interior - impossible to do, given the aforementioned problem with the air conditioner - and drained itself in the vain attempt, but by the end of the day the battery was completely dead.  Jack was kind enough to jump it for me and tried to help me find the problem, or at least get it to stop wasting power, but nothing short of unplugging the battery did the trick.  As soon as we reconnected the battery, the blowers started right back up.  Yeah, this is pretty boring.  It was better at the time, because then it was less boring and more of a tremendous hassle.

So I took my car to the local Sears, which was the only service shop I knew of that was open at the time, only to find that they don't actually do repairs.  About 30 miles wasted, since traffic forced me to take the long way back toward my home, and my usual repair shop.  Their mechanics had all gone home so I'd have to leave the car overnight and pick it up the next day.  The owner drove me home, and it was about 2 minutes from my front door when I realized I'd left my house key on my car keychain, and my spare was locked inside my house, which in retrospect is a really stupid place to ever keep a spare key.  To be fair, this had been the first time I've locked myself out of my room since my freshman year of college.

My parents had my spare spare, but were a good 40 minutes away.  As the sun set, I sat on my tiny deck and watched a spider weave its web in a tree across the way.  The heat of the day relented under a cool breeze.  None of my neighbors spotted me, which spared me the humiliation of explaining why I was suddenly such a fan of fresh air and mosquitoes.  When I asked my father to bring my key, I'd apologized so many times I lost count.  Yet as I sat there, swatting at the insects of the growing dusk, I felt as though I'd won a strange sort of victory.

I'd had a truly rotten day, but not one of my problems had a thing to do with my cancer.  Each problem was mundane and common.  That I could still drive enough to have car troubles, was a victory.  That I could still pay my mortgage such that I had a place to call home, was a victory.

When Dad showed up I apologized again.  We hugged, I unlocked my door, and the both of us went home.  It was 8PM.

I have my car back now, and it's mostly fixed with the few remaining parts on order.  It's good enough to drive for now, and the blowers are working properly again, $230 later.  Good enough to take me to the MRI I had today, then to my parents' place for dinner, and back home again.  Next week I'll bring it back in to finish off those remaining repairs.

In the meantime, I should probably figure out a better place to stash my spare key. 


  1. Reading your post makes me see the joy in the mundane. You have to deal with a car that needs repairs and forgotten keys but aren't they much better things to have to deal considering what you have had to think about this past year? Being preoccupied with the mundane leaves no room for thinking about MRIs - a welcome respite.

    1. Reminds me of the "first-world problems" meme. We get so used to what we have to deal with that we begin to take our problems for granted, or make a crisis out of something ultimately meaningless. I regret, even resent that I will likely never get to retire, but I live like a king compared to the majority of the planet.

      Nothing like a new problem to give someone a little perspective, and make them appreciate old, familiar troubles.

  2. the spare key thing is a problem for me now. Being alone i don't want such an obvious place that the bad guys find it and come in and kill me, but it has to be a place that I will remember putting it!

    You didn't mention how the MRI went,no results yet?


    1. You know, Joan, it didn't even occur to me to post about the MRI. It's just so routine now. Maybe I'll write up a little something once I get the results (it wasn't my usual doctor and this was a holiday weekend so it's taken a little longer to hear back).

      I found a good place for my key. Where? It's a secret!

      I've had this weird fantasy that someday, someone's going to break in or mug me or just otherwise confront me in some way, and I'll get to lecture them about how they'll have to live with the knowledge that they were low enough to rob a 30-year-old brain cancer patient. You know, that might be worth some examination in its own right.

      Thanks for the post ideas, Joan. Hope you're doing OK.

    2. Day by day Knightly. Don't think there is a miracle panacea for my pain.
      I sleep with one of those long heavy flashlights by my side. If someone breaks in either they will get their head bashed in or I will.
      I hid my key in a new place but of course I worry it's not safe enough....