Friday, 13 November 2015


Scenes ‘Neath the BF Goodrich Sign

Ann and I had a productive week. The basement workroom was reorganized and cleaned out. The garage was reorganized and cleaned out. Despite the wet mop and the sweeping compound, we kicked up a lot of dust. We took a load of scrap to the ECO Station for recycling: an old heater, iron bars, a stovepipe, an heirloom ottoman one of the cats had pissed on, empty paint tins and an ax with a dangerously loose head. The last chore of the season was to get the winter tires installed on the CRV.

This morning Ann and I turned up at A-1 Tire and Battery about ten minutes before its eight o’clock opening. The CLOSED sign was still up in the window. The lights weren’t on. There were already customers inside. As we entered, one of the customer service reps, the manager and maybe an owner, still sporting a Remembrance Day poppy, allowed loudly into the phone, “Busy, bud. We’re givin’ ‘er.” Another front line fellow whom we know by sight glanced at the job tickets on the wall behind him, studied his computer screen and announced our vehicle would be ready in about an hour as our rims were already on.

So we wandered up a street of low slung pre-war art deco garages and body shops, and then along the CPR right of way toward Whyte Avenue seeking another cup of coffee and breakfast. The A&W was open. Alas, our orange and brown unaddressed direct mail coupons were back in the Honda, tucked into the passenger door map pocket. We decided to live large anyway.

Afterward Ann and I dawdled along Whyte, pausing to peer into the windows of the darkened shops; Sound Connection, an indie record store we like (Found treasure: A sealed mono reissue of the Stones’ Got Live If You Want It EP and a demonstration-only copy of This Time It’s for Real by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.), wouldn’t open for a couple of hours yet. The sidewalk was empty. Nobody waited at the bus stops.

Upon our return to A-1 we were distressed to see that our CRV had not yet been moved into a bay. I began to worry about the combination of more coffee, A&W food and my wonky digestion. Maybe I should have gone at the A&W? No! A fast food public restroom, no way. Besides, there’s something heroic about gutting out a seething belly in the waiting area of an automotive shop. As it turned out, someone else hanging around A-1 Tire and Battery was having a much more miserable morning than I was; unfortunate for her but a welcome distraction for me and my big ears.

S was a young girl, early 20s I guessed. She wore Ugg boots, Lululemon pants and a university branded hoodie. S alternated chugging coffee and bottled water. She needed a wheel alignment and new tires. Since A-1 was, “busy, bud,” and “givin’ ‘er,” S’s car would not be ready until noon, another three hours away. But S had a dress fitting scheduled at ten and ten blocks away because S is to be married tomorrow. And where had she left her coat? S rubbed her iPhone with the cuff of her sweatshirt; unprompted, Siri offered no answers. One of the A-1 reps gallantly offered S a ride to her dress fitter. No, S would phone her mother. There was still time. S’s Mom was tied up until 11ish with other nuptial details but Grandma was at this moment picking up the wedding cake at a bakery on Whyte Avenue. Perfect! S phoned Grandma to arrange her pick up. Grandma phoned back a few minutes later, yes, she had the cake but her car wouldn’t start and she’d already called the Alberta Motor Association and what was S doing at A-1 Tire and Battery anyway on the day before her wedding? S called her Mom back. No, Mom was unable to help either her daughter or her mother until 11ish.

Finally our CRV was ready, only one hour later than promised. I hoped S’s car would be ready on time and not an hour later than promised. I was anxious to get home but nor did I want to scrunch out clutching my stomach in the middle of the drama. God bless smartphones and folk indiscreet enough to use them in public places. They sure beat old magazines when you’re hanging around a waiting area with nothing but cramps and time. S, here’s hoping tomorrow shakes down a little better for you. At least, you’ll be able to depend on your car.

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