July 2nd, 2006


Temporarily out of Service…

(written at work on paper, breaking the rule about blogging, on Tuesday night when volumes were low)

This is going to be one of those curl-up-into-a-ball moments. You see, I had a car accident today. Aside from the monetary impact of this (which is tragic in a short-term sense), I feel generally touchy, and still somewhat in shock. I just want to go home and curl up into… (wait, I said that already) and sleep.

But, somehow, life goes on. What if someone had gotten hurt? All I have is a bit of jitteriness, and the feeling of being chewed up and spat out by Fate. Oh, this accident was my fault, no doubt about it. I rear-ended somebody when my brakes failed. I was going too fast approaching the first traffic light on Bayer’s Road after coming down off the elevated highway. The guy got out and said, “Where’s the race, buddy?”

You’d think I’d have learned about impatience from my accident in December 2001, when I totalled my mom’s Jeep (due to bending of the frame) by running headlong into a power pole. The impatient part was that the shortcut I was taking was greasy and unsalted, whereas the main road was passable and salt-strewn. You’d think I’d have learned. But not me, I was too dumb.

Anyway, the end result of all this is that my continuing to drive may be unsustainable. The car needs:

- New ABS system (Incidentally, driving with ABS doesn’t make one stop any faster, it’s just a computer system that pumps the breaks for you to prevent your wheels from locking up. The danger comes when the car thinks it has ABS (the error light is *off*), and begins to act strangely, even when stopping from relatively low speeds.)

- A/C (as if)

- Major underbody work – the mechanic points out new cracks and chasms every time I visit.

- And now, a new passenger door and mirror, as that’s the part that struck the Jeep when I spun out today.

And this definitely puts an end to having any further sort of fun, of course.

It could be worse, a straight hit from behind would have been more damaging for both vehicles involved, and I probably would have been somewhat hurt. On the Jeep Liberty, I punched in a bit of the left side of his back bumper and smashed the left taillight covers.

I suppose one bright part in all this is that when I go to SMU this fall, I’ll be getting the U-pass, which will cover my bus use for September through April. I’ll also get the exercise inherent in the 25-minute walk to my bus stop.

I was going to be walking to the bus at least until December anyway, so if I need to trudge through snow a few more times in January than I would otherwise have, no matter. It’ll remind me to be more careful when I drive.

I ended up meeting Tanya for our outing, which was mostly therapeutic because it helped me put my problems in perspective. Mrs. B. (joining us later for medical reasons and treating us to tea and cake) said she wouldn’t settle for anything less than a PhD from me. It was a helpful vote of confidence. And it was a beautiful, hot day.

You might be asking why I went ahead with the outing, after calling my mom. Well: 1) I was in no shape to be driving anymore, I was more of a wreck than the actual car, and getting off the road as soon as possible was Priority One. 2) After paying so, so dearly for the outing, why not go ahead with it?

Amusingly, one of the chief complaints on Tanya’s part that day was that she went to a pseudo-dollar store downtown and paid $3.19 for a little notebook that she assumed would cost a dollar. I mean to say that she kept bringing it up almost every time there was gap in the conversation. I asked her how long she was going to gripe about it, and she said “I’ll carry it to the grave!” It reminds me of one time when I was babysitting my sisters Ila and Rae and Ila was quite desirous of having just me reading to her with Rae waiting in her own room. Of course Rae was quite happy to be present, which annoyed Ila. I said, “You know, one of you is going to have to compromise.” Ila said, smiling, “Not meeee!” But Ila was 5 at the time.

At least it all makes me laugh.

i've lost the war; prepare for unconditional surrender

... And if that were the end of the story, I’d just call it a rough week, a learning experience to remember, and move on.

I still have to move on, but I have no idea as to how I’m going to do it.

The remaining days at work had their rough moments, each serving to remind me why I intend to resign effective the end of July, and steeling my resolve therewith. And sometimes I’d just be a little bit tired, closing off my calls with, “Well, thank you very much for calling Sprint, together with Nextel, and my name is Will,” instead of the more mainstream, “have a wonderful day.” I guess all jobs have their ups and downs, though; it’s just that this one doesn’t quite cut it for a long-term stay.

Saturday was both Canada Day and my stepfather’s birthday. We had a little barbeque and get together here at the house. In the evening we had originally planned to go to my Uncle Cliff’s house on the Dartmouth waterfront to see the fireworks, and so I regretfully turned down a quick invitation from Mrs. B. to come down for the evening and join their little party. (I guess it was well that I did.)

After 9pm, I realized that my mother and stepfather weren’t actually going to go anywhere, and that I was free for the evening (my assistance would have been necessary to get Paul and his wheelchair into Uncle Cliff’s). Ryan had invited me to his BBQ via MSN, so I suddenly got the idea to call Tanya and see if she’d like to go.

So I called Tanya, and got Mrs. B. – Tanya was sequestered on the phone with her “boyfriend.” This was news to me, so I asked, “Oh, you mean Alex?” Yes, it was Alex, who I thought was halfway across the country right now. (Rats.) Knowing how attractive that vacuous, innocuous, simpleton-yet-Mensan is to her, I just gave up and said I’d be going to Ryan’s BBQ – tell her if you like.

I also called Catherine, and to my delight she was already there when I arrived. They all booted me out of the house to retrieve marshmallows, but I was back in plenty of time to catch the fireworks, which we watched from the nearby bridge.

Later on we’re having a lively conversation in front of the fire, and Catherine and Ryan are talking about when they first met. Ryan thought for a moment that it was at Mike Fox’s party (a very good, but not quite accurate guess), and he even proactively mentioned that it was the night he massaged Tanya for 2+ uninterrupted hours. I was still vaguely sore about that even unto last night, and I kind of tore into him about it. I won’t repeat the language I used here – not to say that I was swearing per se, but I probably crossed over the line of friendly joshing.

Don’t worry; they had a leg up on me:

“Um, Will, when did you last to talk to Tanya?”
“Tuesday! We went to the park.”
“And what’s new with Tanya?”
“Well, she broke up with D****e, she’s starting new courses on the 4th, she’s hanging around with this Alex guy a lot…”
“Yes, and…?”
“Well, what?”
Catherine chimed in, “Do you think she’ll tell him?”
Ryan, “I don’t think she’ll ever tell him. She’ll probably deny it for years!”
“What? What is it? What?” (repeat, ad nauseum)

“She’s engaged.”

“To Alex?!”

_juju_: “Cricket, cricket.”

The rest may be best left to your imagination. Thanks to the help of my friends, I was able to laugh a bit again, but even unto this morning I’m still in a state of shock. This caught me completely off-guard; I mean, I guess it’s none of my business who Tanya likes (except that I’m sometimes deluded that it’s me), but I even heard it from Alex that they were just friends not that long ago (well, more than two months ago, I suppose, and I guess a lot can happen in that time, but I thought he’d had built his VW Beetle and was 5,000 kilometres away by now).

Do they have a ring and a date? No. But wait, why do I care? Why does this have to hurt so much? Why is it so humiliating to accept that I’ve finally, irretrievably, lost the war?

What am I supposed to do now? What do I do the next time I see her? Congratulate her, I guess. #@%&$. I don’t want to. I want a one-way ticket to Neptune.

I suppose, since I’m being so immature about this, I probably don’t deserve her anyway. Actually, everybody who was there says that I can do better, but there’s a big difference between potentially being able to do better and actually doing it.

I feel like I’ve got next to nothing left to live for. I know that soon this will all be just an unpleasant memory, and that I’ll have new values, and I’ll be happier and wiser than ever. I just have no idea how I’m going to get from here to there.