You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray
*Sigh!* It always seems to happen to me right around this time of the year.
The car, she breaks down, just when I need it most.
I'm supposed to be house/cat-sitting for some friends in Bellevue, who left on a two-week vacation on Monday. Now, the bus has been acting up a bit the past couple of weeks; stalling at intersections, running a little rough, generally telling me it's time to take it in for a tune-up. So, Monday I drop it off at the mechanics, thinking I'll get it back at the end of the day, just in time to start making the back-and-forth commute to the Eastside.
How wrong that turned out to be.
First off, around 2:00 p.m. I get a call from the garage, telling me: a.) they couldn't get it to stall, as I had indicated and b.) that the points and rotor showed a bit of carbonization, and would I like to have them replaced? Also, they noticed that the tail lights weren't working properly, and should they look into this as well? Well, sure, not a problem. I knew about the lighting issue (it's 30 year-old wiring, after all), and even though it was going to add a bit more to the bill, it's worth it to get all the little bits-and-pieces working in tip-top shape.
By 4:30 p.m. I hadn't heard back from them, and so I called them up, and was informed they were having some trouble isolating the wiring problem, and can they keep it overnight? Okay, not terribly convenient, but I figure Mr. Big (the NOTORIOUS cat) can go ONE day without human companionship, which as far as he's concerned means roughly, "I want to go out NOW! Open the door, furless minion!"
Now, it's Tuesday. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
3:00 p.m. Still no word from the garage. I call them again. "Um, now it keeps stalling, we don't know why. Oh, and by-the-way, your throttle cable is shot, and there's a fuel leak inside the engine compartment."
At this point my eyes start rolling around in their sockets like the tumblers on a slot machine, naturally coming up double dollar signs - and that's bad, 'cause it doesn't mean "big money for me!", but rather, that somebody at the garage is going to get a little extra-special bonus in their stocking this year, courtesy, moi.
So, here it is, Tuesday night, and me all grumbley and mumbley, because I'm now looking at spending roughly four hours taking public transit across the water to downtown Bellevue, walking about a mile to the house in what the Meteorologists in these parts laughingly refer to as "light showers" (translation: "it'll keep this up all day-and-night, but the good news is, nobody's house is going to float away"), banging on the neighbor's door to get the key, administering to The Bigster, then turning around and going through the whole process in reverse so as to get home at something resembling a decent hour, just so I can walk in the door and listen to MY cats complain about, "where have YOU been? We're starvin' here!", AND probably get yet another in what seems to be an unbroken string of lousy nights of sleep to boot.
I tells ya', it's just enough to make me go all "Bah Humbug!" at the most innocuous sign of Holiday cheerfulness.
But, I hadn't quite counted on the precocious three year-old traveling with her father on the crowded #556 route from the U-District. Based on overheard snippets of conversation, daddy & moppet had evidentally spent the afternoon engaged in a variety of quality time activities, one of which included the purchase of a gellato flavor appropriately entitled, "Caribou Crunch". Smallish person, not yet of an age to understand the subtleties of Consumer Marketing, was under the impression that a.) she had eaten actual frozen caribou, and b.) that all caribou tastes like crunchy chocolate. Okay, gotta hand it to her, it was rather cute, an adjective I'm not especially prone to use, but for once the occasion seemed to fit. And clearly, given the spontaneous, barely concealed smirks of my fellow passengers, I wasn't the only one thinking this.
But, what really sent the whole episode over the line into full-blown, break-out-into-ear-to-ear grinning, was when our Little Entertainer started into an a capella (and surprising on-key) rendition of "You Are My Sunshine", which she kept up for about five minutes, singing like the Dickens, seranading the tiny stuffed kitten (whom one apparently addresses as, "little kitty") jammed into Pop's coat pocket.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy, when skies are gray,
You'll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away."
I mean, when you're exposed to that level of Cosmic-Ray blast Holiday Cheer - coming from a small, curley-headed, all pink assessorized right-down-to-the-mittens child, I defy even the most cold-hearted, grinchy SOB to not feel their heart grow at least three sizes too big.
Afterwards, one of the commuters sitting across the aisle from me was heard to whisper, "I wish she would have sung that yesterday. Maybe today would have turned out better."
I'm sure she was just referring to the weather, but considering my own situation, I couldn't help adding a silent, "Amen, sister!" of my own. Because, you know, no matter how inconvenient all this is, it could be a LOT worse.
For instance, I could be living in New York.
on 9:56 AM