austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

They're shooting the pier

You might well expect the next day, Monday, would be my chance to drive my new car into work and show off to everyone not only that I had selected something but that I had picked a pretty nice-looking car. Or you might know me instead, and trust that I had some much more ridiculous scheme in mind. As always with the dumb things I get myself into I had a superficially credible chain of reasoning, and a minor problem to solve. In this case my problem was: my rental car. I had a Malibu U (or something) on loan from the Enterprise rent-a-car barely a mile from home, and it needed to be returned by Tuesday at 8 am. The rental agency is open from 7:30 am through 6 pm, so that it's not actually possible for me to get there before work and not be late, and driving back I have to not hit any traffic jams. My father --- who still was unsure just where it was even after I explained it in terms of the Wawa and the 7-Eleven which flank it --- suggested I should drive home after work, take the Malibu back, and ride home with him.

My idea: I'd drive the Malibu in to work, then drive home from work right to the rental agency, and then walk home, unless it should be raining. This was no idle threat, as it's rained 45 of the past 30 days. But the suggestion that I could simply walk home took my parents by surprise even though it is, really and truly, just barely over one mile and along a path that may not have sidewalks everywhere along it but that isn't exactly a dangerous path even of suburban central New Jersey. Anyway, I'd save the time of the last bit of drive, rousing a parent, and backtracking again, so that seemed most logical to me. And so it was that my first weekday, my car sat in the driveway instead of being used as a vehicle.

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car guy, when I returned the car, asked if I needed to be dropped off anywhere. I'd forgotten they do that, or volunteer to do that, but I stuck to my resolve to walk home since getting a lift for under a mile felt too fundamentally lazy on my part. Happily, it didn't rain, and I did notice walking all the way back the differences between the terrain on foot and the terrain on car, mostly in the number of houses along that path and just which side of the street was plainly built in the early 60s and which side was obviously built in the 70s. And I got a couple nice pictures of the entrance to the community which my father thinks I should send to the community monthly newspaper as cover art. Perhaps I will. We'll see. But by now, finally, everything I had to do with the business of car purchasing, other than getting the new insurance card and getting my permanent license plates, was now done.

Trivia: Soybeans were introduced to the United States in 1804, as ballast in a clipper ship. Source: Twinkie, Deconstructed, Steve Ettlinger. (I have my doubts about the exactness of this, in particular the characterization of a ``clipper ship'', which I had thought dated to later in the 19th century. I know little enough about New England shipping of the early 19th century that I can't say the book grabbed at a term without verifying it, however.)

Currently Reading: A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton G Malkiel.


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