Raoul’s Two Cents: May 18, 2023
Anger Management Test
I was excited. My wife was returning from a week-long trip to the Philippines. I was supposed to pick her up on Tuesday. However, Monday started a long list of misfortunes.
Since LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is an hour’s drive away, I decide to fill my tank with gas on Monday. Wouldn’t you know it? My car decides to die on me right at the pump. I call for help and the lady who is overseeing the pumping line pushes my car towards the parking spot ahead of me. As she pushes, my steering wheel jams and I could hardly turn. Up ahead I see a red, shiny $1M Ferrari. (Of all places, why would anyone park his Ferrari in front of me?!?!) “Lord, you gotta be kidding! Where’d you hide the hidden camera?!” We miss it by a few inches. My heart is pounding. Looking at the bright side, I guess if the Ferrari owner saw me, he would have had a heart attack!
Road Assistance comes over and the ER car mechanic tells me my starter is the problem. So I bring it to Mr. P, a mechanic who goes to the same church. Surely good ol’ Mr. P isn’t going to RIP me off like the other mechanics in the area, right?
Mr. P is hospitable and he’s joking around and we exchange banter like we are best buddies. I picture this scene of us smiling, my balloon says “he’s a swell guy for helping me out like this” while his balloon says “how much can I RIP from this bozo?”
He said he needs to check it out first. His son drops me off at my home. Soon Mr. P calls me and says It is going to cost me almost $700. I swear I heard a piece of paper going “RrrriiiP! — sucker!” He also says it would be ready after lunch — so picking up my wife was not gonna happen. Mr. P could have quoted me a million bucks because he knew I had no choice but agree to any price he dished out.
That evening I’m messaging my wife about her needing to take Lyft to get home. She’s frustrated, I’m frustrated … we’re not in a good mood. A few hours later, she tells me there’s something wrong with the plane’s hydraulics. She’ll arrive on Wednesday instead. “Well, at least I can pick her up now.”
Tuesday morning Mr. P phones in and tells me the car will be ready by lunchtime as promised. I’m thinking I might have misjudged him … maybe the parts were expensive … so I ask him to check for anything else that needs repair. After all, I wasn’t rushing for anything anymore. Less than an hour later he gives me a long laundry list of what needs to be done. The total would only be an additional $2,500. I nearly Puke. So that’s what Mr. P stands for!
“No thanks! Just change the oil and whatever else would fit my budget of $1,000 and that should be enough.”
Just before closing time, I decide to walk the 2 miles to Mr. P’s shop. He volunteered to order an Uber for me but I would have none of that added to my bill … I needed to exercise anyway. A quarter of a mile away and I get this cramp on my left calf muscle. “Lord, you gotta be kidding! Where’d you hide the hidden camera now?!” You should have seen me limping and hobbling as traffic whizzed around me. I swear I hear someone yelling — sucker!! Miraculously, I make it in less than an hour. Mr. P’s mouth starts babbling like a salesman. His words enter one ear and out the other. The total bill is — Ka-Ching! — $968.87 — just $31 under my budget. My face drops. I just pay the guy. I didn’t want to cry in front of him. In my mind, I’m scratching his name from my list of nice people in church.
My wife messages me again – she won’t be arriving on Wednesday after all. The electrical system at the Philippine airport is acting funny. She has to continue to enjoy an all-expenses paid accommodation at this luxurious hotel. Sigh! Some girls have all the fun!
So finally Thursday comes around. To surprise my wife, I decide to take our two corgis with me. Big mistake! Instead of jumping up to the backseat, those pesky little mischievous canines-from-hell decide this is fun-time! They run around the car taunting me to chase them. “Lord, you gotta be kidding! Where’s the hidden camera?!” I clap my hands, stamp my feet, I whistle, I make puckering sounds and those pranksters look at me smiling with their tongues hanging out. I waste 10 minutes and finally grab them by their leashes and carry them into the car. They’re laughing at the back as I start our long journey to the airport.
Surprisingly, I get to the airport 30 minutes early so I park in a street 3 minutes away from the arrival area. All is “quiet in the waterfront” when my wife texts me that they had just landed. I’m elated that this chapter will be over soon.
A minute later, I witness a policeman gather traffic cones and starts cordoning off the street that leads to the airport. Oh no! I see cars detouring to my parking area. Then, even the detour is cordoned off. Then cars start piling and blocking my way out. Before it gets any worse I decide to pull out and start heading for a distant detour — 5 miles away. I notice several blinking black government SUVs being escorted towards the airport. I figure it’s this government big shot who’s causing all these disruptions.
In the meantime my wife is texting me … complaining that she had to go through immigration, customs and now she is randomly chosen to go through yet another line because her baggage tags belongs to her original Tuesday flight. She is fuming mad but I am calm in my thoughts of revenge: “Hey Mr. Big Shot Bureaucrat! You messed up everyone’s day, you messed up my schedule — prepare to die! Ratatatattat!”
At long last I turtle-pace in the LAX traffic to my wife’s gate. She is all smiles. The dogs are unusually quiet but obviously happy (I guess the 2 long hour wait snuffed the punk out of them). The drive home is a lot faster than I expect. All is good. I am glad because I still have time to spare to pick up my grand kids from school. But when I get there, my daughter is already waiting to pick them up. There obviously was a miscommunication. Did I let it bother me? Nah! I’m already an expert in misery!
Yes, I had a bad week but I can’t say I had a terrible week — my car’s working, my wife’s home with her corgis, the grand kids are home. Life is nice and dandy. It helps a lot if you face your daily foibles with a cheery attitude. So many hot buttons yet not one hot enough to burn me down. How’d your week go? Did you pass your Anger Management Test?
Impatience is the breeding ground of anger and anger is only one letter away from danger.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Thanks to Phil of La Habra, CA
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Thanks to Wyne of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA
Thanks to Maling of New Manila, Philippines
Thanks to Garie of Kainta, Metro Manila
I found these
THE TRAVELING BOY
My good friend (and jokester) Terry and I came up with these.