Full moon

Bill-newby L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Say what you will, I am convinced the recent disruption of my life was linked to the full moon. In this instance it was called the “Super Moon” or if you prefer the astronomical term, a perigee-syzygy moon which signifies the moon’s closest approach to earth on its elliptic orbit. The supermoon phenomenon has been associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  Its troubling influence upon my universe was similarly apparent yesterday.

It began mid-afteroon as I drove to visit my elderly mother.  Two of my car’s dummy lights (“blind spot” and “cross traffic”) suddenly displayed fault warnings. Because this was the third time this had happened (only last week the dealership had re-set the computer to correct similar fault warnings) its reoccurrence was at least consistent with what appeared to be none other than an unresolved problem.  What however then transpired as I telephoned the dealership to advise of the problem was completely unexpected and highly unusual – the heat started pouring into the car!  The air conditioning system had stopped, the temperature setting hadn’t changed, and yet heat was billowing into the cabin of the car.  What made it worse is that I was unable to turn off the climate control system.  At last the climate control system shut itself off.  When I turned it back on the air conditioning worked as it should.

Two days earlier (Saturday) the monitor screen of the car displayed a telephone number for a contact in South Carolina, a number I had not called.  When I attempted to delete the number from the screen I was unable to do so, at least not without it reappearing.  Finally I stopped the car, turned off the engine, opened the car door to terminate all connections then restarted the car.  A new “locked” telephone number (this time my own cellular number) appeared and I encountered the same problem trying to erase it.  I repeated the stopping and starting of the car with no change.  Finally I thought to shut off my iPhone entirely and rebooted it, which appeared to do the trick and restored the car phone screen to what it should be.  The sync system of the car is having issues.  Given the other problems it seems there are a number of wide-ranging computer issues in the car.

After getting a replacement car from the dealership (an exercise which itself was strangely fraught with minor irritation) I headed to my mother’s place as originally planned.  Upon arriving there my mother read to me an article in the Ottawa Citizen which reported that the principals of the company which had recently done some landscaping work for her had been charged with fraud and other criminal offences.  Essentially they were alleged to have conned elderly people such as my mother.  While this didn’t come entirely as a surprise to me (as I had terminated their work and basically told them to get off my mother’s property – but not without having given them a substantial cheque for what they had already done so amateurishly), I was naturally angry with myself for having accommodated them at all in spite of my mother’s initial assertions (now reversed of course) that she was satisfied with their work.  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of and as a result the taste was bitter.

Then my mother advised of receipt of a cheque payable to the estate of my late father.  She wanted to deposit it to her account.  I tried to explain to her that there would be some hoops to jump through with the bank because we hadn’t probated the Will of my late father.  My explanation was lost upon my mother who like most people resorted to haughty condemnations of the bank and others whom she suggested were flying in the face of what she asserted to be obvious.  I called my own banker about the matter but had to leave a message as always.  I finally convinced my mother to let me have the cheque to see what I could do with it.  I am at least gratified that she received the cheque because I have been hounding the institution for it for some time but not without having run into the customary stone-walling in the name of privacy legislation, that incontrovertible weapon of the bureaucrat.

While at my mother’s residence I noted that the chap who had done some work upon her porch foundation had not returned to complete the work as he said he would.  I placed a call to his central office but again had to leave a message.  This was the second time I had called about this matter and had not as yet heard from anyone.  More frustration, including the possibility of having been conned again.

After I left my mother’s place I went to a local grocery store to fulfill what I thought was a small duty.  There things didn’t go much more smoothly than they had so far.  I was commissioned by household management to buy Tamari sauce.  I began by arresting a chap in the aisles who had the appearance of a manager.  Hesitantly he  condescended to interrupt his chores to call someone on his cellular telephone.  Whomever he spoke to apparently had no idea what Tamari sauce was.  When the manager made enquiries of me I too threw up my hands, confirming I was the messenger only.  As the manager continued to explore the aisles I diverted myself on another mission for linguine and after having found it rejoined the manager in his investigations.  By this time the manager had enlisted the support of another chap with whom I was familiar from the delicatessen.  He too asked me what the sauce was to be used for and I reiterated my ignorance.  Then I was dragged by him to another counter where an Asian chap was preparing food for exhibition.  He was someone who reportedly made soy sauces from scratch.  Once again he grilled me upon the anticipated use of the Tamari product and I repeated what had by now become my stock response, adding that the love affair was  over and that I no longer gave a damn about Tamari sauce.

To complete my frustration, as I passed through the check-out counter with my butter, linguine and strawberries, the young female clerk asked me whether I required a bag, a question I mistakenly interpreted as utterly rhetorical and therefore responded with a perfunctory, “Yes-s-s!”  The girl was justifiably taken aback and made a point of indignantly handing me my receipt without a word, a frozen favour I reciprocated.

You would be mistaken to think that my consternations were over.  When I finally arrived home the garage door to the underground parking lot was not functioning (a defect I had omitted to mention from the outset of my adventures since I had anticipated that the fault would have been perfected by then).  But there was more.  As I connected with a resident in the parking area and shared with her some of my frustrations throughout the day, it was only when I fully regained admission to the apartment that I recalled I had left the groceries in the back seat of the rental car!