It began with my 84-year-old father-in-law backing one of his car wheels off the driveway. Back when he was married to my mother-in-law, in the Belgian endive and fondue days, many people backed off the driveway. It’s treacherous; they were Chardonnay-infused. Now, new marriage, lots to do in front of a TV, they still insist on going out on Hallowe’en night. He shouldn’t be driving at all, much less at night, but my mom-in-law was irritated he parked so close to the pole and she didn’t trust herself to back down, either. Hey, here’s an idea: stay in the house! Have the younger generation do it for you! Anyway, even with her shouting “stop” and waving, he didn’t. Stop. An hour later, a tow truck came and hauled it off the driveway for him. By then Mr. Halfstory and The Son, having shaken their heads in silent wonder, had departed for The Son’s drop-off point, both his parents hoping he wouldn’t do something stupid with the other three stooges he was meeting.
But there was more: Halfstory and I were coming back from picking up Ramona and as we drove slowly past our mailbox, kind of like slowing down to view a terrible car accident, we realized our mailbox had been decapitated, most likely by the tow truck, given the location of Ichabod’s “head.” The very responsible tow guy came later and tried to hammer it in but gave up and came the next morning to do a proper job; I think the house scared him. Keep in mind the charitable thing to say about our permanent fixer-upper is that it’s…friendly. Like Sanford & Son. Start humming. You know you want to.
The final piece came later while my brother-in-law (many hyphens living with us) was sitting with Ramona and me while Mr. Halfstory was fetching Yvette from her party. We heard a loud pop and the inside glass of our sliding glass door – only the inside pane – cracked and began spider-ing out. No earthquake, no baseball bat crashing into it. Actually, it’s almost impossible to see that portion of the door, much less touch it, because of cleat-backpack-crap-that-has-no-home-combat boot traffic blocking it. My suspicion is the The Son grazed it with one of the 2,457 swings he takes inside the house every day, but I have no proof so I can’t mete out the proper punishment. I’m also sure he didn’t notice if he did it, which would make punishment both unfair and shocking. Wait. What’s wrong with that?
Fittingly enough, I’m reading a post-Rapture (or maybe not Rapture) book by Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers. I read Little Children and was kind of underwhelmed, but I think Perrotta has a timely nose for his fiction. I do like how he chose a moderately (not finished with it yet) non-violent way of discussing what could be the end of the world. It makes it more depressing and creepy. Maybe that’s his point. I remember feeling some serious sadness with Little Children, too, although that was likely my own little children worries. Anyway, it’s well-written, I am starting to like and care for the characters, but beware the despair. Or, put on a tiger hood and call it a day.