elder abuse

i didn’t actually do it…

…but, maaaaaaaaaan, was it tempting.

so, wednesday night we’d just finished dinner and were about to start in on the last season of six feet under (i’ve seen it back when it came out, my wife never has) when my uncle called. he lives out in garfield, which if you know the austin area, is the land of scrapyards and fireworks stands out between the airport and bastrop. it’s wooded enough that every other business has “lost pines” in the title. he said he was “in a lot of trouble” and “in full blown panic mode”.

it was his first time to leave his property since august.

ever since i found the lot where he bought his truck any problems he’s had with said vehicle are always spoken about like it’s my fault. that is getting really old really fast, especially when they are explicitly his doing; like, say, not driving the truck for five months and waiting almost six weeks since the battery had been trickle charged to start it. it should be noted that i had found three or four trucks there i liked, and the one he bought was NOT it.

so, anyway, he was freaking out that he was stranded on the side of the road, and that his truck had died. he also wasn’t sure where he was, but it was “somewhere on highway seventy-one about five to ten miles out side of bastrop”.

okay, so a five mile stretch of heavily wooded state highway in the forty-eight degree dark. got it.

so we wrapped up dinner and i headed out. it should be mentioned that in the course of the conversation that took place within ninety seconds of me leaving the driveway he asked if he should “call triple a?” when i found out he had a membership i said, “yeah – this is kinda there thing!” and he said he’d call, but to please come out just in case because “they’d been fairly unreliable before”.

i went out highway twenty-one because it dead ends into highway seventy-one literally ten feet from the bastrop city limits. i figured from there i’d head towards his place and see him within five minutes.

(it should be noted just getting to that intersection was a 30-40 minute drive…and along the way he called me back to confirm i had told him he SHOULD call AAA, which i confirmed)

i head back towards his place on seventy one, make it all TWENTY MILES back to his road and never see him. when i tried to call him to see what was up his phone was off and going straight to voicemail. i just started heading back into bastrop, twenty plus miles away.

about halfway down the road i got him on the line and he said he was “surrounded by cops”. when i replied, “so if the cops are there they’ve got you so i can just go home?”, he responded, “no, they’re not doing anything because i told them you were coming!”

*heavy sigh*

so it turns out the location he described as “somewhere on highway seventy-one about five to ten miles out side of bastrop” was more like “”somewhere on highway seventy-one about five to ten yards INSIDE the city limits of bastrop”. in other words, where i had gotten on, had it been daylight, i would have seen him in my rear view mirror pretty much instantly, but it was dark and he didn’t have his hazards on and the law had yet to arrive.

so once i found him i chatted with the cops (some of which recognized me as they’d been tattooed at our shop) and we got a wrecker en route. we had been out on the side of the road, just since my arrival, waiting for about thirty minutes when i my uncle had calmed down enough to, step by step, go over his journey up to that point. it included multiple stops not too far apart in a truck that, from where i sat, probably shouldn’t have started in the first place given how long ago i’d charged the battery that all those short hops had killed. he kept insisting that the truck died “while they were driving” but then would talk about “how a strange light came on so they looked it up in the manual”.

i know my uncle – when he drives, he drives. he’s the kind that pulls over to call you. i’ve SEEN him do it. so i know if a light came on and they looked it up, they PULLED OVER AND SHUT OFF THE TRUCK to look it up, and then it didn’t restart.

armed with all this “new information” i said, “arthur, it’s your battery” which he doubted. but getting my jump box out and hooked up started the truck instantly. i had the cop cancel the wrecker (which had just showed up) and followed him home all thirty miles at between forty and sixty miles an hour (the speed limit out there is seventy). almost three hours after i’d pulled out of my driveway i got to pull back in.

i’m sure i get to replace that battery next week after the arctic cold snap.

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