So, I am driving/riding off to the Doctor with Hellen and Roger.

So, I am driving/riding off to the Doctor with Hellen and Roger.

I recently purchased a new ,,,,,, slightly used vehicle which I may be able to drive someday.

After driving it home from Atwater Ohio, some 208 miles away, and fifty or so miles locally, a few warning lights came on. Why don’t they have warning lights that Say, “DON’T BUY THIS CAR”?

The repair place tells me it is just a few small things and he will have it repaired,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, in time. Probably in time for me to buy antique license plates!

It seems that ,,,,,,,,,,,, (Nothing like absolutes when you are talking cars, time and money) It seems like one of the warning lights, points to a cooling component. They, the repair people, are not sure which one and each component requires disassembling a large portion of the car and all in different locations. No two for the price of one on this job. I have not lost any cooling fluid although I have noticed what I thought was the smell of coolant. Not uncommon to have smells in my vehicles.

In two similar Brands and models, a little more vintage, I have had coolant problems but this being newer and a different design I was quickly reminded I have no idea, what I am talking about.

“We will tear it apart and call you when we find out what the problem is and wait for your decision.”

This of course, after they have me at bay, with parts scattered all over the place and a large bill ran up. My choices are reasonable. Pay to have it fixed or scrap it.

Somewhere in the past, law schools decided to step up their enrolment. Not sure if standards ,,,,,,,,, won’t go there. Anyway, I remember when Lawyers, Attorneys, Advocates, Counselors, legal eagles, Solicitors, Barristers or whatever name they go by, were hard to find. Not a single one in the book,,,,, when we used phone books. Pretty soon they became more popular than the Pubs, bars, and saloons. As the legal helpers increased, the friendly ale houses decreased. Maybe that had something to do with attorneys becoming judges and needing more work.

Well, soon the judges were giving the Imbibers a place to stay with free rent but not a lot of access to the brew. Consequently, less friendly consumption of fire water, less need for saloons and less need for legal help, less law counseling peoples.

That’s when Attorney’s started becoming gloved auto mechanics and continued on with the same extortionate rates.

There are repairs and there are repairs.

I ride along to Ann Arbor and Rogers doctor because Roger has asked me to. I’m glad to go and as for me, it is like hearing about yet another repair job. Tubes, leaks, bad temperatures, taking things apart to get to other parts, noises which shouldn’t be there, expensive repair people. It’s all the same.

One other job I seem to have with Helen and Roger is GPS advisor. Grand Parents Syndrome. No one under 35 is left out of the ring. “They will learn in a few years” “They sure didn’t get that from their parents” “why,, when I was their age” “it’s your fault, the way you treat them” “It’s because of your ancestors”.  Some might call my suggestions, Heckling but I do my best to keep it even between both parties.

Both Helen and Roger are very familiar with Ann Arbor streets and locations of various places. I for one, see no other reason to go to Ann Arbor other than the Salvation Army and White Castle hamburgers.

Getting in the general vicinity of Ann Arbor is pretty much a straight shot. Well, not straight but a lot of curves going somewhere east of where we started.

Once there or almost there they, Helen and Roger go into Lewis and Clark mode.

“That’s the way I go”

“No, this way is closer”

“The way you are going there are too many kids on bicycles”

“Oh no, a detour”

” See, I told you but you wouldn’t listen”

“OK smarty pants, your way is now a dead end.”

“Well then try a different way”

“Isn’t that an intelligent statement”

“Be careful don’t run over those kids”

“I have the right-a-way!”

“Not when they are halfway across the street”

“I could have made it”

“The light was red”

“That’s the jelly on your glasses”

The city of Ann Arbor has done their best to buy up all the construction barrels and construction signs in the eastern part of the US. Every street you turn down, has a detour sign and one begins to feel like they are driving around in a corn maze while not driving into a giant construction hole or mashing a dozen or so half unconscious inhabitants.

Helen is driving great. She is rolling along, dodging this and that taking every opportunity to get closer to her destination, maneuvering around and over every obstacle, keeping the blood flowing. Rogers and mine!! I feel like a BB in one of those hand puzzles.

Try as we could, to make suggestions, Helen would have already decided on her next move almost before we could get a word out. As it was, all we could do is get out a few terrified squeaks.

Did I mention there were noises? Construction noises, bus noises, student noises, heart pumping noises, police car noises,,,,,.

 “Ops! Helen”, Me calling from somewhere near the floor.

“I think you need to stop.” “What”? “Sirens, I think you need to stop” “Why” “COPS!!!! I think he is going for his gun!!! STOP!”

Helen pulls over in what really doesn’t seem like a stopping spot’

“Could you please roll your window down”


The officer does the circle thing with his finger.

Helen does a bit of fumbling and the window goes down. 

“Officer, I’m trying to get my husband to the hospital. Can you give me directions?”

The officer although not appearing rough or rude just kind-of stands there like she has driven the car on his foot and he hasn’t the heart to tell her about all the pain he is in.

“Mam, do you know what barricades are for?” 

“Well I didn’t really notice”

“There might have been a bridge out and you would have driven right off the end”

 “Well I’m not stupid. I don’t think”

“Do you know what detour means?”

 “I,,,, I”

 “Do you know what one-way means?”

 “Was I going”

 “Do you realize you are driving on the sidewalk?” 

“Really, I didn’t see any students on ,,,,?”

 “Do you know you don’t have any headlights? Can I have your license and registration please?”

He goes back to his car and Roger and I start discussing things like the closest ATM and between the two of us, can we raise enough for bail? Will I be driving him from now on as it is obvious, she will never have a license again and furthermore, how in the world would we ever get out of where ever we are?

After an extended period of time, the officer comes back.

“I am just giving you a warning this time,”

Hellen interrupts with “Because of all the detours and”.

Roger stabs her in the ribs and the officer starts again.

“I am only giving you a warning this time” and goes through the same speech as before, Roger and I, hoping she can keep it zipped, long enough to get him to leave, or for the sun to come up.

Helen, playing nice cop, nice outlaw, tries to schmooze him with “Can you tell me how to get to the hospital?”

Like putting a maraschino cherry on a chocolate Sunday, he comes back with,

“I wrote the directions on your registration. It is out of date and no good anyway.”

As he walked away, looking a bit drained, Hellen started up the car. Moving cat like, down the sidewalk, on this one-way street, in the wrong direction, toward a small opening in the barricades,,,,,, another alarm horn.

 Brakes on and here comes our friendly officer again, looking even a little less happy than before.

This time he too is driving on the sidewalk and on the passenger side of the car.

Without any urging Roger puts down his window. A little more meaningful the Officer says

“Put your headlights on”

Hellen fiddles around on the dash and Roger says to the officer,

“I just seen the dash lights come on”.

From the officer, by now, not even looking and lost in some kind of report writing, hollers “go ahead and don’t go down any streets with barricades. They are there for a reason.”

Once again Hellen is off and as we slowly pass out of our construction corral and turn the corner Helen is expostulating about his attitude and how he treated her like a child and of course she knew and it wasn’t like she would drive off a bridge in Ann-Arbor.

Roger said, “Those headlights have been out for a long time, when are you going to get them fixed?”

“If you wouldn’t have made your appointment this early, there wouldn’t have been a problem”.

“You made the appointment two months ago!”

“Yes, I may have, but the days were longer than! Come to think of it, I made the appointment for last month and we missed it because you had to stop for a diet coke and chips, causing us to be late”

“That’s not true, we would have made it but you seen a sale sign in a shoe store”.

At the hospital Helen pulls into the valet parking area getting out and turning over the keys of the eyeless coach to me. I watch them cross to the entrance, still going on about some situation which will change color and size many times before the story is through.

Since the virus, I am not allowed to go in with Roger. I miss seeing the blood letters sticking him several times looking for a vein, only so I can make jokes later. I miss telling silly stories to the doctor about Roger. I miss, sitting there with him, redesigning the waiting rooms as well as the personalities of the staff. I miss getting the extra chance to get a chuckle out of Roger.

Sitting here in my assigned spot, I watch the sagacious pair disappear through the door. I think of an elderly cat and an equally senior dog, playfully tearing away at each other, never leaving a scratch or removing a hair.

WJR III   Friday September 4 2020

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