Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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"Can you help me find my helmet?"

First, my apologies to all those who deal with friends or relatives of a slightly diminished mental capacity, but this story has to do with my best friend in Real Life.  She has both dealt with, and lived with, such persons for much of her life.  She has developed a rather thick skin where it concerns the mentally disadvantaged and, on occasion, is prone to using some of their disabilities when lampooning the people she has to put up with on a daily basis, namely her family.

So, my friend called me last week Thursday, absolutely FOAMING at the mouth about her husband's latest bout of 'diminished mental capacity.'  I use the quotes to illustrate the point that this person is normally considered to be of sound mind and body, at least by the commonly accepted societal norms.

Some background is necessary at this point.  My friend was adopted in infancy by a woman who absolutely loves children, in any shape or form.  This 'Mother Teresa' of youth would, most likely, still be adopting and providing a home for such youth if it were not for her advanced age - as well as the firm resolve of her husband to enjoy his retirement without the dubious 'joy' of supporting such beings any longer.  After having several children of her own, she took to adopting several more, my friend being the youngest.  When her husband put his foot down in regards to furthering that pursuit, she took to providing foster care for the mentally and physically 'challenged.'

During the course of her foster care, this sainted lady pressed her children, both natural and adopted, into service to assist her.  Thus my friend is quite well acquainted with various disabilities and the challenges they present their caregivers.  One of my friend's favorite stories centers around a boy whose disability required that he wear a helmet when outside the home, to prevent him from injuring himself when frustrated with the outside world.  Evidently, said boy thought it great fun to hide his helmet immediately prior to being picked up for transport to school each day, and it was my friend's job to make sure that he had it before he left the house.  Hence, the phrase "Can you help me find my helmet" became a familiar theme in her life for a time.

Now, back to the story.  My friend, having had numerous problems with ear infections when she was young, is slightly hard of hearing.  She tends to be loud to begin with but, during times of stress, gets progressively louder as her agitation grows.  Let's just put it this way, when I answered the phone Thursday, she was already at the yelling stage.  And it got worse, a LOT worse, as our conversation progressed.

It seems that her husband, who is notorious for ruining every single automobile he lays his hands on, had somehow managed to screw up yet another vehicle to the point that it wasn't running.  He couldn't get it started when he left work and called his brother, who happens to work at the same place, to return to work and pick him up when he couldn't get it to start.  His brother lives quite a distance away from said place of employment and had already made it all the way home when my friend's husband called him.  He dutifully hopped in his car, however, and set out to rescue his hapless sibling.

Again, I must digress for a little more background.  You see, this nice lady has been my friend for almost 13 years now.  In that time, the aforementioned husband has committed more than his fair share of 'faux pas,' many of them surrounding his abuse of automobiles.  In the past, I was usually the first one called to rescue said husband.  After the disastrous winter of 2006/2007, however, which culminated in the complete destruction of the engine of my friend's Pontiac Transport van (through neglect), she has tried to use me only as a last resort.

At one point, she even called her older sister (one she can't stand) and asked HER to pick her husband up when the Transport had problems.  On that occasion, upon arriving at the location where the husband said he would be, the sister found... NOTHING.  Evidently, the husband had gotten the vehicle running and, rather than call and let the sister know, he simply proceeded to drive it home.  The sister, as one can imagine, was livid.  As recently as a month ago, however, I again found myself hauling butt out of the house to once more rescue this infamous abuser of motor vehicles.  He had so thoroughly neglected the little truck that served as the replacement for the Transport that it finally gave up the ghost.

The following week, they had located a reasonably priced replacement for the poor dead truck and I was again enlisted to ferry the hapless man's tush to where he would purchase said replacement.  I did so, keeping in mind all of my friend's admonitions regarding what he was or was NOT supposed to do upon securing the replacement auto.  Evidently, he managed to live up to expectations on that particular occasion but, for the entire month following, had completely ignored everything his wife repeatedly asked him to do about keeping the car in running order.  This included neglecting to take it over to his brother's house where, in his brother's HEATED garage, he and his sibling could completely look the car over and ascertain any quirks it might have.  His favorite phrase, each and every time she asked if he had done this was "I will."  If asked to name a date and time, he continued to reiterate "I WILL."

Back to our story.  The brother arrived back at the shop where they both worked only to find... you guessed it, NOTHING.  The husband had again managed to get the vehicle running and left without calling his would-be rescuer to let him in on it.  So, the brother drove all the way back home, for the second time that day.  This is about the time the car finally and completely ceased to operate, with the husband still some distance from his home.  The husband called the wife and gave a vague description of his location.  Unfortunately, the wife believed that the location was some 30 miles south of where he actually happened to be.  Rather than call me first, she called the brother, not knowing that the brother had already been out looking for his thoughtless sibling once that evening.

The brother, for the second time, went out in search of the idiot but, given that the directions were completely wrong, couldn't find him yet again.  He called my friend, who was already working herself into a frenzy over her husband's stupidity and thoughtless behavior.  She had to call the pay phone, from which her husband had originally called her to report his inability to get the car moving, in order to find out EXACTLY where the dumb-ass was.  She relayed that information to the brother, along with requests that the brother check out the car to make SURE that it couldn't be driven, as well as that HE call the towing company and relay the car's location (since she didn't trust her husband to make the assessment OR give the directions).

Unfortunately for all concerned, the brother only managed to comply with one of her requests.  He diagnosed the major problems with the car and it was determined that, no, indeed, it could not be driven.  He was unable, though, to make the call to the towing company before his brother (the idiot without the helmet) grabbed the phone and did it himself.  I say this is unfortunate because, with unerring accuracy, the husband managed to screw up the location of the automobile, again.  The following morning, my friend received a call from the repair facility that her husband had contacted to both retrieve the car and fix the damn thing, telling her that they were unable to locate it, either the night before OR that morning.

By the time my friend finished relaying that information to her brother-in-law (who was the only one she could contact during working hours) and called me, I could practically hear her without the aid of the telephone.  And she lives a good 30 miles away from me.  I had to tone down both the volume on my phone handset AND the headset I was using just to preserve my eardrums.  The missing car was not the only problem she was alerted to that day, however.  When she got him up for school, her 18 year-old son informed her that he had been suspended the day before for fighting - but he was so angry that, on his way home, he had thrown away the slip the school gave him informing her of said suspension.

The son, in case you're a newcomer to my journal, is the same one for whom I spent countless hours fighting the school district, and the district's attorneys, in order to secure his Free Appropriate Public Education under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  He is diagnosed Emotionally Impaired and ADD.  He's a real pip to deal with, let me tell you.  So, my poor friend not only had to deal with her obviously impaired husband that day, but her truly impaired son.  I'm still shaking my head.  And I thought I had problems??

To shorten the saga somewhat, the husband got the message relayed via his brother and finally called the auto repair place which, in turn, finally located the wayward car.  It is now awaiting about $500 worth of repairs that it might not have needed if the dumb-ass has just taken the time to go over it when it was originally purchased.  Might I add that, due to the husband's penchant for overdrawing their checking account, racking up ungodly bounced check fees, this is $500 that they can ill-afford.

In addition to all that is behind the cut, this poor lady never gets out of her house, unless I make it up there to whisk her away.  The last time she went anywhere, other than a store, was when I dragged her to a horse show last summer.  Is it any wonder that she jokes about her husband wandering the countryside without his helmet??  If she didn't laugh, she would surely cry a river - or end up in an institution herself.  Just remember, my friends, there but for the grace of a higher power go the rest of us!!

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