In the month or so that we've been in Edmonton, we've been in car accidents twice. We've suffered through unbearably cold temperatures and serious disappointments on the homefront. First, my computer died, and then Kevin's computer died. My brilliant physicist-husband managed to resuscitate them both -- it was like raising Lazarus from the dead, I tell you -- but not without losing lots of irreplaceable files in the process.
If our story has any biblical undertones, though, it has more in common with the trials of Job than with the resurrection of Lazarus. Job, if you recall, was tested in his faith by the death of his crops, the death of his livestock, the death of his children, and finally, as if to add insult to injury, God sent him a nasty case of boils.
Well, the boil on my butt is named Mohammed. Mohammed, if you recall, was the near-sighted cabdriver who rear-ended us two days after we bought our new car. He begged us not to go through the insurance companies. "I'll lose my job," he said. Instead, he promised to pay all of the expenses out of pocket. It would take him a few weeks to come up with the money, he warned, but since he'd been in communication with us the whole time, we felt reasonably assured that he would.
But of course he was not able to come up with the money. When Kevin called last week just before the car was due for repairs, Mohammed confessed that he could only come up without about half of what he owed us. By this this time over a month had passed since the accident. It was too late to report it to the insurance companies -- we'd never even reported it to the police! We knew, as Mohammed certainly knew, that $500 was all we were ever going to get out of him. It was take it or leave it. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, we chose to take it, along with the lesson never to make such a foolish mistake again.
So at 10:00 am last Saturday morning, Kevin waited in the food court of a nearby mall for Mohammed, while I sat flipping through magazines in the mall bookstore. Kevin wouldn't let me go with him, as he feared I might tear into Mohammed if I had to see him again. Besides, he said, the whole thing felt kinda sketchy: a public hand-off with all that cash in such a dismal little strip mall -- he'd rather I wasn't involved. That was fine by me, but as I starred blindly into the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, I couldn't help imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios involving guns... violence ... the criminal underworld. However, as 10:30 rolled around and then 10:45, we began to fear a meeting wouldn't take place at all. Kevin tried calling every phone number we had for Mohammed: at work, at home, on his cell. At best we got no answer; at worst, we were told by the voice on the other end of the line, "I don't know any Mohammed."
We were about to have to give up and admit we'd been had, badly had, when Mohammed finally called. He had our money, he said. He'd spent all night collecting it from family and friends in between making cab calls, but he'd gotten in so late that he'd overslept and missed our appointment. It was still just half of what he owed us, but after all we'd been through, or feared we'd have to go through, we were grateful just to have it. By 11:00 Kevin had the five-hundred dollars in hand -- in a little brown paper bag, no less -- and we lanced that boil out of our backside forever.
But that's it, OK, God? We definitely cannot take anymore of this.