Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Air Conditioner, The Car, and the Cactus

It was an ass-hot weekend.

On ass-hot weekends, especially when you're already moving into a new place and spending money hand-over-fist, the thing to do is buy yourself a couple-few of those handy-dandy newfangled "window unit air conditioners". They'll cool you right down.

Of course, leave it to Sean and me to do this after the ass-hottest day of the weekend.

The sale flyer from Home Depot advertised a great sale on AC's. So we swung by to pick some up.
"Excuse me," Sean asked with Sean-style excruciating politeness, "where are your air conditioners?"

"On a truck. On the way here." replied the orange-clad Home Depot employee with a guffaw. Apparently, they've been sold out of the things since pretty much day one of the sale. And they don't want to tell us when "the truck" might arrive with said air conditioners, because the last time they did that, 400 people were lined up outside to buy a scant 100 AC units. Like the mid-eighties Cabbage Patch craze all over again. Except the AC units are much harder to lift and swipe from other people.

So, the Home Depites suggested that we try BJ's Wholesale. They were running an Open House weekend, and we could ask for a pass and "try out" membership.

We checked it out and found, to our delight, that air conditioners were stacked sky-high in BJ's. Yay! We made plans to come back the next day, when they wouldn't be making impatient announcements that "the store is closing in 10, 5, 3 minutes...."

So. The next day, we had a plan. We had been moving stuff all day, and were ready for a well-deserved break. Our plan was a quick sting-operation trip to BJ's to get the AC units, followed by dinner and a movie--both in chilly, dimly-lit locales.

"Hmm", Sean pondered, "Should we take my mom's Jeep instead of the car?"

The Jeep has no AC. I was hot. Mea culpa.

"No," I replied "They should fit in your car just fine."

(Well, everyone knows where the story's going now; thanks to my clever use of "foreshadowing". But I'll pretend that you don't, and continue with my story.)

After selecting and loading the AC units into our industrial-sized shopping cart, we decided we should take a quick look around and make sure there wasn't anything else we needed. I was back past the pet supplies, next to the meat department, when I spied it. An immense, tall cactus. Southwestern perfection. Spires of green reaching feet and feet into the sky. And only $15.99! The things cost at least 40 bucks at Home Depot. Ignoring the constant burning pain in my wrists, I seized the cactus pot and made for the front of the store with it resting safely against my hip, jutting out of my side like some kind of terrible phallus.

Back at the front of the store, Sean just smiled at me, amused by my big-cactus obsession. We perched it on top of the AC's and eventually traded credit card numbers for goods. I had to turn the cactus sideways to get it out of the store.

Yay! It was time to load the car and head to the local Macaroni Grill!


Neither AC unit would fit in the trunk.


My bad.

We ended up with the smaller AC unit in the backseat. The big one wouldn't fit in the backseat, so it had to go in the front passenger side, with the seat laying all the way back. This meant that I'd have to ride in the backseat, contorted around the giant boxes like a ghetto Cirque du Soleil wannabe.

But no big deal, right? It would work.

Wait--the cactus.

Sean handed it to me through the sunroof, and I set it down on top of the air conditioner and wrapped a spare arm around it. It stuck out of the sunroof a good 2 feet. This meant the sunroof had to stay open.

But no big deal, right? It all fit!

We started moving, and a few pieces of dirt and fertilizer began to fly around the car. Just a few. Then we got on the highway. Instantly, the car's (ahem...leather...) interior was caught in what appeared to be the worst dirt tornado ever to hit eastern Massachusetts. And it was still hot out.

By the time we got back to Sean's current place, we were sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And Sean had to haul both AC's upstairs. Again, sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And there was about an inch of sand in his car.

To his credit, Sean is still speaking to me. The cactus is still intact. And I was only reminded once that "HE wanted to bring the jeep!"

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