What goes around

Categories Elsewhere in UY

Setting out to do a good deed, I end up needing one

Ah, it gets complicated. Buckle up.

Starts with a WhatsApp call from Fernanda in Montevideo, an Urguaya whom we met at a recent asado (barbecue) of Jerry, our American country neighbor.

She has sold her apartment in Montevideo (we knew) but still needed to retrieve a few things. Apparently locks had been changed and Jerry’s Uruguaya “secretary” had arranged to meet her and help out, then showed up at the wrong time with the wrong keys, and blamed it all on Chuck.

Chuck is Jerry’s longtime friend, who unbeknownst to me was now at Jerry’s place here, while Jerry is in Miami, heading off on a cruise to Cuba. Turns out the keys he gave were the ones Jerry told him to give.

Fernanda leaves for Spain on Friday, needs a solution. Surely I have a number for Chuck somewhere — ? No, I don’t.

But then remember I need to pick up the charged battery from local ANCAP service station after failed jump-start of Mike and Michelle’s 18-year-old Ford yesterday. So, why not drive a few miles more and talk to Chuck?

Might have worked had I not first turned off after the Ruta Interbalnearia bridge, to the ANCAP station. The Interbalneria is bumper-to-bumper, with lots of people now exiting to take Ruta 11 in my direction, so it seemed to make more sense than stopping there on the way back.

At ANCAP, I learn that Mike had earlier retrieved the battery on foot, and texted me. My current interpretation of smartphone being “camera,” I was offline and got nothing.

Oh well, let’s connect with Chuck.

Back-o-mind wondered if he might be driving into Atlántida for early supper.

Indeed. 100 meters short his drive, we passed. I waved. He waved. Because you wave at everyone, whether you know them or not. Didn’t occur to me that he couldn’t have seen me anyway, driving straight into the sun.

I waved my arm out the window after he passed. Beeped the horn. Nothing.

And so I thought, if I can just turn around and catch with him…. So, slam into reverse, aim for that last driveway, and fail, totally. Backing up in haste, in hurry, with limited vision given dusty windows and light (notice shadow), I quickly found myself in a not-insignificant ditch.

car in ditch, Uruguay
Stuck. As in, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Can’t even open the door. Crawl out the passenger side, call neighbor Mariana, whose father Manuel has hauled my car out of mud before with his tractor. Alas, she’s in Montevideo, and he’s not there. Let me call Abel, she says. Calls me back with good news.

Ten minutes later, a kindly white-haired man rolls up with a big John Deere tractor. We spend a few minutes finding a place to hook onto the car. Then, with no effort at all from the tractor, he gently pulls me out onto the road.

I try to give him some money, but he of course will have nothing to do with it. We’re neighbors, he says.




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