Friday, June 29, 2007

Pickup Truck Chivalry

Yesterday proved to be fun and exciting, and not always in the good way. First, I met up with my parents to go to lunch and see Spamalot. Monty Python and the Holy Grail remains the only movie that has made me laugh until I cried just with the opening credits, and they somehow managed to replicate the opening credit effect by doing something silly with the Playbill, so Spamalot is now the only show that has made me laugh until I cried from reading the Playbill. I was sitting among a group of little old ladies who were worried they wouldn't get the show because they didn't know anything about Monty Python, but really most of the humor in the show requires more of a knowledge of Broadway, so they ended up getting all the jokes and thoroughly enjoying it. I had to restrain myself from quoting along with the more famous Monty Python lines.

Then on the way home I got caught in a traffic jam, one of those where you inch along, moving maybe half a mile in half an hour. And then steam started coming from under the hood of my car. I was in the left lane and was afraid I'd have to pull into the center median to get off the road. The guy in the lane next to me signaled me and said he'd block that lane, and then he got the guy in the right lane to stop and let me across, so I managed to get across three lanes of traffic, then drive down the shoulder to the nearest exit to get off the highway. I guess chivalry isn't dead. It just drives a pickup truck these days instead of a fiery steed.

I sat in a parking lot for a while to let the engine cool off, and fortunately I'd brought a cooler with me because Dad had brought me some tomatoes from his garden, and on a whim I'd stuck a can of soda in there before I left the house. I also had a book for reading during intermission at the theater, so I sat for a while, read, drank my vanilla Coke, and watched them try to clear the wreck that had caused the traffic jam (it was the kind of wreck that they almost had to have been trying to cause, or at least someone was driving with rampant stupidity, because you don't achieve that level of twisted flippage from ordinary driving). And then I made it to a gas station a few blocks away and put antifreeze in the car so I could drive home. So, in the same incident I managed to be both a damsel in distress and an independent, capable modern woman.

It turns out that my water pump failed, and the pressure caused by that caused a crack in the recovery tank for the coolant system. Joy. So, um, go tell a few people to buy some books and get my numbers up so someone will be interested in buying something new from me. I'm either going to have to get a new car eventually or start paying more regular repair bills as things reach the wear-out point. I don't know why things are starting to fail. I only hit 100,000 miles on it last week after ten years of no problems at all other than battery replacements. Instead of sending my car birthday cards (yes, they really do that), Saturn now sends me "have you looked at our new models?" brochures. I'm hoping the car is ready by mid-day Saturday because I did want to go somewhere Saturday night. Why is it that I can be perfectly content sitting at home for days, but the moment I don't have wheels, I suddenly want to go places?

Fortunately, none of this happened in the torrential downpours we've been getting lately, though the traffic jam was made worse by the fact that the alternate route that could have helped me avoid the wreck area was closed because the road was under water. In a normal summer, I have to be careful when I open the front door because there are little lizards that sit on the doormat and try to rush into the house. These days, I have snails sitting on the doormat, apparently trying to get to a drier place. My reflexes are generally good enough to allow me to shut the door before the snails can rush inside. I'm surrounded by flooded areas, but my neighborhood has been safe so far because it's a flood control district with a canal system to handle runoff. The canals are pretty high, but they have a long way to go before they flood. The mosquitoes are going to be fun this summer. Instead of spritzing my wrists with perfume before I go anywhere, I'm spritzing my ankles with Off (mosquitoes always seem to bite my ankles).

Now I have a book proposal to wrap up, and then I'm giving myself the weekend to relax and read Harry Potter books.

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