Wednesday, July 1, 2009
We took the car for a run one day. It had been idle for two whole months while Spouse recuperated, and we were concerned about the well being of our trusty transport.
Exiting the car park was a loud affair: as the tyres peeled away from the tarmac there came a great sucking sound, followed by a bang that brought us leaping forth from the car certain that shreds of rubber had been left behind. All seemed well enough at that moment; the tyres had simply become one with the ground through extreme conditions. The car had sat immobile through the tail end of Winter, through Spring and then the first faint traces of Summer. An earthworm, dazed, squirmed in the sunlight, wondering wherefore was his shelter.
Off we went, then, and immediately detected a troubling noise from the depths of the machine.
"Why don't you get out," Spouse said to me as we puttered into an empty car park, "and run alongside the car. Try to find the source of the sound and if it improves with speed or as I'm driving along."
I obliged by climbing out and jogging along at a reasonable speed. I attempted to discern the exact qualities of the strange clamour, and determined that it rattled less the faster that Spouse rolled. I hastened to keep pace with Spouse while keeping an ear trained on the noise. Spouse drove at various degrees of velocity and once or twice even overtook my weak human legs.
At last, exhausted, I made my way over, paused for breath and spoke to Spouse through the open window. Then I observed a police officer observing me, analysing my behaviour.
Her car had crawled with measured stealth in the direction of what she perceived as an oddity.
"Are you all right?" she called to me.
"I am, I am," I mumbled. I was mortified. "We're just checking out our car."
I pointed to the front of the car to indicate engine difficulty.
I suspect she understood. She nodded, anyhow, got back into her vehicle and, as quietly as she had appeared, drifted to another part of the car park. Nevertheless I imagined that we still held her attention.
Spouse, not having heard the brief exchange, was inclined to continue the test; but I sat in and said firmly, "let's go. She thought I was in trouble."
"Trouble. She probably thought that you were abandoning me in a desolate car park."
I had, after all, been chasing a runaway car, struggling to keep up; one could hardly blame the eagle-eyed police officer for choosing the more likely scenario as a means of explanation.
Mortified, yes, but glad, too, to see somebody looking out for us.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 5:34 PM