Thursday 12 June 2014

Third Hand

I wrote this about a week ago while Tsunami and mom were still in the hospital. They are out of the hospital now and seem to be getting into a rhythm, bonding, feeding and biding time until Poppa decides Tsunami is old enough to play with.

I've been to the hospital a couple of times in the past few days, and it is looking like I will be making another trip tonight. The health care professionals don’t want to release Tsunami and mom until they are sure everything is working the way that it should be working. That is good and right, but the hospital is no place to get rest or even get comfortable.

I know I shouldn't complain, but for places that are so very concerned with cleanliness, hospitals are teeming with germs of all kinds, fluids that should have remained inside and people who are hacking, spewing and snorting. I’m talking about the visitors. I ran into a guy on my way to the car the other day after I had paid a visit to the most beautiful girl in the world. He came up to me and asked if I could do him a favour. I gave him my stock answer for situations like this, “That all depends on the favour I suppose.”

I was hoping it wasn't a request for money, because my pockets were full of change and my wallet was bulging with bills. Don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't have given him anything, but it’s easier to tell someone you don't have any money when you don’t jingle with every step. It turns out that he wanted some help to get his car started. Of all the people that go in and out of the hospital, this poor schmuck came to me for mechanical help. This is a case of I have some bad news for you and some worse news.

I told him I would do what I could to help, but pretty much anytime that I come close to an internal combustion engine, the laws of physics go out the window. He said that all I had to do was to turn the key while he worked the gas pump. That sounds pretty easy. I figured he would pop the hood, but when he jumped into the back of the pickup I was lost. He told me to go ahead and as soon as I turned the key the engine started. When I say I turned the key, there was no key, just the place where a key should have gone.

Now I started to worry about leaving finger prints on the steering wheel. I rubbed my coat over where I’d touched, just in case. It turns out that he had cut a section of the truck bed out so that he could easily access the gas pump which is attached to the gas tank. I told him I loved vehicles like this and I had one myself years ago. The only reason I got rid of it was that the engine dropped out of it.

He told me that he had the truck for about two transmissions and when it needed a third, a buddy bought it off of him. His friend replaced the transmission, bought new tires, fixed the brakes and did a whole bunch of other things just before he died. The dead friend’s brother called my new buddy and told him to come and get this truck…free. That was three years ago and I think this truck is staying with its current owner.

He didn't look too good and I suspect he was coming from treatments at the cancer centre, but he may have been visiting a sick friend. We chatted about the weather, shared a couple of laughs, wished each other a good day and I drove off. I suspect he did too, but that truck obviously has a mind of its own.

I felt good that I helped, even though it was just a matter of being a third hand; sometimes that is all it takes to make someone’s day.

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