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Journey of the Heart

January 11, 2019

By Jerry Carton

A winter Wednesday


    My car was not happy. Not at all. It didn't like the slippery and steep hill which passes for a driveway at the Health Center and it was seriously struggling. It didn't struggle for long though. An orange light on my dashboard started flashing and the car decided to simply stop moving forward, the heat was working, the lights were on but the car just wasn't going anywhere.

    That was my predicament early this morning. I could go backwards but definitely not forward. 

    It didn't feel like I was stuck on an ice patch, so as I silently cursed another New England winter, my 19th if you're counting, I wasn't sure what was going on. I called AAA, renewed the membership which had expired yesterday, and settled in for the inevitable wait.

    Several people stopped to ask if I was okay and if I needed help. That was thoughtful and kind. I didn't know any of them. That made their inquiries even nicer. Trouble often brings out the best in us.

    So I waited. I read. I played with my phone. And waited some more. About 45 minutes after this not-at-all fun experience began, the guy who plows the health center driveway rolled by pushing slush and muck out of the way. I'd already called my mechanic who obviously couldn't diagnose the problem over the phone and that frustrated me. I was expecting some sort of x-ray vision? 

    I was getting anxious. Most of us with the bi-polar disorder don't do well with interruptions to routine and definitely don't do well with anxiety. The AAA dispatcher had told me just to stay where I was of course, and someone else told me not to put the car back in drive because I might be accelerating a transmission issue given the blinking light. I was famished too. I was up there for a fasting cholesterol test. My mood was darkening.

    The hell with that. The plow guy had created a path. I threw the car in reverse, backed a few yards down the Mt. Everest of a driveway and then pushed the gear into drive and hoped for a miracle. The car grunted and lurched an inch or two forward and suddenly almost careened up the hill.

    I grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and voila, we were free. I immediately drove to my mechanic and as it turned out the blinking orange light was trying to tell me to hit some button on the panel below the radio which evidently helps straighten wheels? Who knew? I know less about cars than I do fashion.

    My tale is not unique. Many of you have no doubt endured similar experiences in the wake of messy storms which drop a lot less snow than was forecast but a lot more junky mixture and which freeze every night. Winters north of, say Atlanta, are often not fun and winters north of NYC even less so. But that was just the first of my angst for the day.

    My AIC is 6.8. I'm not diabetic. I've known diabetics, not just Courtney, who would be pleased with a 6.8. For a non-diabetic though, while 6.8 isn't horrendous, neither is it particularly good, either. My cholesterol was awful last spring, probably because I didn't really care. It was too soon after Courtney's death to care about much of anything but now it's a lot better. It helps when you take your meds the right way so that's good.

    But 6.8. That was a bit of a jolt. I have to improve my diet, which I really haven't thought was bad. I used to joke about bacon more than I ever ate it and I don't eat it at all now. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but hearing 6.8 was the perfect ending to a miserable morning.

    No, this was not a good day. On the other hand, I'm not a furloughed federal worker. The State of the Union? There's nothing in the Constitution mandating POTUS shows up to deliver it to a joint meeting (not session). In fact, between Jefferson and Wilson, they didn't. It became a spectacle only when it became a TV show. In fact, there is no constitutional mandate for a SOTU at all, only that POTUS "from time to time", report to Congress on how things are going. I think we all know the answer to that anyway. Right? Is it spring yet? Sigh…