Friday, July 10, 2009

Chutes and Ladders

(I wrote this, accidentally lost it, reconstructed it, then got an ambulance call every time I tried to sit down and finish it, so its late. Sorry.)


(If you are so inclined, you can purchase the above here. Just drive gently after that.)



Another hard-earned Friday. Lots of driving makes the advent of Friday morning a joyous event and today was no exception. I traversed a two-hour chunk of New York yesterday so uniform in pastoral empty green-ness that rather than being able to enjoy it I found myself entertaining dark thoughts as my Garmin ticked away the miles. 'This is the kind of place where sudden and inexplicable murder-suicides happen' or 'I'll bet that field of soybeans has half an acre of pot in the middle'-- that kind of thing.



The day started with a client whose home, thanks to a combination of age, ill health, and a 'snowbird' refuge elsewhere had devolved into a wreck of storage and trip-hazards. I did not enter a single room without knocking something over, since the narrow paths carved through each room were heavily overhung with the accumulation of decades, led by an exceptionally fragile woman leaning on a cane. She told me of her latest injury; a spill down the basement stairs that shattered her femur. It took six hours for her to pull herself up five steps and wrench open a door to yell for help. And yet, when I asked her if she was taking the giant extension ladder lying in the middle of the garage floor that threatened to ensnare us both, she said, "Oh yes, I want that, definitely."

I wonder if they make a toolbelt you can hang your cane on when you are up powerwashing your house.



I stopped for a quick lunch at my favorite co-op, electing to choose a seat that faced the store so I could people watch. I smiled as a small child stared in gape-mouthed amazement at a young man sporting an eight-inch high mohawk the color of a lime Mister Misty Freeze and his cherry-soda colored companion. A tall, handsome cashier stood daydreaming, gently remolding a dreadlock that stuck out at an odd angle above his right ear. He poked at it with a restless restraint that suggested a desire to really get in there and scratch. Random hanks were adorned with large wooden beads, giving his head the appearance of a discarded macrame owl.



After an appointment I spent fending off the shambling advances of an amorous bulldog named Max, I was done for the day and heading home. I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed that I was being followed closely and aggressively by a young woman in a white car. To the casual observer it probably looked like I was towing her; my couple of warning taps on the brakes went unheeded, as was my grand 'Step off, girlfriend' gesture that is likely ignored by most drivers but makes me feel better. She eventually passed me in a no passing zone and caused two people in the oncoming lane to pull off to avoid hitting her. This bought her about a 12 foot advantage; when I arrived at the red light at the bottom of the hill she was directly in front of me, sporting the bumpersticker above. I briefly considered adding some texture to it with my tire iron, but the mood passed. Driving like that she'll have unscheduled bodywork soon enough.

But bless her, she has respect for the Earth and all living creatures. So she has that going for her.

5 comments:

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

Doesn't sound like she had much respect for living creatures if she was going to crawl up your cars but like that. Maybe she wanted to pull her car into your front seat so she could "respect" you from there. Whatever, girlfriend! :-)

JD at I Do Things said...

I hate to admit that I sometimes tailgate -- but only if the driver is going really slowly. Still, it's an obnoxious habit.

Jocelyn said...

I just love how you are simultaneously wry yet compassionate (except to butthead drivers, of course). The line about powerwashing and the cane exemplifies this!

I just like you.

Kathy said...

I love how you call them courtesy brake taps. I call them "Get the hell off my ass taps." You're a much nicer person than me.

I have no love for those people. I once tried turning at my street on the way home when I had someone almost in my trunk. I pulled so far to the right to avoid getting hit that I scraped the curb so bad, I punctured my tire. Now I pull so far to the left that they have no choice but to brake hard or risk crossing the center line and getting a face full of cars coming in the other direction.

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