Rochester New York was an interesting place to visit.I had been there visiting before but this was to be with friends and I didn’t get to see many of the sights of the city – ‘least you could the road they affectionately call “Drive By Shooting Way.”
At first I ended up on a group lunch date of sorts with some of the aforementioned friends. They were insistent on going to Moe’s, a burrito chain restaurant with killer food. I must say they were all very cheerful and friendly people, all smiling and laughing and having a good time.
I wandered off after this to explore the city a bit and ended up at a salt water fish store. The place was a windowless business with a wrought iron door, outback of some real businesses. No business sign was anywhere to be found and the door itself looked liked either a loading dock or else some other utility door the public shouldn’t be using. Still, the insides were just as amazing, if not more so, than the last time I’d been here. Along with their gorgeous coral and salt water fish they added a rare fresh water fish collection which sported the most unusual fresh water fish I’d ever seen. They were all vibrantly colored and so healthy!
From here I went to a record store which had so many neat things. I was out of cash and couldn’t buy anything. It’s a shame too as they had a bunch of records I had been looking for since getting my turn table, that I had never seen before. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll eventually find them somewhere else too. The record store was actually in an old mill they were converting into a mall. It had bizarre little stores and shops and a gallery atop it covered in fish and sea creatures as well as some other fantastically odd sculptures. I took photos and awed for awhile. Despite being a mall I couldn’t help myself from whispering here. It was as quiet as a library and I felt like I needed to be using my “inside voice.”
I still had some time to kill so I went to Rochester’s historical cemetery. Frederick Douglas and Susan B Anthony were buried here as well as a lot of other famous Rochester personalities including its founders, politicians, poets, and artisans. I parked next to a little boarded up cathedral and I got a weird spooked feeling. I got out of the car and walked to Susan B Anthony’s grave. Despite being dead for a mere 105 years someone was still leaving flowers on her grave. I probably would have left some too had I just happened to have some posies on me. She was after all a pivotal figure in the woman’s suffrage movement and an advocate of women’s rights. Another passerby asked us where Frederick Douglas’ stone was before being pointed in the right direction. It was only a minute after I heard an enormous CRACK! WHOOSH! THUD! It came from the direction of the Jeep. I started to walk over there to see what had happened. As I was walking a man from below the hill yelled, “Did you see that?!” “Yeah I saw it!”
When I got to the bottom of the hill the damage was evident. There under a massive branch lay the Jeep, it’s roof compartment completely busted open with a leopard print snuggly puking out of it. I however was not the only one to suffer damage. A man on a motorcycle had just driven up when he heard the crack. He dove off his bike and under a utility truck, suffering a few scrapes and bruises. His bike on the other hand was crushed, lying beneath a limb, pinned to the ground. It reeked of gasoline.
I looked at the Jeep and hoped none of the windows were broken or the engine damaged. I wanted to be able to get home. The woman we had directed towards the Douglas stone was back with her husband and daughter. She was a teacher from Vermont and wanted to know if it was my car who had the unfortunate parking spot. Yes.
Her husband called 911 for us to get the firemen and police out here. I took a few photos and was standing aside when a second thunderous CRACK was heard overhead. I ran back as another giant branch fell directly on the Jeep, another park of it crashing into four or five grave stone and knocking them over as if they were just bowling pins.
I called 911 again to try and get the firemen out here soon as a third branch was hanging from above by only a thread. 911 put me on hold, twice, once after calling, and a second time after I refused an ambulance and said no one was hurt. When the firemen finally arrived they sectioned off the area with warning tape. The police were there soon after to make a report and in a few minutes Jacklyn the Jeep was being uncovered and eased out of the parking spot. The passenger side’s fender was dented in badly and had to be sledge hammered in order to open the door without ruining it. The roof sustained a large indentation, the roof container was completely obliterated, the hood was crushed in and sliced down the middle. There were scratches galore… but the Jeep started up and ran and none of the windows were busted. I was more fortunate than I thought I would be.
I drove to Casey’s apartment, an old friend who said I could stay with him for a night or two. Just as we drove into his parking lot the Jeep died. Within a matter of a minute the air conditioning had stopped working, the engine over heated, and the battery died. Upon closer inspection I learned that the tree fell on the hood with such force that it crushed the air cleaner resonator and broke off the alternator. I called the insurance company. They told me that since we didn’t happen to have comprehensive insurance they would not cover any of the bill. The only thing they would cover was a rental car, which they would only give me after we’d checked the Jeep into a mechanic with the money they weren’t giving me. OK, so if I’m understanding this right, they were not going to cover any of our bills because the tree picked a fight with the Jeep, however if I picked a fight with the tree, they would have been fine paying for that! UGH.
I now had a full tank of gas, a broken Jeep, and $30 in my wallet to get home, more than six hours away. Things weren’t to remain gloomy however. Several of the other former coworkers pitched in to McGyver the car back together with duct tape, a piece of Tupperware, and some super glue. The Jeep was again running, this time with a great deal of added character. To make things all the better a pot was passed around the office and $100 was raised to help in the effort to get back home.
Dinner was a party and I ate very well. Everyone was smiling, laughing, telling grand stories and funny office anecdotes, and just generally having a good time. I had a wonderful visit, was helped by a great deal of wonderful people, and was on my way, tepidly but surely.
Also a big thanks to everyone who did pitch in! I couldn’t have gotten home without you!
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