Week 22: Ready to Go

August 27, 2020

I think I can pretty much encapsulate my last two days in this one piece of news: the 2017 Corolla with 28K miles on it, that we were all set to buy on Tuesday? It was sold by Wednesday morning.

But they have set aside a car for us, a 2017 with 18K miles on it, zero bells and whistles, that was in an accident once but, in the immortal words of the car saleswoman, “I want to assure you that there is absolutely nothing mechanically or physically unsound” about it. Eli says he’s fine with it. Me? I’m totally, completely over this whole thing. If it moves and he’s happy, basta.

So what does tomorrow look like, you wonder? Picture this: Eli arrives in Detroit at 6:30 a.m., following a red eye from L.A. That is 3:30 a.m. our time. He collects his backpack, his two overstuffed suitcases and his trombone, then twiddles his thumbs in baggage claim for an hour or two. Finally, he hauls himself and his bags and his instrument over to wherever people pick up Ubers these days at the Detroit airport, and hires one to drive him to Ann Arbor, which should take about 30 minutes. Dunning Toyota, his destination, opens at 9 a.m. Ava, she of the assurances, will be waiting for him. He signs something there. I guess I sign something here. Probably I wire something as well. And then — I suppose? — he drives off the lot in a brand new used car, his bags stuffed in the trunk, his trombone slung across the rear seats.

He gets on the highway, in a car he’s never even seen in person until he purchased it, headed for an apartment he’s rented without laying eyes on the building. Around 1 p.m., having dropped his bags in his new pad, he’ll zip over to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up, curbside, household items we selected online. Around 2 p.m., workers will deliver to the apartment a mattress that a (different) salesman assured us on the phone was both well-priced and comfy.

Then he’ll head to the market to do his first-ever grocery shopping trip for himself.

All this, in the middle of a pandemic.

It would just about slay me, if I had to juggle all of this. Luckily, he’s 19. I think that’s what youth is for, to navigate days like this upcoming one.

But for the moment, he’s outside shooting hoops with his dad. His bags are packed and standing on the floor of his bedroom. He’s got a marketing list on his phone that includes such essentials as frozen broccoli (because I insisted on a vegetable), ketchup and Cup O’ Noodles.

And the part that makes me cry, every time I walk past it — the trombone in its case, a strap attached for ease of travel, lying on the rug in the living room, where he can reach down and grab it in an hour and half when we leave to take him to the airport.

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