The expat life is fascinating, isn’t it? But, just like life at home, it’s also full of frustrations and annoyances as I’ve chronicled in my weekly posts, which I trust you’ve all read carefully and often and shared with your friends.
However, this week I am not in the mood to write about any foreign fun because I had my American fun on Wednesday, compliments of the Devil in a playful mood. America is no longer foreign to me, it being my adopted country, so this is not an expat story of a Dutch person adventuring in America. It’s just me living here now. So, you can stop reading right here if you don’t want to hear about the Devil and me.
Photo by riptheskull
FUN AND GAMES IN AMERICA
The day starts off with the Devil calling me on the phone 6 times early in the morning. On the phone’s display it shows a local number and the name of a town nearby. I pick up the first couple of times, but all I get is beeps. Next several times it just beeps when the answering machine kicks in. I Google the number and it’s not a direct line to Hell but the number of a medical practice of which I am not a patient/client.
I call the number. After listening to 432 options, none of them mentioning an opportunity to speak with the Devil, I talk to a live person who says they are not aware of anyone trying to call me, know of nothing, and no, the Devil is not one of their medical personnel.
It really likes it there and it is NOT budging. It is stuck like a brick in the Great Wall of China.
Not only can I not drive the car, but I can no longer get into the house. The Devil is grinning. I can not get away from him.
However, I have news for him: We have another house key hidden in a Secret Place. I go to find it and it is not there. It is NOT there!
I consider panicking. Here I am, in crisis with no car to drive and no house to sleep in and a husband on the other side of the world. Really. In Indonesia, exactly 12 hours ahead. He’ll be back on Friday, but that is of no help right now. But I am not defeated yet because . . .
I realize that I also have a pickup truck in the garage and the key is on my chain. I can drive to a nearby car repair place and beg someone to come over and dislodge the house key so I will have a roof over my head tonight. But, just to be sure, I check through the Secret Place one more time, and there, like magic, is the extra house key! The Devil must have taken it and put it back.
I can now get in the house if not drive the car. I haul my handbag, my gym bag and my shopping bags over to the truck so I can at least do my shopping and go to the gym and I’ll worry about the recalcitrant key another time. I know, as such things go, that as soon as I get an oily car mechanic to come over, he’ll pull the damn key right out, making me feel even more like a cretin than I already do.
So, just before taking off in the truck I decide to give the wretched key one last chance. And would you believe, it has changed its mind and slides right out! I haul my bags back over again and stick the car key in the ignition and drive off, taking deep cleansing yoga breaths. Crisis over. Well, that’s what I’m thinking. But the Devil has more fun waiting for me.
I drive 30 minutes to my first store, park the car, reach in my handbag for my wallet to find coins for the parking meter and realize my wallet is not there. I’ve left it at home. With my money, my credit cards, my driver’s license in it. The Devil is grinning.
I take a deep breath, and remember I have a Secret Place in my purse with a credit card, for just such an occasion. But still no coins for the meter. I fish around in my coat pockets and come up with a quarter! Really!
To the shop I sprint to make my Secret Purchase, a present for my mate’s upcoming birthday. All goes well. I drive to the supermarket.
Find a quarter on the ground. Not a dime, not a penny. A quarter.
I never find money, so clearly, this is a sign the Devil is still playing with me. It makes me nervous.
No problem in the grocery store. No problem at the gym. The gym has a Rehab Center connected with it and I have recently made use of it for an annoying and painful hip ailment. (Long story short: My regular doctor said: Live with it and take ibuprofen. And I said: WHAT?? Just live with it? I REFUSE! So I went to the chiropractor at the Rehab Center and he and his crew cured me with cracks, exercise and a heel lift.)
Anyway, after gymming, I pop my head in and say to the chiropractor doc: I am so good! You cured me! Thank you! He smiles. So does the Devil, but I don’t know that until I’m home again.
I get in the car and drive homewards. Easy? No. For 20 nerve-wracking minutes I have a cop right on my tail, with the Devil in the back seat because he knows I am driving WITHOUT MY LICENSE on my person.
But the cop does not stop me. Hallelujah. I arrive home thinking it has to be all over now, but then I find the bill in the mail. A bill from the Rehab Center with charges that I thought had been covered by my insurance. I was wrong. I owe them a whopping amount. The Devil is grinning.
I hit the bottle. Wouldn’t you?
Actually, I make a pot of tea. Wine comes later.
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So, how did the Devil have his fun with you? Surely he’s made you a visit on occasion. Tell me your Devil stories!