Like a deadbolt slamming into place

05.06.05 | 1 Comment

I’m going to divert from my usual boring litany of movie and book reviews and instead tell you a couple of stories.

Story#1: Some of you who know me personally know that I’ve been plagued with lower back problems for the last several years. I’m pretty sure the problem stems from a combination of my damnedable small-boned French ancestry and my love of Southern cooking. I’m probably 20-30 pounds overweight. People with a bigger skeletal frame can carry that extra weight without too much difficulty, but it really wears on a guy like me. Of course, it doesn’t help that I have a three hour round trip commute in the car, nor that I’m a big couch potato. I didn’t have back problems for the year I was taking TaeKwonDo. I didn’t have back problems when I went on the South Beach diet last fall and lost 15 pounds. Now that I’m back in the far north beach (figuratively speaking), the pain has returned.

The same day I was staying home with Ben, I was walking down the hall when… Okay, I think that first sentence bears repeating. All I was doing was walking down the frickin’ hall when something deep down my spine shifted. Violently. When my wife pops her back, it sounds like bubble wrap. This was a single, deep thud, not unlike a deadbolt being slammed home. I stopped and waited for the pain, but it never came. Apparently I didn’t throw out my back. I think I actually threw it back in. Still, two days later all the muscles down there are still very sore and I have to be careful how I move; bend with the knees and all that.

The moral of the story is this: Damn, it sucks getting old.

Story #2: Yesterday after work I had to run some errands but my blood sugar was feeling low. (See story number 1 about being overweight.) So I stopped at Sonic for a soda. I’m not sure if Sonic is a nationwide franchise, but just in case it isn’t let me take a moment to explain just what a Sonic is. Sonic is a throwback to the old drive-in hamburger stands you see in movies from the 50s or Happy Days reruns. Think of it as a themed fast-food restaurant. In all but maybe a few cases, there’s no place inside to eat. You pull your car into one of 20-30 stalls, place your order over an intercom, and a carhop brings you your food. Sometimes they even wear roller-skates like you see in the movies, although that’s pretty rare these days.

Now that you have the idea, picture me pulled into one such stall with my window down and engine off, waiting for my order. I catch movement out of the corner of my eye and see a carhop leave the kitchen with a tray of drinks. Since I figure one of those is probably mine, I watch her in the mirror as she skates out from between two parked cars to cross the driveway straight toward me. Without warning, a maroon sedan enters the tiny picture framed by my side mirror. As quick as that, the car hits the waitress and comes to a stop. The waitress falls to the pavement, her tray and drinks tossed to the fates. My first instinct is to leap out of the car and check on her, but shamefully I don’t. Instead I sit and watch the drama unfold in my tiny reflective TV set. I can’t hear anything of what is said, but the driver gets out of the car and comes around to the front. She’s grossly overweight. Fat. Her posture doesn’t speak of concern, nor the way she casually drops her cigarette and crushes it underfoot instead of bending over to help the fallen waitress.

The waitress fell on her side, but she climbs up as far as her hands and knees before stopping. She reaches around and rubs her back a few times, and I wish I could hear what is being said. She reaches out and tries to recapture the money that had been on the tray before it blows away. Eventually the manager comes out and helps her up, and a co-worker helps her inside. He says a few words to the driver, who gets back into her car and drives away.

In all fairness, they were both probably equally to blame. The driver was going too fast through the driveway, but the carhop should have come to a complete stop and checked before skating out from between the two parked vehicles. This story doesn’t really have a moral, other than maybe be careful. I’m still ashamed I didn’t get out of the car to see if I could help, even though it looked like there was nothing for me to do.

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1 Comment

Comment by Jerry
2005-05-09 13:52:51

I know all about the North Beach. I actually lost 50 on the South Beach before I decided to head north again.

You should be ashamed for not getting out of the car. lol

But seriously the way things are today the driver probably would have belted you. That would have knocked your back out of whack again. The force of the blow would have knocked you down on top of the dazed waitress. Boom, your nailed with a sexual harassment suit. Then you have to go home and explain it all to your wife.

Life is too complex.

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