austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Declinin' numbers at an even rate, at the count of one we both accelerate

At the risk of turning this journal into an endless array of car woes, I got home to find my mother had a new car: a loaner, so I supposed her car was in for regular servicing. Nope. As she was driving to work all the warning lights lit at once, and her car drifted to a stop not quite before she could coast out of traffic. As she waited for the tow truck, she discovered not a few drivers will pull up behind a car flashing its hazard lights, wait for the traffic light to turn green, and then blow the horn angrily at the non-moving car. Soon though a driver gave her a push to the side of the road.

My father arrived, with a needed supply of McDonald's coffee. (My father is trying to convince my mother to switch from Starbucks.) And they waited for the tow truck, with my mother taking the chance to read some papers once she got news that her first appointment for the day had cancelled anyway as she expected. My father, who didn't have much to do, waited in his car.

Eventually another man pulled over, and asked my mother if she needed help. Oh, no, she was fine. ``You just pulled over to ... read some papers and drink coffee?'' I admit in this circumstance I would have been tempted to point out it is hazardous to read and drink coffee while driving. He asked if there were anything he could do; she said the tow truck was on its way. The man then went to my father and started chatting with him (my father spontaneously forms small talk circles with everyone, including monks who've taken vows of silence). The man came back and said to my mother, ``Married 37 years, huh?''

It turns out he was a state trooper, in an unmarked car, investigating two possibly but not necessarily connected stopped vehicles. My mother, seeing him only as a large and strange man, communicated as little as possible. It was my father who explained what was going on, and that the two cars were part of the same incident and also, somehow, just how long they had been married.

The tow truck arrived after about an hour and a half, and the driver had two arms. So it isn't that peculiar a story after all.

Trivia: Around 1890 the Cheshire salt mines provided nine-tenths of all British salt. Source: Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky.

Currently Reading: How The Scots Invented The Modern World, Arthur Herman.


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