Think Snow


My Brace and I

     I was brought up in a family that considered Sunday a day of rest. Never good at taking advice, I decided six Sundays ago to clean the siding on the north side of our house, a side that gets little sun, resulting in a build-up of mold.  

     I had a container of a cleaning substance that screws on to the end of a garden hose. I ran out of the fluid just before lunch, and, after my nap, I went back to the hardware store to get a refill. They didn’t have the brand I had been using, and I bought a cleaner that suggested buying a brush on a long pole to do a better job of destroying the mold. I did.

     I finished the job after six p.m. The siding looked good. My left wrist, not so good. As the evening progressed, so did the pain. Thinking it might just be a flare-up of arthritis, I sat in the front room squeezing a rubber ball. The pain kept increasing, so much that I had trouble sleeping. I like to tell myself that I handle pain well, but these aches were so severe I was almost crying.

     At 7 a.m. on Memorial Day I drove myself to the emergency room at South Nassau Communities Hospital, asking for an x-ray to see if I had broken something. I hadn’t but they put my left wrist in a light cast and told me to take Aleve to help with the pain. I had been hoping for a strong controlled substance to take on this chore, but it was not to be.

     The next day I was at the orthopedist who took his own x-rays and then ordered an MRI. He also gave me a new brace—a brace I found out recently cost $200, according to the orthopedist. The insurance company paid him $20. The bill for the brace included its name, neoprene cockup wrist splint. I did not make that up.  (Note to Larry; You should never again write a sentence that says a doctor “gave” you something. They charge for everything.)

     The MRI showed I had partially torn both ligament and cartilage and that I had a big bunch of arthritis. I’m guessing the damage came from vigorously using the pole with the brush.

     Although I’ve been able to drive wearing the brace, some strange things have been happening in my VW. I’m not an informed consumer and don’t read the owner’s manual for a car unless there is a problem. My steering wheel on the Tiguan is loaded with up and down arrows and little icons, none of which I intentionally use because I don’t have a clue what they’re for. Nor do I really care.

     Recently when I’ve had the radio on, it will suddenly go silent. I’ve figured out that my brace had touched an icon with a drawing of a signal, apparently a way to mute the radio without turning it off.  

        A few days ago my brace obviously made contact with another arrow on the steering wheel and up popped, on the dashboard in the driver’s line of sight, the word “Nastavení.” 

     Under “Nastavení” were six other words with “Komfort” with a “k” the only one I could guess its meaning. Google tells me “Nastavení” means settings.

     A Google search also shows that my car now “speaks” Slovak. When I told this tale to my son Jack, he kept offering to fix it. I don’t want to fix it. I want to have some fun with it. What other languages await me on my dashboard?

     A couple of days ago I mailed a short letter, along with a picture of my Slovak-worded dashboard, to a friend in Germany who grew up in the Sudetenland. I know he speaks Czech and with his language talents probably knows Slovak too.  

     If I weren’t so lazy, I suppose I could glance at the owner’s manual and discover what other languages I can have displayed on my dashboard. It will be more fun to find out on my own.      Google Translate: Here I come.