I walked both days in Pineapple Grove, the newest, up and coming neighborhood in Delray. The lending company that is setting up our mortgage is nearby. I have lots of errands to run; copying tax returns, delivering signed papers, and a stop at the post office.
I walked the shopping plazas under the shade of porticoes and awnings.
Pineapple Grove has some interesting bike racks.
A lot of people ride bikes in Florida. Fancy colored Schwinns; pink, lilac, baby blue. The handles are upright, they have baskets, no gears. There are no hills to speak of, you don’t need gears.
I ended up by Brenda’s birds again. I contemplated going in, but the birds were making a terrible ruckus screeching and squawking.
I stood in the parking lot for a few minutes debating whether to go inside or not. The parking spaces are designated for members of the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin. I decided not to venture inside. I continued walking.
I came across a second hand store and wandered inside. No one was around. There was an unusual wine rack I’d like for my new home, but I’m not buying anything yet. I don’t want to jinx things.
I walk through Artist’s Alley, next to Pineapple Grove.
On my way home, I stop to buy a shower curtain. My younger daughter is visiting for a week and we never bought a shower curtain for the guest bathroom. We also never hung the pictures on the wall, or bought any furniture. This apartment never felt like home.
The Boys Farmer’s Market is along my route. I decide to pop in. I park in the Radio Shack parking lot. The Boys lot is always a mess. Old people wearing wrap around sunglasses have trouble backing out of tight parking spaces. This ended up being a fortuitous decision.
I purchase Diver scallops on sale, milk, and a Quiche Lorraine. Back in the car, I roll down the windows, turn the key, and nothing happens. I make sure I’m in park, try again. Nothing. Dead as a door nail. I call my husband. He thinks the battery is probably dead. But the lights came on, the windows worked. He said he could come by and bring his jumper cables. I’m worried about the food.
Twenty minutes later, he calls to say he’s on his way. I’d been standing outside the car, waiting. “You’re just leaving now?”
“I couldn’t leave the paint out. I had to clean up a little.”
A black woman gets out of her car, takes a wheelchair out of the trunk, opens the passenger door, and helps an old white woman into the chair. She unlocks the wheel brakes and puts the woman’s purse in a basket. The old lady is mumbling to herself, getting louder and louder. “You live with someone your whole life and they say nothing. NOTHING.” She starts shouting. “I tell him, YOU make me that way. You bastard.”
The black woman replies, “Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.”
“Embarrassing you? You embarrass me. Shit. Shit.”
The caregiver wheels the woman up onto the sidewalk, the old lady still shouting, “What does he think? He never cared, he never gave a shit.” The caregiver turns the wheelchair towards the Radio Shack door. The old lady looks at her reflection in the door, fixes her hair.
Alzheimer’s? It’s scary to think of the things you might say after you’ve lost your mind. He told me he was coming right away, bringing jumper cables. Then he called twenty minutes later to say he was leaving. Shit. Shit. He’s never on time. It’s hot as hell out here.
Another car pulls up. A fifty something woman gets out. She’s wearing gold, shiny pants and a sheer, filmy blouse with gold stripes. A young black woman climbs out of the back seat, walks around to the passenger side, helps an elderly lady out, opens her walker, and helps her up the curb. The woman in gold is opening a stroller. She puts her little white dog in it. He is going in Radio Shack, too. This group seems happier. This caretaker has a better job.
I too go in Radio Shack just to cool of with some A/C. The cranky old lady is arguing about the price of something. She seems to have her wits about her. Maybe she isn’t senile after all, just a crabby old witch. Her caretaker is wandering around the store looking at cell phones.
Rich finally shows up, sets up the jumper cables, cleans the buildup of rusted corrosion on the battery, and tries to jump the car. Nothing. The door nail is still dead. “It must be the starter motor.” I call Triple A. They tell me they can be here in an hour.
I walk over to The Boys to get ice for the groceries. A sign at the entrance says We Don’t Sell Ice. I walk back to the meat counter, and try to find someone who speaks English. I explain my predicament to a butcher. He tells one of the Jamaicans who works behind the counter, “Get this lady some ice.” I thank him. I thank the Jamaican.”No problem, mon.” Or was that ma’am? I prefer mon. Back at the car Rich has found a paint bucket that we fill with ice for the scallops, milk, and quiche.
A policeman pulls up to the Radio Shack, and parks sideways, blocking three parking spaces. He walks in the store, comes right back out, and leaves to park in the shade further down the plaza.
I find a beach chair in my trunk. Rich drops the tailgate of his truck down. He opens an ice tea, then lays down, resting his head against some drop cloths, and closes his eyes. A man in a Toyota Tundra pulls into the parking lot and walks over to talk to Rich because he drives a Toyota Tundra, too. He bought it from a car salesman for half the sticker price, with only fifteen thousand miles on it. He asks if we are tailgating. “Yes.” We laugh. He talks about Toyotas for awhile, then Hyundais. “Those are usually pretty good cars.”
“Well this one has one hundred seventy five thousand miles on it,” I tell him. He tells us he has five grown children. Then he tells us about all the cars they’ve owned. Volvos, Hondas, BMW’s, Lexus. “They buy them new. Crazy. I told them to buy them from the rental companies. By the way, you gotta get Geico. They have a better service than Triple A.” After a half hour of this Click and Clack conversation, his wife calls. “I met some people tailgating in the parking lot,” he tells her. “No, I didn’t get in the store yet.” He hangs up. “I better go,” he says, sheepishly. “Good luck.”
Triple A arrives. Two guys, one a very hot Hispanic with a heart tattoo on his shoulder is wearing Ray-Bans. He is extremely fit, not in a body builder sort of way, but slender, wiry, strong. He uses his cell phone as a flashlight. The older white guy tries turning the key while Ray Ban lays on his back and slides under the car. He asks for something. “The thing,” he says.” “Gimmee the thing.” His partner passes him a crowbar. It’s too long. Rich gets him a channel bar. “No good,” he says. Rich tries giving him a wrench. “This will work.” He bangs things, searches with his flashlight cellphone. Nothing. The car is dead. They load it on the flatbed. We’re going for a ride. We decide to use the Meineke place in Boca. It’s the only mechanic we know. I got a good deal on brakes there when we returned from our trip out west.
We follow the flatbed as I watch my car rock. The back window of the truck has a sign that reads, “In Memory of The Fox. 1964-2004.”
I wonder who the forty year old Fox was. The Fox who is no longer with us. I appreciate the fact that even an afternoon spent in a Radio Shack parking lot is a day in a life.