My Grumpy Dad Gets Delivered Home Like Chinese Take-Out
My dad has always done things differently. He's never one to drive on the beaten path.
This time...he walks it.
For those of you just joining us, the My Grumpy Dad column is written by my father @MattStevens. He tells 100 percent true stories from his weird and wild life. And we get to comment, make fun and laugh with him.
This week dad encounters a problem when he finds himself without a car. See what happens!
As always the grumpiest moments are in bold and my notes are pointed out with a "Tess' Note" label.
Welcome to #GrumpyMonday!
My son needed a ride to the golf course for his high school match. “Let’s go! I’ll be late!” he demanded and warned.
“Okay. Okay,” I said, grabbing my keys, but forgetting my wallet.
Tess' Note: Dad believes that getting somewhere early is a waste of time. We were late for everything as kids. It's just how he likes to roll. My little brother hates being late.
When we arrived at the course, we both smelled gasoline. The Buick is ten years old. Stuff happens—a lot.
“I’ll drive down to the Marathon station and have the mechanic take a look,” I said. “Good luck, son. Hit ‘em straight.”
When I arrived at the Marathon station, Roy, the mechanic who’s been working on my cars for 13 years, looked like someone had kidnapped his dog.
“It’s only three o’clock,” I said. “You can’t look so downtrodden for at least another two hours.”
“Busy,” he said. “Busy, busy.”
Tess' Note: Dad had to drop the car off. My mom was at work, I'm out of the country, my sister's at college and my brother had his golf match. That left nobody to drive my dad home. Roy couldn't spare any time because it was so busy. So...dad's gotta figure it out.
I explained my car’s symptoms and he promised to get to it by the end of the week. He apologized for not having anyone to drive me home.
“No problem,” I said. “It’s only four miles. The walk will do me good.”
It was all uphill for the first mile and a half. Being a guy who walks and carries his clubs when he plays golf, it was easy. However, I did keep an eye on the road just in case someone I knew might happen along to offer a lift. It’s funny how many things you notice when you walk that you never notice when you drive.
There was a skilled nursing facility on the left side of Brecksville Road—that’s the side I walked on because I’m left handed. [Tess' Note: logic.]
There was a dermatologist’s office, too.
I had just been talking with Mrs. Grumpy about finding a dermatologist for a skin checkup. So, I decided to walk in and see if I could schedule an appointment. Lucky, lucky! They were in our insurance network and I was able to schedule appointments for both of us—twenty minutes apart on November 10, our anniversary!
Tess' Note: How romantic.
I walked another quarter of a mile and saw a Sherwin Williams store. Painting the interior of our house has been on my mind for a while, so I decided to stop in and see if they could recommend a good crew to do the work. I was given the names and numbers of three reliable crews. Walking home was really paying off!
As I exited the paint store, I spotted a Chinese takeout place called, “Yummy Yummy Express.” I thought, I wonder if they deliver. I thought that because I still had more than two miles to walk and I figured if I bought some food, they might deliver it and me to my house. That makes sense. Doesn’t it?
Tess' Note: It does make sense. It's odd logic, but it makes sense. My dad may be a nut, but he's pretty creative.
No one was at the counter (who eats Chinese food at 3:15 P.M?). I did see a Chinese man (fancy that!) in the kitchen, so I called out, “Customer!” The man walked out and asked if I wanted to order something.
“You order something? Here menu,” he said, handing me a menu.
“Do you deliver?” I asked.
“Deliver? We deliver,” he said.
I told him about my car. I told him about my long walk and the stops at the dermatologist and the paint store. Then, I told him about my brilliant idea to ask if the Chinese food delivery driver could give me a ride home—along with my Chinese food. I also explained that I didn’t have my wallet, or any money, but that I had to drive back to the gas station in my other vehicle to get my golf clubs out of the Buick’s trunk—so I’d come right back and pay for the food. I wasn’t sure if he understood any of that.
“You need ride? Okay. Yeah,” he said.
Tess' Note: WOW it worked!
So, this forty-something Chinese man I’d never met was willing to give me a ride home, but apparently the thirty-something white woman--who was the actual delivery driver was not.
I’m uncomfortable with it,” I overheard her telling him.
“Okay,” said the man. “I take him.”
So, I jumped into a van with a Chinese man named Tony (Toh Nee?). Along the way, I asked a lot of questions. He told me he’d been in the United States more than fifteen years; that he started in New York City; moved to Columbus, OH; then to downtown Cleveland, where he’d seen more than his share of gun barrels pointed across his counter.
“You must be happy to be in Brecksville,” I said.
“Yeah,” he smiled. “Happy here.”
“Me, too,” I said.
When we reached my driveway, I told him to wait while I put the two giant containers of beef and broccoli into the refrigerator.
“It’s okay,” he said. “You come back whenever.”
“Really?” I asked. (I wondered if he might have been having second thoughts about his decision to give me a ride—like it occurred to him that I could go inside, grab a gun, shoot him and steal his KIA Sorrento.)
“Yeah. It’s okay,” he said.
“All right. I’ll see you in a little while. Thanks very much,” I said.
I put the food away, grabbed my wallet and the keys to my oldest daughter’s 2004 Chevy Venture Van (which I’m babysitting—along with her cat—while she’s in South Korea) Tess' Note: Hey that's me! Then, I drove back to Yummy Yummy Express to pay for the food and to give Tony a generous tip.
“He’s not here,” said the woman whose paranoia had prevented her from being the recipient of a $10 tip.
“Okay,” I said, handing her $30. “Here’s twenty for the food and ten for Tony.”
“That’s a big tip,” she said.
Here tone seemed to imply that she was totally kicking herself for blowing more than an hour's pay by considering that this fifty-something guy in front of her- a guy dressed like he was headed for the golf course--might be a serial killer.
Tess' Note: Brecksville is rated as one of the safest places in the US by the way.
“Could have been yours,” I said, feeling grumpy because of her implication that I might be a dangerous person. I told her I’d be back after collecting my golf clubs from the Buick’s trunk.
Fifteen minutes later, I returned to Yummy Yummy Express. Tony was standing in the kitchen.
“Hey, Tony!” I hollered to my new friend. “Come out for a selfie!”
Tony didn’t know what that was, but when I put my arm around him and told him to say “cheese” to my phone, he was like a 16-year-old cheerleader on a trip to Cedar Point. Okay, maybe not.