I’m not even sure how I ended up here. Sitting in In-N-Out in West Valley City laughing at something that can only be described as someone else’s misfortune. I’m sure there will be some penalty for this, but I just can’t help it. It really feels like something that could only happen to me…
earlier this evening
I picked up a call on my mobile from Amanda. “Can you please come out front and help? Sally has her moving truck blocking our driveway and I am late for my appointment.” I sigh and roll my eyes. Sally again. I had hoped my involvement with Sally was done after her dramatic eviction from the duplex next door several days ago. Boy, was I mistaken.
Col and I went out and determined that Sally’s U-Haul had a dead battery. For some reason, she’d put it in neutral anyway, and the truck rolled back until it stopped against the curb. As a result, it was blocking our entire driveway. Col pulled his truck over and we jumped the U-Haul, I pulled it forward freeing Amanda to flee the scene and left the truck idling. I walked back to Sally who was fussing with something in her car and told her not to turn the truck off for a little while. She thanked me and said she was finally taking the truck (filled with her belongings) to a storage facility to be unloaded. The truck had been sitting in front of our building all week, and I sweet talked a parking enforcement officer the day before not to ticket it.
Then Sally said she was having trouble finding her phone and needed to call her daughter. She could hear it in her car, but couldn’t find it. I leaned in to take a look. It was no wonder. The car was packed to the roof with junk. 15 minutes and 12 calls to her phone later, Col and I had managed to locate the mobile. We said goodnight and headed inside.
As soon as we were inside I knew it wasn’t right. “We can’t let her drive that truck tonight. She’s not right in the head. She’ll kill someone,” I told Col. He sighed and rolled his eyes (he learns quickly), but knew he wasn’t going to dissuade me (again, he learns quickly). I went back out and asked Sally where she was taking the truck. After several confusing addresses, we settled on a destination, and I told her I would drive the truck, Col would follow me in my car and she would follow Col. She protested, but relented. There was no way I was letting her drive that truck in the dark at rush hour.
Before we headed out, I confirmed the destination with her, and she made yet another correction. We headed out. Col and I were on the phone with each other and it wasn’t long before we were both noticing that Sally can’t drive. Or shouldn’t have been driving. Either way, she was all over the place. It also wasn’t long before we’d passed the address she provided and realized this U-Haul storage wasn’t where she said it was. A quick call to her mobile phone and she provided yet another address…the other direction. Col and I turned around and headed the other direction, but we didn’t see Sally. Hmmm.
After calling U-Haul ourselves and getting the address, we made it to the lot and parked the truck. I called Sally and told he we had arrived and asked where she was. Turns out she was hungry and had stopped to have a bite to eat at McDonald’s. Sigh.
five days ago
I was in the kitchen making my oatmeal when I noticed Sally’s daughter carrying boxes out of the duplex next door and carrying them down the driveway. I guess he (the landlord next door) followed through and evicted her. The presence of a sheriff’s deputy confirmed it. The day before Sally had called me and kept me on the phone for 20 minutes with wild stories of gas leaks and unsafe conditions, lawsuits and court battles, threats that the duplex was on the brink of exploding and taking all the surrounding buildings (including mine) with it. I had a hard time separating what was real and what was an old lady’s wild stories to explain why she hadn’t paid her rent and was going to get kicked out. In the end, I just said goodbye and wished her luck.
Amanda noticed the U-Haul was packed with liquor boxes. Captain Morgan. Absolut. Smirnoff. It seemed only fitting those were the moving boxes since over the last six months we were always suspicious the woman was drunk whenever she talked to any of us.
two weeks ago
Sunday night and after a day of snowshoeing and a couple beers at dinner, we didn’t want our buzz to completely vanish. A rum and Coke was the perfect solution. But, we had no Coke. So, a quick jaunt two blocks to the 7-11 and we were golden. Only…it wasn’t quick.
There was Sally at the checkout. The clerk looked at us and rolled his eyes and we saw why. Sally had purchased four bags worth of groceries, but when her check was declined, she didn’t have enough cash to make the purchases. So, she was sorting and choosing what to take for the amount of cash she did have. Of course the 40 ouncer made it into the keep pile. Along with the cigarettes. A package of cheese was selected, but then reconsidered because there wasn’t enough money for the accompanying Wheat Thins. Wanting to get home quickly I put the crackers alongside my Coke and said, “I’ll get these for you.” After some protesting Sally accepted the gesture.
Outside we were eager to get home and mix our drinks, but Sally stopped us. “Thank you so much. This old lady will never forget your kindness. What is your name?” I replied, “Hunter.” She looked pensive for a moment. “Hunter, don’t you live by me?” I explained that yes, I live next door, and that she knew that because two months ago I had offered to let her park in my carport when I thought her sunroof was broken because it was open during two days of heavy snow. Turns out she had just neglected to close it.
She thanked us again and we bailed for home. There we discovered we had no rum, and it was Sunday (and after 7PM anyway), so our liquor store was closed. Fucking Utah.
six months ago
We were making dinner and enjoying some beer and music when we heard some commotion out the window. Looking out from my second story condo, I saw a tall U-Haul truck in the driveway. A few people were unloading boxes into rear unit of the duplex next door that shares the driveway with my condo complex. Their work completed, someone thought it would be a smart idea to drive behind my building into the dead-end parking lot surrounded by carports and turn around, rather than just backing the truck the short distance to the street. I looked at Col and said, “I already hate the new neighbors…they’re proving to be stupid. And, you know how I feel about stupid people.”
Sure enough, the driver wasn’t very skilled and after what seemed like over a hundred back and forths, got the truck turned around. Now, if he could just make the sharp turn to get out of the lot and onto the driveway. Nope. With a loud “crunch,” the top of the truck took out the 2 week old rain gutters we’d just installed on the carport. I went down and had some words. I remained calm and did my best to keep my cool and remember I was dealing with stupidity. Little did I know the extent…
We get home from our post Sally In-N-Out dinner and settle in for another frigid night in SLC. I bundle up and take the dogs out for their last walk of the day. Sally’s car is parked in front of my building, and as I walk passed it I can see her sleeping inside. There’s my penalty. Fucking universe.