Tonight I agreed against my better judgment to have coffee with an old friend who took leave of his senses several years ago and hasn't been back to visit them since.
Zorg can't abide this guy in the house, so I told him we'd go out to Tully's. My friend putted up to our house at 7:30 p.m. in his ancient heap. When I offered to drive in my car--actually, in the loaner car from the repair shop where my own car is being serviced--he agreed because his passenger seat was filled with junk.
We drove into downtown Ballard and were cruising down NW 56th Street when he yelled "look out"--just as a Toyota exiting a bank parking lot across the street merged into my driver's side door with a horrible crunch. The woman driving the Toyota was very apologetic. She said it was her fault, and that she'd never even seen our car. We exchanged information, and I called 911 and was told to come in and fill out an accident report if the damage was more than $500. A pedestrian witness came forward to give me his business card.
Finally, we got back in the car and I headed for a more official parking place. My friend continued jabbering about making a mint selling things on eBay, just as if nothing had happened. We went into Tully's and he continued to yak away, pausing only when I said I wanted to call Zorg to tell him about the accident. I left a message, and we were back on the eBay scheme. Eventually I dragged him out of Tully's, back to the car, and back to my house, where he practically followed me up the front steps. Fortunately, my cell phone rang. It was Zorg, who had spotted us from the window of his darkened study, and was calling to rescue me.
I've always suspected, and am now convinced, that pervasive, low-grade trouble follows my friend around. God knows he exhausted his allotment of karma some years back. His current scheme involves selling all his possessions and moving to another country this spring.