The 2024 Eclipse

I'm bummed.
My daughter Patty and I have been planning this for seven years, ever since the 2017 total solar eclipse, still the absolutely coolest thing I've ever experienced in my seventy two years.
The plans gelled about six months ago after I bought the EV, when my youngest daughter Patty, who lives in Cincinnati, suggested that I take her sister Leila, my oldest, to her house the day before, and drive north on the eighth; totality is a little north of there.
I bought the EV last September, and my incompetent state and federal governments haven't installed a single charger they promised two years ago. My car will only go about 240 miles on a charge, so I got on the internet looking for a gasoline car to rent. Enterprise was the closest, so I got on their web site and reserved a car for the seventh through the ninth. The plan was to pick up Leila, go to Enterprise to pick up the car, and head to Cincinnati.
Patty called late Saturday afternoon with a bad feeling that the plans weren't going to work. I assured her that I had reserved the car months earlier. She asked what rental, and I misremembered that it was National, who Enterprise owns.
She called back later saying that they didn't open until noon, And she started going off like she does when she's stressed. I had done everything right. I told her I'd call them before I went, and to trust God.
God had other plans.
The internet said they opened at ten, so I called and was answered by a woman with an accent so thick it was incredibly hard to understand a word she was saying, but that my reservation for noon was confirmed.
At 10:30 a man called and said that they wouldn't have a car at noon, could I wait until Monday? No. He said to come at 2:00 PM.
A little before 11:30 I went and collected Leila. I punched the address of the rental place into the car's computer, and it gave me a very hard to read map that made Google's look like Rand McNally, and I turned right on Dirksen from S Grand, like it looked like the map was showing.
The maps on the Hyundai Ioniq 6 are abysmal. At the end of Dirksen we decided we had passed it, so I stopped at, ironically, a gas station to ask for directions. It was north of S Grand, not south.
We got there at quarter after two. They had closed at two, the bastards! I can't hurl enough vulgar expletives at those sons of bitches. I'm now wishing for Enterprise's bankruptcy and its stockholders to all go broke. They fucked up the reunion of a lifetime. And more.
So, plan B. Patty would talk her Mom into taking Leila to the eclipse, down in Southern Illinois; neither of them had seen the 2017 eclipse. I would drive to Columbia to visit my friend Mike, and we would take his vehicle to see the eclipse since as far as I can go is his house and back. Today is the eighth, they left about eight with Leila's cousin, who lived in a town in totality before his mother died. He lived for a while with my ex-wife after his mom died; he has the same disability as Leila, although not as bad. He's living in one of the high rises now.
Mike has a therapy appointment today from eight until ten, so I wasn't in a hurry to get on the road. In 2017, the morning traffic was normal, but it took six hours for the normally hour and a half trip home at an average speed of fifteen miles per hour.
But they hadn't hyped the last eclipse at all, but enough reporters must have experienced it that the TV news has spoken of little else for the last two weeks. The radio said that I-255 was a parking lot, at eight thirty AM.
So I'm sitting here bummed. It was clear I wasn't going to see totality. What else can go wrong today?
A helicopter flew overhead. That means somebody on I-55 was in a horrible wreck, so I was both bummed an worried about my daughter and her cousin; I'm actually a widower whose wife's ghost walks in the flesh and was driving. Can a ghost die?
I called Leila. Fortunately, they had gotten off of I-55, taking the back roads.
I'm sitting here on my couch bummed. At least that wreck wasn't my daughter. Because no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. At least the kids got to see the total eclipse, and I've seen one. That's one more than most people have seen. The first thing anybody thinks after seeing a total eclipse is "when is the next one?"
I'm old. I'll be dead by then. I think I'll get drunk today.

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