Alternate Title: "If this was a Horror Movie, We'd all be Dead!"
(or: Men and Women Really can't Communicate)
You've all seen them . . . the cheap, predictable horror movies where the square-jawed hero-type guy (herious-pectoris) calls (or otherwise communicates with) the big breasted girl (boobus-maximus) and gives her critical instructions. She then, of course does not follow them explicitly, or dawdles until you want to shout at the screen, "Can't you hear that music! Don't go there! For God's sake, RUN YOU TWIT!"
By the end, you are literally rooting for everybody in the flick, as well as the producers, writers, directors, the morons that financed the thing, and half the audience members to all be munched; or sucked, bled, shriveled, disemboweled, sucked into an alternate universe (ANY alternate universe) or otherwise horribly and permanently killed. They all deserve it anyway . . . I mean how dangerous can a foam rubber puppet covered in dime-store ooze be?
When the monster finally kills the last of the victims you cheer. As you finally stroll out of the theater pulling massive streams of 90mm movie reel film and miscellaneous bits of projector along with you, and flicking your cigarette lighter as kind of a subtle review, the manager just smiles knowingly and gives you a "thumbs up".
But I digress.
Men and women really cannot communicate. Really! Oh, we can talk, we can throw words at each other . . . but they just do not connect. Not on any level. Even the emergency "HELP" one apparently . . .
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning I lost a tire on my motorcycle on my way to work. The massive "High Five" construction zone got me again. Stupid tire only had 1500 miles on it. (How many of you spent nearly $1000 on motorcycle tires in the last 12 months?) This is an area where they are rebuilding the intersection of two major highways and half a dozen service and side streets. Some of the bridges are over 120 feet high! The area has been under construction for my lifetime. Maybe they will finish it someday.
Anyway, I picked up a major nail or something when I passed through the area and when it slung out of the tire a few miles later, the tire (tyre for you off-shore readers) rapidly went flat. It was all I could do to get the bike onto the shoulder without smacking the concrete canyon wall.
Due to some work I have been doing on the bike, and the "locality" of the trip, I managed not to have my plug-gun on the bike. I had the compressor and my toolkit, just no plug gun. Bummer. As I was on the way to work I had my cell phone on me, and being that I was deep in the heart of the largest city in Texas, there was a remote chance it might actually work this time.
I was not about to leave the bike there. Although there are over 25 full-time cops assigned to this section of the highway, all they do is speeding tickets. Any car abandoned here is rapidly destroyed or stolen. I had just passed some poor little white thingy that had all its windows smashed out, the hood and trunk pried open, and three flats. The 4th tire was missing completely.
Options at 5:00am are few. I called the wife. The call actually went through (amazing) so being a pessimist, I tried to get all the critical information across quickly.
"It's me. I've got a flat. I need some help!"
"Bring me my plug kit. It is in a flat, white box on the shelf just outside the door into the garage. It is on top of my drill case, next to the skill-saw!"
That should do it. I knew exactly where it was, as I had deliberately placed it there. The wife knows what all that other stuff is too and should have no trouble finding it.
"Okay. Where are you?"
"I am on the shoulder of southbound Central Expressway . . . just past the Mockingbird exit, almost underneath the McCommas Street bridge."
That should do it. She knows the route I usually take, she knows where Mockingbird Lane is (I broke down there once on another bike, a long time ago), and the bridges on the expressway are all marked so you can tell what they are as you pass underneath them. It is also not hard to spot a 300 pound guy standing right on the side of the highway next to half a ton of gleaming black and chrome machine.
Just for good measure I repeated myself.
"Okay." She hung up the phone.
I waited thirty minutes. Should have taken her about 15, takes me 7.
I called the house. She immediately answered the phone.
"Hi! Where are you?" (polite way of saying "What the hell?")
"I cannot find the gummy things for the tire thing."
She had seen me use a strip plugger on her car once. She could not find those because they will not hold in a motorcycle tire, and I don't have any. Got to give her credit for being observant though, that was years ago.
I tried to be nice, but standing beside the busiest highway in north Dallas watching every 10th car traveling partially on the shoulder until spotting me and swerving back into the road was getting stressful. It is deafeningly loud in the canyon with the building traffic, and I could taste the metallic tang of too much exhaust. My eyes were gritty from the dust. The cell phone was cutting out too.
"No! The white box! On top of my drill case on the shelf by the door!"
In a very frustrating move, she simply hung up. I had wanted to confirm that she found the box and was on her way. I immediately dialed the phone, but it just rang until the machine picked up. I could only assume she was on her way.
Then the cell phone, in its infinite capacity for not working when I need it, beeped, displayed "Conditioning Battery" and then "Discharging". It was now inoperable. I almost tossed it out into traffic. I did kick the concrete wall a couple times though.
About that time a coworker happened by. I turned down a ride, knowing I had help on the way, and still not wanting to leave the bike. He did offer me his phone and I gratefully accepted. Of course I could not call much other than work or home . . . all my numbers were locked in a low-power digital hell inside my dead cell phone.
Three hours later (three hours!), in desperation I called work and pulled my friend Dean out of a class and had him come find me. I'd have called wrecker or something, but could not reach any till after nine am. I had even tried to flag one down as he went by. He cheerfully waved back.
Dean gave me his bike and waited with mine while I went and did two things.
First, I found a restroom to pee. Amazing how much better life is when you don't desperately have to pee. I had been on the verge of whipping it out and relieving myself on the highway . . . but with an estimated 20,000 cars per hour roaring by . . . well, that would have been when the cops stopped by (they had been passing me all morning and avoiding eye contact, after-all, I was not actually speeding, no?).
Second, I found an auto parts store and grabbed a cheap strip plugger (the only kind they carry).
Back to the bike I roared. Plugged the tire, and managed to have 3 more flats getting it to work and later, home. Strip pluggers do not hold in motorcycle tires (a device called a "mushroom plugger" will do the job, that is the kit my wife had . . . somewhere).
When I finally reached the wife (she had given up and gone home) I asked, "What happened?"
"I drove all over Central and I could not find you!"
"Where did you turn around?"
"Why Mockingbird? I said I was past there!" (Polite way of saying, "What the hell?")
I am not making this up . . . "Because that's where you broke down before."
That was three years ago, on a different machine, with a different problem.
I couldn't even be mad, I was laughing too hard. I do get the impression that she is mad at me for not being in the right place. Sigh.
In the end analysis, there was absolutely no relevant information communicated in our conversations, despite my efforts to be concise. Words were exchanged, and actually heard, they just did not mean the same things to both of us. I may as well just tossed the phone into traffic in the first place and tried some sort of physic mind-meld.
We truly are different creatures, men and women. Truly different. I wonder if we can eventually learn to communicate?
The monster would have gotten us all . . .
The Old Tire
The New Tire (this thing's gonna fit?)
Yep. (New Tire)