(Evil personified in harmless-looking midcentury seating).
This is so why I hate cars. The weekend before last, Devyn rented a car to buy new furniture and shift old furniture between his apartment and mine. It was Sunday at 8:45 a.m. The damned midcentury-modern chair wouldn’t fit into the back seat without a fight. It was a fight that I lost. Trying to shift the front passenger seat forward to make more room, my back made a crunch that I heard, without the aid of air-carried sound waves, rumble up through my body. Waiter, check please.
It was the kind of back mishap that you feel instantly. From that moment, I was unable to stand up straight for the rest of the day and well into last week. But I had to help Devyn run errands in the ‘burbs, so there we were. Me with my seatback straight up and down bitching about every bump in the road. Me walking like a duck through Borders Books. Me leaning on a cart in Home Depot to disguise the fact that I was bent over like Tim Conway from the old man skit on The Carol Burnett Show.
Anal retentive that I am, though by the end of the day I was living on Icy Hot and Aleve, I couldn’t fight the urge to vacuum and rearrange my living room to make the new furniture fit in. I think it was the stoner buzz I always seem to get off of Aleve that was driving me (this is not a selling point).
The madness continued into Monday as I decided to work from home but made two round-trips into work anyway, the second time being read the back-health riot act by my boss and summarily sent home to consider yoga and the error of my ways.
Later in the week, I became one of those people you wonder about in the bathroom stalls. You know the ones, they’re in there forever but you can’t hear them pee? Well, they’re putting on Icy Hot and trying not to drop their shirts in the john.
And then the futon came. The futon that I waited six weeks for but didn’t care because the online store’s webmaster had transposed two prices and I got a $240 mattress for an erroneous $160 price. (I worked the ethics of the situation by telling them about their mistake first, then placing an online order–I figured if they didn’t catch it after that, the karma police wouldn’t either). So I dragged the 60-pound monster from receiving to the 38th floor and dragged my flat mattress out. This was also about the time that I realized even Aleve has its limits.
Luckily, sometime on Saturday the pain and the drug buzz both began to wane and I was finally eye-to-eye with my front-door peephole again instead staring into the doorknob. With a clearer head, I decided to forgive the chairs. I blame it all on the car seat.
This is why I don’t drive. I’m a former transit planner. Cars and I don’t mix well. I can barely get into and out of one without injuring myself or the car. Sometimes both. I was raised on the subway. I live off the L. I figure, I was born to take transit or be driven around by cute guys. It’s worked so far.
My one mistake was stepping in when Devyn was about to move the seat before I tried to do it myself. What the hell do I know about how cars work? The first time I ever (ever, in my life, to the age of 35) pumped gas was the afternoon of the injury. And while you pick your jaw up off the floor on that one, you should be more surprised that I didn’t manage to blow up the car.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.