Bit By Bit
Monday and today were my eighth and ninth radiation sessions. Dr. Wu has prescribed a total of 33 of them for me. That means I’m now one-quarter of the way through it all.
Wahoo! Hooray! Huzzah! Yay!
I feel like a little kid who proudly announces he’s five and a half years old.
More good news. Just by touching it, I can sense My Olive Pit™ is shrinking. Swear to god. There’s no doubt about it.
The Loved One had a yen for Brozinni pizza Sunday afternoon. Brozinni is in Nashville (IN) and is part of a little chain that includes locations in Indy and some little speck on the Florida resort map. It’s good stuff, albeit New York style which should mean this old Chi-town connoisseur ought to sniff dismissively at it, but no, I’m no snob. I dig good pizza no matter where it comes from.
I was feeling reasonably good so we drove around Monroe Lake and even parked at the Fairfax SRA beach. A decent wind had kicked up and the waves licked the sand as far up as a six-inch-high ridge of ice, a moraine-like line that edged the shore. A horde of seagulls congregated in one spot straddling both the sand and the water. Half the thousand or so birds floated and the other half sat on land. Every few seconds one or another would rouse herself and fly from sand to the drink and exchange places with another gull.
Right about this time a few flakes of snow started falling. We didn’t think much of it. We had no idea a snowstorm was due to hit at that very moment.
When we’d finished mooning at the gulls on the beach, TLO put the hot rod in gear and we headed east. By the time we got to State Road 46, the snow had started to accumulate. “You still wanna go?” TLO asked.
“I sure do.”
Look, when it comes to pizza, I’m like the US Postal Service, y’know, Neither snow nor….
As we passed the Yellowwood State Forest cut-off, the pavement had become dicey but we were too far gone to turn back. Besides, this snow wouldn’t last much longer, would it? After all, the temp’s gonna rise gradually throughout the week until it hits 60 by Saturday. Keep goin’, baby.
We found a parking spot directly outside the front door of Brozinni’s. A good inch or two of snow already had accumulated. Only two other tables were occupied. We put in our order for a pizza the size of a conference room table, to go. “Good idea,” the waitress said. “You’ll be all set when you’re snowed in.”
We smiled at her, figuring she, a typical South Central Indianan, was referring to an inch or two as being snowed in.
Of course, TLO possesses a more alarmist nature than I do. She had to use the rest room and on her way back to the table, she cornered the waitress and asked what she meant by snowed in. The two of them moseyed back talking about an impending doom.
“Yeah,” the waitress said, “at first they said it’d be two or three inches. Now they’re saying six or eight inches!”
Now there were only us and one other table in the place. The other table was a family with two little girls. “I’ll thank you not to use foul language around these kids,” I said, nodded at the girls.
“You said snow. Dirty word.”
We gathered up our pizza and made for the door. The family at the other table did too. Now the joint would be empty. And outside, there were easily three or four inches of snow.
Now, under normal circs, the drive from Nashville to Chez Big Mike would take about twenty minutes, the town being only 16 miles distant.
The Loved One gripped the wheel so tightly her knuckles turned white. We made our way up the first big rise outside Nashville, the one just east of the entrance to Brown County State Park, at no more than 10 mph. Cars coming the opposite way, downhill, had their flashers going. The faces of the drivers I could see were grim and taut.
And that, I may remind you, was only the first big hill. As we neared each steep rise, some of the smarter drivers would go so far as to stop in the middle of the road, wait a sufficient length of time for the preceding car to get far enough ahead, and then speed up so as to hit the hill with a full head of steam.
By the third big hill, even that strategy was for mainly naught. It took us more than an hour to get out of Brown County. The slick pavement made climbing even Monroe County’s more modest rises impossible. Traffic came to a complete standstill just four miles from our home.
The evolutionary branch which produced The Loved One at some point in the mists of time had lost the gene for patience. Just sitting there, going nowhere in the middle of SR 46 with snow swirling around us wouldn’t do, not at all. TLO pulled a neat three-pointer — I still don’t know how she did it, what with the ice skating rink surface, but she did — and headed back east. She drove back to the Friendship Road cut-off.
Friendship is a country road that connects to Lampkins Ridge Road which would bring us to SR 446, on which we live. That’s all good in theory but Friendship rises and falls like a roller coaster and is harrowing even on the nicest of days. I thought sure we’d wind up stuck in a ditch or worse, hurtling down a ravine several hundred feet deep. I refrained from making these observations as TLO rumbled over the historic Friendship Road Bridge.
Friendship Rd. Bridge On The Best Of Days
The turn onto Lampkins, about a mile and a half down from the bridge leads onto a steep 20-foot incline. TLO hit it with as much momentum as she could muster but not even halfway up her tires lost their bite. We were stuck. I thought: “Goddamn it! Can’t you be more patient for a change?” And, “I knew it! I knew we’d get stuck!”
Most important, I said nothing. You ever hear of the old joke, “How can you tell if a man or woman is married? Check their tongue for bite marks.”
The Loved One said, “I didn’t grow up in Racine, Wisconsin for nothing.”
With that, she started spinning her drive wheels, not wildly, not at top rpm. Really, sort of gently. The friction after a few minutes simply melted the snow down until tread hit asphalt — and we jumped ahead like a cheetah, up and over the rise, and onward, to home.
It’d taken us nearly two hours to travel a mere 16 miles but The Loved One had made it happen under the worst possible circumstances. My advice to all heterosexual males and/or lesbians out there: If you’re looking for a mate, you can’t do much better than a Wisconsin gal.