One or the Other, but not Both

From James’s ‘That’s So Life’ Files:

At the end of the shift Monday I took the elevator down to the garage to collect my car and head home only to find my car, that had been running perfectly when I arrived, did not want to take me home. Because it was a stick shift I was able to coax it home.

Arriving home I got out of the car, popped the hood and found to my surprise:


It certainly explained the behaviour of the car. Although how the oil cap that was on my car at the time I arrived at work was no longer on my car when I finished work 8 hours later is currently a mystery I would very much like to have solved.

I checked to make sure there was still oil in the engine and there was enough that there was no need, or room, to add more.

Feeling relieved that I had not been running the engine without oil I headed into my place, collected a camera and returned to the car to take photos of what had happened, the problem I needed to address to get my car running again. My plan was to return inside, download the pictures, use the internet to get feedback on the pictures and find transportation to secure a used oil cap from a used parts dealer to replace the missing cap and become mobile again.

All the while keeping my fingers crossed that all I need to do is replace the missing cap to become mobile once more.

I sit down at the computer, download the photographs, started my preferred web browser and………….no Internet.

Not unusual, but when nothing restored access to the internet I got up and checked the television to find that all of my [basic] television channels were “not authorized”.

I turned off the television and sat there waiting for the meteorite to crash down and put me out of my misery, hoping the universe was through playing cat to my mouse.

Wondering if the Universe had realized its error all those decades ago and was resetting to give me the life I had ordered; because this certainly was not the life I had ordered.

When it became clear that the Universe had no intention to either stop with the cat and mouse, or to correct its mistake, reset and give me the life I had ordered – that insidious little black thought crawled out of its containment and whispered about how I did not have to suffer this shit and that, although the car’s none running condition to cement bridge supports out of play, there was that great carving knife I had just found in a Thrift store Monday which would go through flesh like a hot knife through butter……..

………..and decided the wisest course of action was to let it go, go to bed and have a long sleep; dealing with things in a calm, rested manner tomorrow [Tuesday].

Arising Tuesday afternoon I set out for the Library, finding out bus fares were now $2.25. Arriving at the Library I signed onto a computer and made my way to the Shaw website and set up a chat. Shaw wanted payment by credit card because it is immediate cash in their pockets, I will spare you the grizzly details but Shaw was reasonable about getting paid by transfer from my bank account.

Leaving me to exit the Library, return home and make the agreed payment to Shaw.

Then sit down and write about how my day went because I still need to set up transportation to replace the oil cap and contact the shelter to let them know I am currently not mobile and until I can get a new oil cap I cannot get to work to cover any extra shifts.

Not to overlooked the fact writing it down is a way of dealing with, putting it in perspective and letting it go.

It occurs to me that Shaw’s warning system [threatening system] is by automated phone calls. With my phone number currently out of service any call by Shaw’s automated phone system would have gotten the automated message that my phone was out of service to which it would have regurgitated its threats of “pay or else” never recognizing that it was making its threats into thin air.

Now there is an interesting mental image: the human race suddenly dies off. As more and more accounts fall into arrears threatening phone calls are made by automated systems to other automated systems, services are cut off by automated systems setting off more calls made by automated systems to automated systems………and on and on…..and should any alien species pass this way they would find a planet full of automated systems threatening each other in a rising cacophony of……….what may be a fitting epitaph for our current society.

There is a science fiction short story in there as the aliens struggle to understand why the dead alien race built all these automated systems to threaten each other and a few other obvious discrepancies of our society. Only you write it in such a manner that it is not revealed that this is an alien race visiting a human lifeless Planet Earth until the last paragraph.

Which still leaves me with the need to deal with the missing oil cap; a situation that demonstrates the pitfalls of poverty that sit there waiting to dump you into, or back into, homelessness.

It is far harder to move from homeless to housed – and stay housed – in this society, economy, point in time than the general public would think it is. Not because the homeless want to be homeless but because of the barriers to becoming housed and all the things that can happen that become barriers to staying housed.

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