i had an interesting phone call the other day from my uncle…
…but i feel a little back story is needed to put things in perspective.
my uncle in an interesting guy. he’s gay, but of that generation that we don’t talk about it. never mind that he has this “friend” and “roommate” that hasn’t had a job or been away from his side for forty-five years. his partner is also hispanic, and my uncle will speak fondly of going to “the cantinas” to “hang with their amigos” and even has his name as “ARTURO” on his voicemail, but will also call cesar chavez st “first street” because it was forced on the city to change it by the mexican community. he also still refers to MLK (which has been so named for longer than i’ve been alive, and i’m fifty-two) as “19th street” because “the blacks forced it to happen”.
so, there’s that.
there’s also the conspiracy theories. not large ones, or at least not to my knowledge. i’m not ignorant enough to bring up politics or any of the hot button topics in front of him. but he has his own from his personal universe that keep him plenty busy.
if you call him he won’t answer your call unless he knows you and has you programmed in his phone. yeah, a lot of us are like that, i’ll admit. but he, until a year or two ago, would also screen his home calls with an answering machine. why? because he walked outside of a sears (that dates this story right there, don’t it?) and was knocked to the ground and his checkbook wallet (which he kept in his front shirt pocket back then, with cash sticking out of it) was taken. that night his home phone rang and when he answered it there was no one there, they just hung up. in his eyes it was “the thief calling to see if he was home so they could finish the job”. never mind the fact that he lives in a rural spot and so ALL THE CONTENTS OF HIS WALLET list his mailing address, which is a post office box in downtown austin, over twenty-five miles from his actual residency outside of bastrop. not the point. they somehow found him and were coming to “finish the job”. with google that’s not a great feat…but this snatch and grab happened the week before xmas of nineteen fucking eighty seven. and, again, he just stopped screening calls with an answering machine a year or two ago. now he uses some kind of mobile phone that replaced the home phone (same number, and NOT his cell phone) to screen. because that guy might come back…after thirty six years.
flash forward to 2011 when we were cleaning out my grandmother’s house, which my uncle had basically used as climate controlled storage for almost a decade after she died. at one point i got a call asking if i’d been to the house the day before. uncharacteristically i hadn’t. he wanted to call the police and report a possible break in. why? because he had shown up at the house that evening and the door was unlocked, but the deadbolt wasn’t. ya see, my grandmother had an in home nurse she had always suspected of stealing from her, even though nothing had ever come up missing. but she had a key to the house. after grandma died, my uncle changed the deadbolt, but not the lock. his theory was she had shown up in the middle of the night to get in and take things, but had only been able to unlock the one lock but not the deadbolt. she had been foiled by his ingenuity! i pointed out that said health provider had…
a. not ever been proven to have stolen ANYTHING
b. not been to the house in twelve years or more at that point
so maybe, just MAYBE, it was a better chance that a seventy-something year old had forgotten to lock a lock versus an allegedly corrupt health care worker had come out, in the middle of the night, under the random chance that the elderly woman she had cared for (who at this point would be a hundred and four if she was still around) still lived there and she could get in to collect more loot twelve years after the fact. but he wouldn’t hear of it. i did, at least, convince him that calling he police would be a waste of time.
which brings us to the current one – he called me with concerns that the new (to him) truck that we had recently picked up for him was killing him. literally. how? with carbon monoxide poisoning. never mind the fact that there is ZERO proof, and, in fact, to disprove this, it’s somehow effecting him, in the driver’s seat, but not his partner in the passenger seat. but he’s had problems focusing and has even lapped off the road a time or two with a couple wheels, and even had to take longer to do sudoku puzzles after being out and about for a bit, so the truck MUST be poisoning him, and as carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless it could be killing him and there’s no way to know! that HAS to be why he’s driving erratically and having problems focusing after running around. i’m sure the fact that he’ll be eighty-six in a few months and we are literally living through the hottest recorded july in history has noting to do with it…it’s GOTTA be the CO, right?
somebody needs a dose of reality!