By Dom Cioffi
I started my to-do list days early because I knew Saturday was going to be my first weekend in months where I had no plans. I wasn’t traveling, my son didn’t have a game, and there were no parties – this was my big chance to knock out all of those things that had been building up in my head to get accomplished.
The plan was to be up early with a steaming coffee in hand and be headed out the door before anyone else in my house had roused. I would then attack my to-do list with ardent fervor.
First I’d hit the dump, then I’d make a donation to the Salvation Army, then I’d hit the home center for supplies before heading to the barbershop for a quick trim. Later, I’d have my oil changed, at which time I’d go for a run. After that, I’d rake leaves at home and do one final mowing. And then I’d then throw a ladder on the roof and clean the gutters. Once darkness hit, I’d fix the clogged sink upstairs, do some laundry, replace a few burned out bulbs and organize my muddled bookcase.
When all that was complete, I’d then sit down with a scotch, turn on the MLB Playoffs and settle into my easy chair knowing that I took full advantage of the day.
Unfortunately, none of that happened.
On Saturday morning, I did rise before the rest of my family and I did have a steaming cup of coffee in my hand as I headed out the door. However, once I turned the engine of my truck on and started backing out, everything changed.
I knew in the first two feet that something was awry – the way my vehicle lurched to the side and seemed to drag. Immediately, my brain said, “flat tire.”
I did the prerequisite inner prayer as I opened my door and scanned the left side tires. Everything looked fine so I wandered around to the opposite side only to have my worst fear realized: not only was my tire flat, but it was really flat – like completely-devoid-of-air, not-going-anywhere flat.
I considered taking my wife’s car to do errands, but then realized that my truck was conveniently blocking her exit from the garage. Once I accepted that the die was cast, I threw on some old clothes and set to work jacking up my truck so I could remove the tire.
Once it was off, I rolled it over to my neighbor’s house and begged for a ride to the tire store, which thankfully he provided.
Luckily for me, the woman at the tire store said she could have it fixed within the hour so we meandered over to the lobby chairs to wait.
And this is when things got interesting.
A few minutes after we sat down, the front door of the tire store burst open with enough force to make everyone look up.
The guy responsible was no more than a foot or two inside when he started yelling at the woman behind the counter.
“I brought my car in here two days ago to have the tire fixed and it’s flat again!” he said abruptly.
“I’ll be with you in a moment, sir,” the woman replied.
“No, you people will deal with this RIGHT NOW!” he barked back.
At that point, everyone went on high alert because rarely do you hear someone be publicly chastised in such an abrasive and condescending manner.
The man then walked over to the counter, stepping in front of several other people in line and demanded that he be given immediate attention. The woman politely said that she would be happy to help after attending to the other customers and again he insisted that he be helped NOW.
“Hold on, sir,” the woman said as she abruptly exited into the garage area.
A few minutes later she returned followed by what could only be described as a giant. This mechanic was at least 6’5” and had to be close to 300 pounds. He was certainly hefty, but you would never call him fat. He also had a look that suggested that he was not entirely happy nor intelligent.
But then he walked directly up to the man and in the coolest, most pacifying tone told him how important he was and how sorry he was that he had experienced problems. He went on to explain that they would stand behind any issues caused by their workmanship and then offered him a cup of coffee.
My neighbor and I were both shocked and impressed at how this guy totally controlled the situation without ever once resorting to the fact that he could have destroyed the guy with one finger.
Afterwards my neighbor looked at me and exclaimed, “Now that’s a guy to be friends with.”
This week’s feature, “Bridge of Spies,” also features a cool character who reacted savvy under pressure. Except in this case, the lives of several men are at stake.
Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg, “Bridge of Spies” tells the real life story of a clandestine spy exchange that occurred during the height of the Cold War.
When you put a great director and a great actor together with screenwriters like the Coen brothers, you’re bound to end up with a quality picture. Check this one out if you enjoy historical dramas told with wit, artistry and a true sense of purpose.
An inflated “B+” for “Bridge of Spies.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]