Time zone changes can be wicked…especially heading east. It seems the three hours lost is lost forever. A few days of getting used to the new time zone and then the dreaded “spring forward” time change happened and another hour gone.
Actually time does not matter (unless sleep matters) when the main focus is on a dying mother. Just six weeks shy of her 100th birthday, it seemed that Mom was finally getting her wish to end this long boring nursing home adventure.
Unable to get a flight out of L.A. for 24 hours, I was sad I was not going to get a last good-bye. With a “DNR” and a positive attitude about slipping away from this reality, my Mother seemingly was knocking on death’s door. When I arrived she had suffered a heart attack and her ninety nine year-old lungs were filled with fluid. We felt it was a matter of minutes or maybe hours before the end.
After a few days of bedside waiting in the ER, the hospital sent her up to a room. Twenty-four hours later Mom opened her eyes, looked at us gathered around, shook her head and said, “Isn’t this the darndest thing ever? I’m sorry. You thought you’d be having a funeral and you get this. I don’t know what to do next.”
As usual she was the comic in the room. Another few days passed and they sent her back to the nursing home. She was devastated and depressed…but, only for a half of day. At one point she asked what the date was. When we told her, she then asked if it was still Lent. We told her yes. She said, “I can’t wait till it’s over, I gave up sex and cigarettes and I’m missing both of them.” That’s Mom, she was back.
I stayed another week and enjoyed spoiling her with her favorite sandwiches, frozen custard shakes and French fries. Congestive heart failure, lungs still fluid-filled and sleeping like a cat, I had to say good-bye again and hopefully I’ll still go back for the 100th birthday. Who knows…
My wife, Amy, had flown out to Indiana the first weekend of Mom’s emergency, but needed to get back to work. So, she picked me up at the airport Tuesday night. We were both hungry so we stopped at one of our favs, Wood Ranch, in Valencia. Sixty five miles from Bakersfield, at the top of the grapevine, a rear tire blew while I was doing about 75 in the fast lane. I did a nice “Kevin Harvick” save, and steered across four lanes and luckily found a small dirt turnout. The wheel was not fixable…period.
Since my traveling salesman days, I’ve always carried AAA Premier, so we needed a 65 mile tow into Bakersfield. We arrived around 2 AM.
The tow-truck driver, Mario, was from Argentina. His towing service was back in Castaic in Los Angeles County.
Mario was a happy guy and we found much to talk about. At one point I told him I had written a book about a tow truck driver. It was in print or e-book on Amazon. I told him it was called “Barstow Blues.” He asked me what it was about. I told him.
I said it was about a young tow truck driver who picked up a beautiful blonde in the middle of the desert and she was being chased by a Mexican drug cartel because she had stolen their money.
He was flabbergasted. He said, “Man, that happened to me…seriously. I picked up a blonde gal, she was gorgeous, and she was going to San Diego. That’s a long haul from L.A. She had a fancy sports car and it wouldn’t run. She wanted to go to her father’s house. She said her husband was involved with a Mexican drug cartel and they were trying to kill her.”
At this point, I’m flabbergasted. He’s telling my story. A story I made up.
He continued, “She was really paranoid, man. She demanded to see my ID, and I said I don’t have to show you an ID. As we continued down the freeway, I needed to let my wife know I was going to be late, so I text-ed her. Man, this blonde grew furious, demanded to know who I was texting. She started screaming for me to pull over and let her out…said I was part of the mob sent to kill her. I was in the fast lane and I told her to calm down, I can’t stop on the freeway. She opened the door and I was scared she was going to jump while I was doing 60 miles an hour. I told her to calm down and I did get over in the slow lane and told her to stop screaming. I pulled the truck to a stop in the emergency lane and she got out and started running into the bushes along the freeway. I got out and yelled at her I was taking her car and not playing these games. I drove her car down to her father’s house and took it off the hook at the curb out front. Her father came out and asked me where his daughter was. I told him I saw her running through the bushes about fifty miles north of here. He better go find her. I went home.”
I promised Mario I would send him my book, Barstow Blues, but it wouldn’t be as good as his story. He said he’ll read it and write about in the Amazon comments.
Sometimes you just can’t make that shit up.