It surely has been an interesting 24 hours. Hallucinatory chess with my client Lloyd.
At one point, Lloyd stared at the board much like a grandmaster would, a pillar of incredible concentration. Then he attempt to take a new piece out of his pocket and place it on the table, giving himself a new queen, I suppose.
“What are you doing, Lloyd? I said. He smiled, benignly, almost as if seeing the absurdity of what he had just done:
“You are incredibly patient.” I smiled.
“Well, thanks Lloyd. I get a small sense of what you must be going through.” Lloyd, unmoved by his increasing confusion and hallucinatory bouts, even wanted, as he said: ‘another crack at chess’- as if he may be able to prove himself in the next game. Some misguided hope that in this new game, some brain clarity my magically return. I always try to angle our games towards a draw, via perpetual check or repetition of the same moves 3 times. Sometimes I resign and show him how it is futile for me to continue.
“You see Lloyd, you have me!” I confess.
As I was readying to leave, Lloyd needed one more bathroom run. All day bathroom excursions had been taken via wheelchair but Lloyd decided that it was ‘walker time’.
He is so unsteady on his walker now that I keep my hand on his low back and am ready to catch him at a moment’s notice.
He snailed it towards the bathroom, like a sleeping tortoise.
By the time he arrived, apparently, urinary movement was immanent.
I did not know this.
I helped him get his pants down and advised him that he needed to turn towards the toilet or sit down. He did neither. He began peeing on the floor and against the side wall of the bathroom.
“Lloyd, Lloyd, no!” I said and inwardly ‘Oh, shit’. “You, you are peeing on the floor!” I exclaimed to no avail.
He just kept peeing.
It was like he was in a hallucinatory trance. Finally Lloyd, not quite done with his pee session, declared matter-of-factly:
“I use to live on a farm.” I smiled deep in an inner chuckle before Lloyd finished with:
“This is how we did it on the farm.” Okay Lloyd, as you will.
Lloyd then tried, against my utterly worthless objections, to put TP down to soak up the pool of urine, then patting it down with his house slippers.
Morning came with only a small relief from incessant nausea, brain fog and inability to sleep. Time for the mechanic.
No not for me, for my car!
You see, when my father died 3 years ago, my car a 1999 Toyota Corolla was as they say ‘on the fritz’–fast approaching 250,000 miles. So mom, some months after dad passed on, got a new car, and gave both of her other cars away to family members. My gift, was a free, 6 year old, 2007 Hyundai Accent. She has been a great car. Until recently, no problems, then a recent string of maintenance events occurred: new front brakes and rotors, a frozen lug nut, and a bent rim (grazed a boulder from a recent slide on a country road descent).
Then it was time for the back brakes this am. I was driving on highway with my mechanic’s son, Dan. He wanted to hear the sound I had told them about before looking at my rear brakes (that needed replacement). We could not hear a thing. It was like the noise gods were napping. Then, it happened. Whoof. POOF! Followed by an instant loss of compression and ability to accelerate. Gas smell. I coasted to the side of highway. My mechanic’s son (a mechanic himself) said:
“Let me drive.” We switched and he coasted the car along the frontage downhill (we had gravity on our son, heading west towards the ocean). We got up to 45 mph, and he merged on to main highway in commuter traffic, navigated through some tight areas and managed to have enough ‘coast’ to make it to a property management parking lot on the side of Ocean Street, just officially into Santa Cruz proper!
He could walk back half a mile to work over one of the San Lorenzo river bridges and I could call AAA for a tow to their auto shop.
With an hour wait on my hands and my own urinary engine ready, I dashed into the nearby woods. Number two would be a bit more challenging. First: a half mile walk to a small shopping center adjacent the San Lorenzo River. Stop number one Pet Smart. Bathroom closed for repairs. Then to Ross, bathroom inoperative. Okay, let’s try Office Max. Bathroom closed. I asked some nearby employees:
“Is the bathroom closed to prevent homeless from using it or is it really closed.
“I think it is really closed.” What?! This was code for, ‘we are not gonna tell ya’.
“Well, what bathroom do you guys use.” No answer.
“Such bullshit!” I said, before walking to the exit.
I finally bought something at a nearby coffee shop so I could use the bathroom.
As I was walking back with a greek grub breakfast burrito, that I did not want (gluten), was not hungry for, I passed a homeless man getting out of his nearby tent. He was happy to have a warm breakfast burrito.
Minutes after I got back to my car, the AAA tow driver, Mark, arrived. A 40-year veteran with a brand new 2018 truck.
“What seems to be the problem he said.
I described the vehicular maelstrom that had ensued. Instantly he injects:
“Let me listen to the sound when we try to turn it over?” He says. He turns the key and hears the sound.
“Timing belt.” Yep, that’s it for sure.
“Wow, how did you know that. Are you a mechanic, too?!
“No, 40 years as a tow truck driver.”
He was right.
My mechanic Calvin is having one of his guys tear down the engine to get to the belt. It takes a couple of hours or so. If driving at high speed when the timing belt breaks, worse odds of major engine damage. It is possible that once a new belt is put on, the car will be okay. We shall see in the coming times.
I am not in charge of this divine drama, just a participant, a character in the movie. All I can do is surrender and play my part well.
There’s not much to do: Love all beings and know what I am at the most essential level. Very simple!