I can remember one night when my car got pissed and just called it quits. It was three, maybe four years ago, I don't know which month but I know it was cold. I was on my way home from a long day at work, and on Ogden Ave., maybe three miles from home, the Jeep just gave up the ghost. I was able to get it off the road and out of traffic. Then I panicked.
I do not deal with this kinda stuff very well. I just like stuff to work the way it's supposed to, so I don't have to worry about it. Too much to ask? I think not. And when it doesn't, I like to have help. I don't need someone to fix it, but I do need a little support.
So I called Christopher. Who asked me why I hadn't just called Triple A.
This is not the preferred response. You know, just in case you were wondering.
Turned out I'd run out of gas. My gas gauge is shot, so while it was registering a quarter tank, there was nothing but fumes running the show. I learned this from the kind gentleman from Triple A who eventually came to my aid. Christopher showed up, too, none to happy about it, but to his credit, he was there. Under duress, I might add.
So I've been thinking ... what separates family from acquaintances, in my life, anyway, is their responses to those kind of phone calls. I call Brian when Christopher starts moving his stuff, and his response? "I'll be right there." I call Marge when Christopher is pissed at me for talking to Judy the Ho? "I'll be right there." I call Kelly when I lock my keys in the car in Highland Park? "I'm about two hours away, but I can make the trip if you need me." I won't even bore you with the details of how many times my dad has bailed me out, figuratively and damn near literally. And there are many, many more examples of "I'll be right there." Even the people who live a flight or two away do their damnedest to be present in some way - a Starbuck's care package or regular phone calls when the chips are down.
I hope I offer the same to the people I love. I know that I've tried. And I know with everything that I am that I will never again settle into a routine with anyone - be they friend, family or romantic interest - whose first response is anything other than "I'll be right there."
In a perfect world, they'd be there with tissues, tequila and a turkey sandwich.