Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Cool Breeze From Afar

My brother lives in Denmark and my sister in Illinois, so whenever either of them comes to California, it's a reason for a reunion. Last week, they both landed in southern California where they picked up my mom and then drove up to see us.
It was a long, hot car ride as my mom's air conditioning didn't work. In fact, before braving the desert-like heat on the drive up, my brother had stopped in at a mechanic for an estimate. After hearing the mechanic's busy schedule and outrageous prices, they decided they could live with a little sweat rolling down the back of their necks.
Having family come in is always an expansion of the heart and mind. When we get a heat wave, my sister says, 'Well, at least it's not humid like Chicago."
When my kids complain about our old van, Mother pipes up about how her car has aging difficulties as well. The windows don't work. Dashboard lights flash on randomly. And then there is that air con thing.
And when I tell my younger son who has just done a cool experiment in science class with dry ice that no, I don't want to drive 45 minutes to find more dry ice, my brother and sister both chime in, "Why not? That's not far."
"But the gas prices are terrible," I counter.
"Life is good, " my brother reminds me. He says in Denmark, a gallon of gas is close to $8, there is a 25% tax on things, and an inexpensive restaurant meal is $25/person.
That is how we found ourselves circling around an industrial area in my mom's hot car, looking for this place that sold dry ice. No, my dear son--a chip off this block-- didn't know the name. No, he hadn't written down the phone number. We just had this address which turned out to be a darkened building. We decided to try the Great Mall which was down the block.
Oh, my gosh. What a huge place. One square mile of shop after shop after shop. (none of which sold dry ice.)
Overwhelmed (how many shoe shops does one need in one square mile?) we gave up and decided to come home. The traffic was bad. The heat was unbearable. My brother was driving, and he reached over and fiddled with the heating/air con dials. Suddenly a blast of cool air filled the car.
Cool air. Wow. Where did that come from?
"I thought the thing was broken," I said.
"Well, she said it was broken," my brother pointed at my sister. "Next time I'll know better than to believe--"
"Well, mom said it was broken," my sister said.
"How did you get it to work?" I asked
"I just pushed the air con button on," he said. "She hadn't had it on."
So the air con button hadn't been pushed on. And Mother assumed when no cool air came out that the whole air con was broken (after all, it is an old car.) And the story was spread to the point that everyone believed it--even the mechanic. Until one person came along and tested the whole "it's broken" theory.
We all got a nice laugh out of that....
And I've been fiddling with the air con dials in my car ever since, hoping the same theory will work for me.
But perhaps I better just go see that mechanic.


Anonymous said...

Hey, when you come over tomorrow, could you hit the a/c button in the house? Oh, wait, ours isn't just broken, we don't have any. Really. But we'll get the fans going.

Who told your mom? :)

Jana said...

That was funny, too. We created all these scenarios about different ways to tell her, ala waving a magic wand. In the end, we almost forgot to tell her.:)

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