I haven’t quite reached the laugh-about-it stage. Soon, but not yet.
If you’ve ever had to prepare for a doctor appointment by doing one of those 24-hour urine collections, you know how gigantic the orange collection jug is. It seems laughable that you could ever fill it. But David did, to the brim. That is, he did his part, which was to produce. My role was to collect throughout the day and night and one final time the next morning. Monday morning.
“I’m happy that’s done,” I told David, tucking the jug into a bag of ice. “After I take you in to work, I’ll drop it off at the clinic.”
We’d also filled out our ballots for city councilman and two propositions, which took a lot less time than filling the orange jug. David rolled himself into the van, and I put everything else in. After dropping him off at work, I headed straight for the clinic. I was ready to be completely done with that task.
But on the way, I realized I would pass right by the ballot drop-off site. In fact, there it was. Impulsively, I hit the brakes and took a sharp right.
The orange jug hurled itself over the barricade I’d created and crash landed on the van’s floor. The lid flew off.
A tsunami of urine and ice surged toward me. Of the 3,000 milliliters in the jug, at least 2,800 were now rolling across the van’s floor, on which sat our ballots, the shopping list, and my phone.
I didn’t say much. The only word I spoke for the next few seconds was “No!” I probably said it fifty times, though, and I didn’t really say it. I howled it. I’d glance down at the floor. “No! No! No!” Then I’d look up and steer. Finally, I pulled over to the curb so I could safely take in the full extent of the disaster. Bad in every sense. Literally.
That changed the day’s schedule. On to the clinic to hand over the pathetic remnants, explain what happened, and get a new orange jug—trying all the while to stay out of the stink range of other people. Then home to scrub the van for the next hour or so. The bottoms of my shoes got a good scrubbing, too, and spent the rest of the day baking in the sunshine. I considered giving our ballots the sun treatment as well, but the black ink we’d used had bled through the envelope. They went in the trash.
As for my phone, I took it apart and dabbed at the wet spots, then gave it a cautious wipe-down with vinegar. It seems to be okay. I just try not to think about it.
So, life goes on. Two days later, the new jug rode back to the clinic locked in a plastic tub, traveling five miles below the speed limit and with a minimum of turns. Some lessons don’t need to be learned twice. The van still stinks. There’s no other word for it. Not as intensely, though, which gives hope for the future. And for now, the high-powered lemon deodorizer swinging from the rear view mirror stuns the sinuses into acceptance, at least on the short trips I’ve had so far. Driving to Denver next week will be the real test.
Want to come along?
Okay, now I’m laughing.