BACKGROUND TO BUDDY #2

Note to the reader: the series of articles entitled Background to Buddy were extracted from a Christian nonfiction work that formed the basis for the novel Buddy, which is available from either Amazon or Signalman Publishing. Directions are noted on the page entitled Buddy on this blog site. The purpose of this work was to explain the reasons why I consider the Holy Spirit to be functionally female. Adventure episodes and humor were added for the entertainment of both the reader and the author.

Chapter 1: “Oh, you’ve done it now!”

My wife Carolyn and I love to travel. We used to include the more strenuous means of ‘by foot’ and ‘by air’ as modes of locomotion, touring the woods by backpack or Dacron wing, but for the past decade or so we’ve been content to limit our transport to bike (Goldwing) and RV (fifth-wheel). We’ve used both to travel the country end-to-end over the past few years, and each mode has given us much pleasure in its own unique way.

We live in the Northwest, near the small community of Eatonville, which is situated on the west side of the Cascades fairly close to Mount Rainier. One year not very long ago we made an eight-month RV journey up through Maine and down to the Gulf, taking as our theme across the Midwest the path taken by our forefathers along the Platte River. About halfway through this wonderful experience we found ourselves in a tiny RV park in South Carolina about 40 miles west of Charleston. The park was run by its owners, an elderly couple who were given to handing out fresh vegetables from their garden. From our base there we toured a nearby plantation and took in the sights of Charleston, of which (besides the lovely couple of the RV park) Fort Sumter and the downtown quay with its beautiful old houses were the most memorable. I give a detailed account in my book Motating1 of this and other adventures that Carolyn and I have shared over the years.

But back to the point. There’s a parking lot in downtown Charleston next to an adjoining building that has an unusually-designed downspout. The pipe is the standard diameter, maybe two or three inches, from the roof gutter down to the level of my bumper, where, for some initially obscure reason that the following events clarified, an adapter expands it to a diameter of about 12 to 15 inches. If you take your truck or tow vehicle into town (the sights are certainly worth the effort) and park there, the attendant will attempt to back you into the stall in front of where it’s located. If you’re fresh from the pumpkin patch like me, you’ll automatically follow the directions. When backing into the stall, the driver must focus his attention on his mirrors, thus failing to notice that the attendant has taken that opportunity to quickly depart to another part of the lot. Since the driver can’t see that section from the mirrors, he inevitably will hit the large-diameter section of the downspout, an event that will immediately set off a chain reaction: the plastic section (which doubles quite convincingly as a drum) implodes into shards with a horrible high-volume noise that convinces the unfortunate driver that he has just leveled the house; as the driver gets out of the car in a funky daze, a ground-floor window opens up and an arm reaches out with the palm facing upward; along with the hand a disembodied voice (the face can’t be seen) says, “Oh, you’ve done it now. That’s gonna cost you fifty dollars.” It’s just a little scam, so I’m guessing that most people slap fifty onto the palm just to get rid of the problem. I didn’t. I argued about it and threatened to go down to Home Depot myself and buy the part for ten dollars. In the end I coughed up 25 dollars, but it was good for a laugh after I cooled down.

I’m not exactly a stranger to trouble. Most of the time it is my fault and, like the incident I just recounted, it involves a vehicle of one sort or another. My early experiences with cars, in fact, were anything but mundane. I was not born to travel. My first memory of movement from point A to point B by car was with dad at the wheel. My second memory of motion was hard on the heels of the first, with dad still at the controls, but with me trying with all my might to hold down the bile. The situation would escalate rapidly because the attempt only made my nervous stomach twitch, a condition that fed upon itself, culminating in an eruption that projected vomit all over the floor on the back. How I remember the consequences! Dad would swerve the car onto the shoulder, brake to a violent halt, and yank open the rear door while shouting that the malady was all in my head and to “geddada the car now before I toss you onto the road.” There was never any preparation for the mess; being always “in my head” it was never expected. He and mom would try to clean it up as best they could, after which the journey would resume with the windows in the back cranked down all the way down. The cold plus my empty stomach helped to control the force of my retches, allowing me to twitch and gag without adding to the mess on the floor.

Of course that never helped much, because I was a twin. It was only a matter of time before the combination of my continued retching and the stinking mess on the floor assaulted the eyes, ears and nose of my brother to bring him to a sympathetic bout of hurling, restocking the mess on the floor to its pre-cleanup condition. The process would repeat itself, my brother now being the object of our dad’s wrath.

We constantly disgraced ourselves in this manner throughout our childhood years. Once in a while we would be invited on trips with friends, in their parents’ cars. On one particularly humiliating occasion, our best friend’s older sister drove us across the Bay Bridge to the San Francisco Zoo. She had just gotten her driver’s license and thought she was hot stuff. We ruined her day. With the windows tightly closed and she smoking like a chimney, it didn’t end well. Our eruptions were virtually simultaneous, an event that caused our friend to screw up his face in disgust and his sister to shout things that turn faces red. As we were in the middle of a 13-mile long bridge at the time, she was unable to stop the car. Her rage mounted with each passing mile as the barf molecules increasingly polluted the air. Her cigarette quickly lost its appeal, and she began to gag herself. We were surprised that he remained our friend. She certainly didn’t. With the exception of him, this nauseating event would happen exactly once per friend, because our malady wasn’t vehicle-specific. In fact, it haunted us until the exact time when we ourselves learned to drive, at which point the carsickness disappeared entirely never to return (with cars as the vehicles).

I will say this about dad, and fondly. His racing judgment was superb. His reflexes were those of a cat. When the time came for my brother and me to learn to drive, his capability as an instructor was as good as it gets. For that particular task he was surprisingly patient, and rather quickly passed on his advanced skills to us.

The downside of all that is that in the process of teaching us to drive, he unleashed his progeny onto the unsuspecting public after thoroughly embedding in them his faults. He paid for it, too. Until we bought our own cars we used his. Within three months he had to put his beautiful ’52 Merc into the shop for a new clutch and rear tires. I don’t understand how the U-joints and the rear end held out. We didn’t tell him, but we wouldn’t have given two cents for the rest of the drive train. I think he finally figured that out, because within a year he bought a beefier vehicle, a Packard Patrician. I think its engine was the one that kicked off the horsepower escalation – it was huge, one of the first 400 cubic-inch engines to grace a standard car. Despite its size and weight, propelled by that mill as we eagerly verified, the car was a rocket. Its only drawback was its brakes, which were wholly insufficient for the car’s performance and weight. As I remember, whichever one of us who had the car on a date would have to allow an extra half hour before returning it home to let the brakes cool off enough that the stink of the asbestos compound wouldn’t alarm dad or the neighbors. It went to the garage for new brakes at intervals not anticipated by either the manufacturer or dad. Thus began a long and sordid life for me and my brother as abusers of vehicles.

Well, here I’ve gone and done it again. But now it’s not about a vehicle and I’m in worse doo-doo than if it was. It began with an idea about our Christian God that made a lot of sense to me. Better yet, it helped me to understand enough about God that I could honestly love Him. Given that benefit, especially since it helped me to do something that I am commanded to do in the first place, I thought that the notion would be worthwhile to share. What I did was stick the idea into Family of God2, a book that I wrote about the God of our Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

That worked out really well. If I’m walking down the street, my former acquaintances (those to whom I gave the book) shove the pace up a notch and look at their shoes when they pass me. If they see me beforehand they make the effort to cross the street before we meet. My neighbors don’t know me. Things are kind of iffy in Church, too. So now, basically friendless, I’m directing my thoughts to you, the reader, in the hope that after reading the following lengthy defense of my notion, someone out there might agree with gumption or set me straight with useful facts.

NOTES
General Notes:

1. All bible references are taken from the King James Version
2. Only the first appearance in each chapter to an item to which a note is associated is subscripted.

Chapter 1
1. Motating, Arthur Perkins, unpublished (2011), portions available on request to perkinsart44@yahoo.com
2. Family of God, Arthur Perkins, published 2004 Falcon Books, portions or all available on request to perkinsart44@yahoo.com

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