Wednesday is Mom day. I try to make it out to Tinley Park and visit Mom every week, usually with Mark in the car. I have to admit, it's kind of nice when Mark doesn't feel up to the one hundred mile round trip. I sit in the car moving along smoothly, listening to the music I like on the radio, cool as a cucumber. When Mark is along I have to occasionally hear Justin Bieber or The Chainsmokers. I hate them both equally, but at least the radio drowns out Mark's screams and cries of fright as I drive along. Mom likes it when Mark comes with me. She finds his stories funny. I've heard them a hundred times, but with Mom's memory problem it's always fresh for her. So anyway, after two hours with Mom yesterday, Mark and I get into the car and start home. As usual I have the radio on listening to some of my favorite music, when it all goes quiet. Over on the little computer screen a strange graphic has come up telling me that some catastrophic failure has happened. I stop the car and hit all the buttons. Nothing. I turn the car off and restart it. Nothing. I scream at Mark to get the manual out and see what that error message means. Nothing. I am at a loss. I have no radio and we have just started our trip back into the city. Depending on traffic, that could mean one hour or more of silence. Except that there will be no silence. Mark is in the car. Driving with Mark is hell. He cries, he whines, he screams, he constantly points out the obvious.
"Look out, red light coming up! Jesus, look out for that car."
"Quit Jesusing me, and that car is two lanes over. It is nowhere near us."
From over in the passenger seat I can hear him hissing and grinding his teeth. The name of Jesus has never passed the lips of an atheist as much as during a drive with Mark.
"Oh Jesus! You're too close. Oh my god!"
"Mark! That truck is not going to hit us."
"Jesus, drive slower. Please slow down... "
"If I slow down that giant truck behind us will drive right up my ass. I have to go the same speed as the rest of the traffic."
"Oh Jesus..... "
"Oh Jesus..... "
Now I have to admit that Mark is correct on this point. I do drive fast. However, I do not drive any faster than the prevailing traffic. In fact, as we were driving home, going fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, I was passed by a State Trooper going at least ten miles per hour faster than me. He didn't even look at us. He didn't care. I believe I would have to have been going near one hundred miles per hour before I would get pulled over on a Chicago expressway.
So I have no idea what is wrong with the radio, but you can be sure I will get that fixed quickly. There is no way I could put up with the drive out to Tinley Park next week without it. I just could not take another one hundred miles with only Mark to listen to.