Let’s talk about Mondays for a second. I typically have no particular anger or disapproval of Mondays as a whole, even when I’m not working in my preferred job. I treat Mondays like I do any other Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (Friday will forever be the exception). I always see the “Ugh, Monday” posts on social media, by and far the majority of the hate happens on Facebook and Instagram. Hell, I’ve even join in the melee for the heck of it. My perspective is not determined by the day of the week. Usually.
This Monday was different. Its story actually starts on Sunday. I spent my weekend at home with my fav teenager (I promise there’s no sarcasm in that) doing what we normally do on the weekends, annoy each other. He was fighting me in his ever so calm, ever so emo toned voice about getting a haircut; he never thinks he needs them especially when he needs them. We’d negotiated to postpone the haircut until the following weekend when he’d be in a semi-hostage situation with his grandparents (my parents) and his dad. Instead of haircuts and other lovely errands I had my monthly outing with him “taking me” to brunch at a lovely local spot called “Home Grown”. I’ll delve into the purpose of our monthly dates in another post. (I promise. Scout’s honor. #ImNotAScoutThough) Aside from the garden variety Atliens, you know the sort; the after the club girls in their Loubs, ruffled weaves and loosely attached lashes the crowd seemed average. The men half aware of where they are yet clearly aware their “last night” was not intended to spill over into “this morning”. I followed the teenager’s eyes as he soaked it all in and let out an occasional sigh as if he were saying “what’s wrong with people”, I also followed his eyes to ensure I didn’t see anyone I knew. You know, on the off chance that may happen.
We had a decent brunch, wrapped up my leftovers and started back towards my car, Frank. I wasn’t eager to start the car because earlier in the week prior I’d began to notice a noise that was all too familiar to me, the professional used car owner. I was certain my cv joint was on the way out. We piled into my sweet ass ride, and I turned the key. Sputter. Ok, let’s try this again. SQUEALLLLLLLLL!!! I promise it sounded like a pig being bled (don’t google it). I felt my entire body sink into my well, worn leather seat. I didn’t glance at the teenager because as emo as he is he can be just as “It’s ok mom” cheerful that it’s depressing. I gave it another go, and it started, squeal and all. I went through the motions of driving the 5 miles home but in utter disbelief that it was my car making all that noise.
We finally make it home, the both of us with a newfound appreciation for hearing, and as we’re passing through the gates of our neighborhood, we both notice the sound has completely disappeared. As I parked, neither of us questioned the sudden ceasing of the screeching, we quietly emptied Frank and hurried into the house.
I’d reluctantly agreed to dinner with a friend, what I’ll call a “pseudo date” (dude doesn’t stand a chance), and instead of thinking about his required “dress up” attire, my mind was flooded with my squealing Frank.
A few hours later I’m QUIETLY driving to Castleberry Hill to meet up with my friend. He’s prepared a nice meal, and we’re enjoying conversation and wine afterwards when I blurt out “My car is broken!” He calms me down the best way he knows how which for this obsessive compulsive cleaner means he clears the tables and we say our goodbyes. My feet ache as I dive into my car ready to head home and shower, it is Sunday night and the work week begins in a matter of hours.
I turn the key ready for the squeal, and on cue my car lets out the oh so annoying noise. I’m paralled parked along the side of the road and trying to exit my perfect spot but the steering wheel has no give. None. It feels like one of the first cars I owned – one without power steering. I want to give in and cry, instead I pick up my phone and dial.
“I’m stuck!” I say with every hint of frustration intended.
“Hold on there what do you mean you’re ‘stuck’?” he replies calmly.
“I mean I can’t get out, the steering wheel won’t move and it’s really hard to turn and I’m stuck!”
I want to shed real tears but they won’t come. I won’t allow them.
I hurry off the phone, “It’s ok, lemme try again and I’ll call you back.”
I muster up my last bit of upper body strength and begin turning the wheel, the squeal isn’t as loud and I’m in a neighborhood where they probably wouldn’t have noticed. There’s a kick and I’m off. I don’t know what happened, but it happened. I loudly hurry home, only to meet my community’s gate with silence. Yep, the squeal has suddenly stopped somewhere along the 10 mile commute. I back into my usual spot and rush inside.
In my head I know “This belt isn’t expensive, go fix it first thing in the morning.” I shoot an email to my boss, there’s practically no need as she doesn’t respond to any communications that aren’t client related. I let her know I’ll be in late and I’m not feeling well. It is true that I’m not feeling well…my auto issues have created an anxiety that can only be soothed by shelling out a couple of hundred dollars to my local German speciality mechanic.
Early the next morning I see the teenager off and I wait a bit to allow traffic to die down before picking up my trip, “Afterall the mechanic isn’t more than 8 miles away, it’s just a belt it shouldn’t take more than an hour to replace, I should be at work by noon at the latest.” I’ve reasoned all this in my head.
I pull into Karma and I speak with the usual suspects as they go back to assess just what the problem is (because you know this short, young, lady CAN’T know what’s wrong) I turn and settle down on the worn but clean sofa. My phone battery is at 38% but I’m not worried because this won’t take more than an hour, remember? Instead I pull out my tablet and begin feeding Candy Crush addiction only to be disturbed with, “Can you come here let me show you something?” Crap. I know from the beckoning finger that it’s not just the belt. My relatively clean mechanic leads me past a couple of other sweet ass rides to my car. He points inside with his lit flashlight, ‘you see those pieces down there?’
Pieces. Perfect. The pieces he’s referring to are the pully system that the damaged belt revolve around, I’d have to replace that (not cheap) in order for the belt (cheap) to actually be fixed. We return to the front office together, they have determined they don’t have the part and it won’t be in until later that afternoon. After more conversation I make the decision to go home and wait for them to call and have a friend take me to pick it up.
Now let’s diverge for a second and talk about this lovely city of Atlanta. A city often billed as the “New York of the South”. Aside from the brown people I don’t get the equation. Atlanta as a city is basically closed after midnight or 1 at the latest during the week. Our public transit system looks like a primary schooler’s attempt at the letter “t”. Everything is so spread out, even well within city limits, investing in a bike and living ITP make sense because you certainly will NOT be able to walk everywhere.
Ok, with that bit of knowledge I begin my trek to the Marta station. It’s within walking distance of the mechanic’s shop and since I’m not far from home, surely there’s a bus that can drop me off near home. I check my phone, there’s no REAL Marta app with maps and schedules. Disappointed but not suprised, I wander the train station looking for maps or a schedule or a Marta employee. I find maps…none of the buses leaving that station are going my way, taking the train means I would have to travel west into the heart of the city, transfer then head north. My 12 minute drive is nearly an hour by train and bus. Way to go Atlanta. I ring my best friend and ask her to pick me up, but the sketchy characters following me around the station and the lack of police security have me hesistant to stick around.
I hop on the train and head to her office. My back is beginning to hurt and I remember that not only have I not eaten, but I certainly did not take my meds this morning. I text and ring her, nothing. I use my working knowledge to lay low and let my BRF (Bitchie resting face, google it) take over for the rest of my ride on Marta.
I won’t even begin to go into the assortment of random people lingering, walking and shuttling their way through the stations. One was so far into my personal space on a very open train that I decided the next stop was mine. I meandered around while my phone charged at the AT&T store in the square. One pit stop at my bike shop and another at the newly renovated and renamed “T Mac” put me at ease. Wonderous things alcohol and food. Wonderous I tell ya. I retrive my phone and continue my trek, two hours have passed and no call from the mechanic. I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach, my car may not be ready until tomorrow.
On the train I maintain my BRF and low profile all the while gazing at strangers in their colorful bits and pieces, having their loud conversations about who just got out of jail and when they can “hook up” with so and so. Marta is the poor people’s best option to people watching if you don’t have a ticket to get you into the terminals at the Atlanta Airport. Before I know it I’m transferring trains, walking briskly to avoid the crazies the 5 Points station is notorious for.
I walk into Marie’s office relieved, tired and with a full bladder. This is my first time in her office and I look like a bum. I make a mental thank you to myself for putting on a bra and deodorant before going to the mechanic. She’s excited to see me, or at least that’s what it feels like and I’m glad for it. She feeds me a sugar laden doughnut and I relax.
I begin to unload on her as she wraps up her day and I get the call. “Your car will be ready tomorrow.”
“Great, because I’m not coming back today. See you tomorrow!” I quickly reply.
My phone shuts down and that’s that. It’s nearly 6pm and I’d been out on the road and on my feet and on the train since 9 am. Herniated disk and fever in tow. Yep, that’s how you do a “Monday”.