Thursday, February 16, 2006

it's only about 40 miles...

...a bit over 48 miles one way. 48.6 miles to be exact. Almost 49 miles one way. About 98 miles 'round trip... approximately 6.53 gallons of gas total... 3.2 gallons one way.

That's alright though, the scenery's worth it. Well, on the way there it was worth it. On the way back we really didn't get to look at too much of the scenery.

Everything started out okay. I mean, once we got the van to quit backfiring and belching out black smoke it seemed to run okay. So we drove off. Bi-polar brother in law in the van... driving the van in front of us. Us following in our white Ford F150.

Throughout the trip we were looking at the back of this very big, ugly, garbage filled Chevrolet van with it's two rear windows busted out. We watched in awe as the van's bi-polar driver drove at least 50 mph down a narrow, wet, winding and wooded county road... digging through the assorted debris piled in the van around him... looking for nick nacks... in search of lost relics... treasures buried in the garbage.

Just about the time we thought he'd bought the big one... taken out a tree he'd look up, jerk the wheel and pull the van back into some semblance of control... making sure the van was heading the same general direction as the road before he'd resume his treasure hunts.

Simply put we were criminals. I have to confess. Come arrest me and take me away now... PLEASE!!! This whole trip... whole journey was a premeditated ploy designed specifically to circumvent the licensure and taxing system of the state of Washington... much like a mini "Boston Tea Party"... influenced by our obvious greed... and led by our bi-polar mastermind. We were not going to pay any more taxes!... at least, not on the van.

We were behind him because the van's license was expired. We were using the back, back county roads because the van's license was expired. We were, in essence avoiding the prying eyes of the county deputies and state police, the city cops and the town marshals. We were blocking the van's expired license plate with our truck. Using these backroads... driving at warp speeds... avoiding the law all so we could get this van to where it had to go and get that damned transmission out of it and into the truck... his truck... his big, yellow 1979 1/2 ton Chevy truck. From this big, brown and yellow and other colored 3/4 ton 1985 Chevy van into that 1/2 ton 1979 Chevy truck...

I remember my mind getting a bit clearer as I tried to keep up with him... 1985, 3/4 ton Chevy Van... 1979, 1/2 ton Chevy truck. Transmission??? I honestly don't think anyone bothered checking to see if the transmission would "match up". I know I didn't! I was just so damned happy and excited to be on this little adventure with my lovely wife and my bi-polar brother in law that I didn't even want to think any rational thought. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I started this trip not thinking rationally... that would ruin the whole experience. Why would I want to ruin it now... why would I entertain any rational thought on the return trip???

So, as we flew down a network of county roads... flew down them! I had these fleeting thoughts that this transmission might not... just might not work. Bi-polar brother in law was too busy digging through the stuff in the van looking for those hidden treasures... and occasionally looking back up to the road, let's call it driving, of sorts... to be thinking rationally. He was simply too busy, too pre-occupied to have any ANY rational thought. And actually, when you think about it he has an excuse to not think rationally... obviously. Moreso with each passing second.

We managed to make it to a gas station... a small country store type gas station. Bi-polar brother in law wanted to "gas up" the van. I had to convince him that he didn't want to fill the tank being as he's going to be getting rid of the van once he gets the transmission out of it anyway. It took a bit of discussion but I did convince him. So, it's one of those "Pay First" stores. He headed inside. I manned the pump waiting for the pump to start.

Nothing... I peak around the pump towards the store. He's at the counter. They're looking out at me... he and the owner.

Nothing... I wave my hand for someone to start the pump. They wave back.

Nothing...

I hang the hose back and head towards the store's entrance. Bi-polar brother in law steps away from the counter and meets me at the door.

"Hey. We have to pay him first before we can pump any gas" he told me as I walked in.

I tried throughout this whole... journey... to keep my patience. To keep myself from saying or doing something I knew I'd regret later. But you know, sometimes it's just too damned difficult! Sometimes it doesn't pay to keep things inside...

But I did. I kept my thoughts to myself. I held back. How I did it is beyond me. I would have never done that in the past. Besides, he can't help the way he is... at least, that's what I've been told by everyone who has anything to do with this bi-polar stuff. If I ever find out differently I'm going to make up for a lot of lost time!

"So pay him" I told bi-polar brother in law. I'm sure my teeth were clenched but I think that's acceptable given the other alternatives.

"Oh" bi-polar brother in law said as he put a twenty on the counter. "yeah. Sorry".

The clerk-owner-worker took the twenty and put it in the opened drawer... no change... less than 30 miles from the van's resting place and no change.

"You pump. You pump now" he said, nodding at me... motioning me to leave, waving me outside with his left hand.

I looked at him, looked at bi-polar brother in law and went back to the pump where I belonged. At least the pump was sensible. Bi-polar brother in law wandered through the store. He loves nick nacks.

As I pumped the eight gallons of gas into his tank... the $20.00's worth I couldn't help but wonder what life was like in a normal world. I remembered being there once... at least, I think "the wife" and I were there once, but that was a long, long time ago... if it ever was.

We're on a journey...

...and we're still not home.

6 comments:

Cathy said...

Hilarious!!! Makes me think of that old saying, "no good deed goes unpunished." Sounds as if you are at the helm but unsure of what port you are headed for. It should get interesting!

DG said...

You write a good one. Love the pic. I wanna be right... there!

D. H. said...

Cathy- I'm totally unsure who's at the helm here but it's obvious that this "ground pounder" has no idea how to steer a ship. Trust me, it's already very interesting. Tonight was a bit of a tense night though.

DG- It's nice... soothing.

Cathy said...

It is a great photo. My ex in-laws have a place on Puget Sound and that looks like the road that led down to the house. Seeing it brought back pleasant memories.

As for steering the ship, I wouldn't worry too much about it. As long as you do it with character you will end up in the right place...or so I'm told.

Steve said...

You've tried 'controlling' it...in vain. You've tried 'breaking free' of it...it stays with you.

I think it is human nature to seek the 'answers' to things that cannot change, but some things are only met for us to accept; not really to analyze. Right?

Sometimes, our ideas simply fail.

Has he ever been formally diagnosed and medicated? He may not be a genius; he may simply need Ritalin for his attention deficit disorder. Maybe, when he thinks more clearly, and can concentrate better, he will think to 'thank you' for everything you have done.

D. H. said...

Cathy- These pictures tend to do that to us don't they... though I'm here and can run out and catch the view anytime I still enjoy these particular misty road pics.

Steve- Oh, he's been on meds for years... trying all kinds of different ones. The doc's are trying to find the right mix. He just got "discharged" from a mental health ward after a couple weeks of in patient treatment prior to getting kicked out of his home by his lunatic wife.

Either way, it's a lot like having a 51 years old 5 year old living with us.