Thursday, October 10, 2019


I have long acknowledged these trifling entries of mine constitute a catharsis. After a day such as I have had today it serves enormous release to dwell upon the particulars. Be assured I have no intention of trying your good nature by submerging the discourse into the muck! Instead my resolve is to summarize the events sufficiently to disclose the thrust of what transpired while at the same time permitting me to deliver myself from the emotion. To a degree the enterprise is not far removed from the ceremony of the evening cocktail.

The bedside alarm beeped at 5:45 am this morning.  Heralding as it did the scheduled oil change of my precious motor vehicle I unhesitatingly threw back the duvet and cheerfully commenced my matutinal ritual (as energetically that is as one can be when wrought with chronic arthritis before the first handful of pills kick in). Later, refreshed and tranquillized, with a tiny crisp apple in hand, I was on the road to the car dealership before seven o'clock, adapting as best I could to the frantic commuter traffic.

The reason for the enthusiasm surrounding this morning's mundane objective was that it constituted what I fashioned an astute preparation for our upcoming six-month sojourn in Florida. While in Florida - except when we occasionally divert ourselves to the southern keys - the vehicle doesn't get much use.  Longboat Key where we reside is a small but self-sufficient barrier island, 8½ miles long by 1½ miles wide. Most of our time is spent on the island - primarily cycling, relaxing by the pool or sea, reading, writing, eating and sleeping - and pretty much in that order.  On the island there is a grocery store, a hair salon, several waterfront restaurants, two resort wear stores, a "package" store, a gas station and car wash, fabulous bicycle paths, equally attractive private and public beaches and golf courses. There is little incentive or necessity to travel beyond our immediate surroundings. Once over the bridge to the mainland - either south to Sarasota or north to Bradenton Beach - the atmosphere becomes instantly frenetic, urban and "popular".

It was not long after nine o'clock that my day's agenda was satisfactorily concluded.  The service writer at the dealership even had the courtesy to preface his report of the oil change by noting "there’s no bad news".  All was well with the mechanics, the tyres, the air pressure, the locks, etc. He even commented that the brake pads appear not to have been used at all, something which rather tickled me considering there is already in excess of 20,000 kms on the car which I bought only months ago on May 6th.  After a quick look around the car - and opening the hood as though I knew what I was doing - I pushed off homeward.  I called ahead to the apartment and we arranged to foregather at the golf club to put on the nosebag.

Anyone who understands life at all knows that this seraphic existence was doomed before long. Though our breakfast was nonpareil - and the subsequent drive to Renfrew to collect an item was cloaked in autumnal scenery - the discovery that there was a scratch alongside the driver's door did nothing to strengthen me.  I called the dealership directly and - without laying blame at anyone's feet - arranged to have a technician buff the damage.  I combined this exploit with the torquing of the wheel nuts which is standard after 100 kms following the rotation of the tyres.

Not to expand needlessly, when I subsequently headed to a coffee shop to reignite the accomplishments of the day, several events suddenly occurred in succession while alighting from the car in the parking lot.  There were two telephone calls from two different representatives of Bell Canada to address what have been on-going dilemmas concerning our mobility and internet services.  Although both matters had (I thought) been fully and completely dealt with as recently as yesterday, it appears there were minor details to iron out.  Notwithstanding the generally agreeable conversations with the Bell representatives, the fact of the matter is that communicating with Bell elicits a knee-jerk anxiety. Given the relieving gist of the conversations however I would safely have recovered my affable mien were it not for the discovery while on the phone of a scratch along the leather armrest in the front seat of the car!

Again I will spare my reader the irrelevant collateral of this unanticipated annoyance.  Suffice it to say that I dealt with it and moved onto the coffee shop.  There, inspired once again to embrace the "best of all possible worlds" I bought a triple espresso Americano coffee which I proceeded to pay with my credit card. Feeling magnanimous I added a healthy tip to the charge.  The barista, when returning from the coffee machine to get my receipt, noted that the tip would be attributed to the owner of the establishment - not to her - so she proceeded to reverse the tip out of the charge in order to convert it to cash for deposit to the "cup" adjacent the cash machine on the counter.  As might be expected the technical adjustment did not go swimmingly, though it too was resolved after sustained effort.

As I sat outside sipping my coffee I felt that I had been subjected to Chinese water torture - that is, insanity by ceaseless minute drops over a prolonged period.

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