I stood on my front steps last evening, talking to my neighbor, a woman as vigilant in her park surveillance as I am.
You see, there’s a public park across the street from our properties, a lovely green spot with big trees. There’s soccer and baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter, large intra-mural colored-tee-shirt-wearing competitions between teenagers of different churches (“Current standings: Lamb of God has walloped Christ Our Lord at the three-legged race; House of Mercy has trounced Abundant Life in punt/pass/throw! Up next: The Church of the Nazarene against 34th Street Southern Baptist. You have two minutes to the starting gun! Two minutes!”)
Screaming/laughing kids, bull-horned announcements, and cars.
Sometimes there are cars.
Sometimes the cars pull up, cut their engines, make phone calls, wait for other cars. Thug-Life tattooed men move things from one trunk to another and then speed away.
And there I am, on my second-floor porch, watching, trying to get a license plate number.
Difficult to do, but the binoculars I got for my birthday help.
And no one ever looks up.
Those aren’t hotdish recipes they’re trading.
I call every time, but the cops haven’t made it in time to catch them yet.
The cars – who can describe them? That’s the problem when you can’t get the plate number.
“Ummm. It was a white car. It had four doors and tinted windows. I’m pretty sure it had tires. And there was chrome. Lots of chrome. Oh, and I believe “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” was on the DVD player in the back, but I might be wrong about that.”
Have you seen that car?
When did I stop knowing things about cars? I like to think it was when, at least in my eyes, they stopped being distinctive and interesting; but it could actually be about the time I didn’t have to know anything any more, aka after me and the Lug Nut broke up.
I think I became willfully ignorant after that, just because I could.
Ha! Take that, ex-boyfriend! I refuse to remember what you taught me!
That’ll teach him to, uh, teach.
Anyway, what I know about cars would fill a thimble, and get your thimble ready because here it is: You absolutely can flush your own radiator by following the directions on a package; if you’ve just changed your oil and yet nothing registers on the dipstick you might want to check if you put the plug back in; no matter what anyone tells you, your Van Allen Belt is not loose; and there’s not been a single recorded instance of someone being dangerously low on blinker fluid.
And when you absolutely can’t tell a Honda Accord from a Honda Civic, you keep your camera at hand.
Bring on the arms traders.
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