"I am not a smart man.” – Forrest Gump
More from the winter of my discontent… and discomfort… and dislocations.
I had made it back to my street on the day after President’s Day, after abandoning my car (actually KM’s car) a few blocks away. I crossed Pebble Beach, and with feet secure on my neighbor’s yard, I began the walk upward. I had made another error in judgment by being on the side of the street across from my house.
The street was impossible for me to walk across, so I went low. Then I decided to send my laptop case on ahead, so I gave it the old heave-ho, but with not enough heave, and it barely made it to the opposite curve before heading back down the street.
“Are you serious, Clark?” – Cousin Eddie upon hearing Clark tell the children that radar had spotted Santa on Christmas Eve.
Still on my rear end, I began scooting myself as fast as I could, trying to catch the runaway black leather case, which seemed to be gaining momentum.
Who was watching this sickening scene?
I slid, watching my bag from one eye while watching the windows of our house with the other, looking for a shadow of a laughing KM. But I couldn’t tell if that figure I saw, through the glass darkly, was her or my imagination, or perhaps old Jack Frost himself, planning on taking my place after I was swept over the crystallized street into the open sewers, never to be seen again.
Oh, right, the laptop bag. I had propelled myself fast enough to overtake it by the curbside just at the end of my yard, where I pounced on it; or pounced as much as one can from a supine crouch.
Vertical again, the bag and I began our ascent toward my front door. There would be no more falls, not on this day. No, now the concern was the heart, which was pumping as fast as it could. At the front door, KM met me.
“Are you OK?” her inquiring mind wanted to know.
“Did you see that?” I cringed.
And I could tell by her reaction she hadn’t. This is the same love of my life who had laughed hysterically one day as I stumbled around a men’s clothing store, my head bound by a too-tight polo shirt that was trying to kill me. So if she had seen the amateur ice capades that had just taken place out her front window, I would have known.
“Nothing, just some Grizzly bears foraging through our garbage.”
“Oh, them, I thought you meant something unusual. And you don’t look so good. Are you OK?”
Actually, now that she brought it up, I was feeling pretty awful as I tried to catch my breath, which I had lost somewhere in the cold. I imagined the headline tomorrow buried somewhere in the police beat – “Local editor dies while rescuing sliding Mac.”
Later that day, just before nightfall, I had recovered enough and forgotten enough to go after KM’s car.
Her concern for my safety was touching as she pleaded for me not to go:
“Bring me back some Chinese!”
“OK, honey. Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”
“Broccoli and Chicken!”
Forty-five minutes later, I was power sliding her Honda Accord into our driveway, the momentum from the hill carrying me too far. I was stuck in our muddy yard, the back wheel soon buried after trying to rock it out. AAA would send a tow truck the next day.
I walked slowly toward the house, the smells of Won Ton and Shrimp surrounding my broken spirit. I opened the garage door, and took one last look at the Grizzlies digging in my trashcan.
Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.