Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Should Have Majored in Something Practical

Highlight of our weekend trip to Arkansas:
I do love to walk with my girls to my old elementary school a few blocks away from my parents' house. There are some new pieces on the playground, but most of the wood and metal equipment that was around in my day is still around, and is still super-fun. Matt is desperately amused every time to peek in the windows into the classrooms and learn that yep, Morrison Elementary is still an open-classroom school (NONE of the classrooms had walls around them, due to the school being built during the heyday of the 70s open-classroom fad. The teachers basically had lots of little carts on wheels to make imaginary walls in their spaces, and I mostly remember how we all had to be really, REALLY quiet lest everything get really, REALLY loud). I enjoy regaling him with stories of the time in the sixth grade that Stephanie started claiming to have these visions about a shadow world infiltrating our own and she started a school-wide cult and had to have brain scans.

You know, typical elementary school hijinks.

Low point of our weekend trip to Arkansas:1) Run over...something on the highway 10 miles outside of Effingham late at night on the way home. Not a human body or anything, but not an empty soda can, either.

2) Blow tire, and good.

3) Pull over.

4) Drag everything out of trunk to get to the jack and spare.

5) Commence purely academic debate in full darkness about how to change said tire. I like to believe that I'm a little more practical-minded than my beautiful partner, but even I found the lugnut/hubcap/wheel well arrangement on this fairly-new-to-us Sable to be a tad bewildering, particularly in the pitch black of night.

6) Phone Papa, former owner of the new-to-us Sable, but before can get any useful information out of him, my mother, either hysterical or just having taken a few too many sleeping pills again, faints on him, and he has to hang up.

7) Reconsider my family relationships, looking for someone level-headed, sober, and with mechanical skills. Phone Uncle Art and he tells me how to put the spare on.

8) Back in car. New alarming lights light up when we start the engine, and ominous shudderings cause us to shut back down and renogotiate the entire process.

8a) Adjourn to engine, where we look at stuff. Am filled with inspiration and use my camera flash to illuminate the engine in second-long bursts:8b) Get distracted by how prettily the hazard lights photograph----but it doesn't really matter, since neither of us know what we're doing, anyway.

9) Sigh a big sigh and phone Papa again. Must first hear tale of how many times my mother fainted and how he finally got her back to bed all snug and tucked in, but then am rewarded with the valuable piece of information that is his roadside assistance member number.

10) Call roadside assistance. Spend long time waiting for tow truck, managing girls' expectations of soon! Seeing! A TOW TRUCK!!!

11) Tow truck is all it was imagined would be. Mechanic restarts blown fuel switch, and we follow him to his creepy little repair shop.

12) Will NOT even look at the corner of the room where his cot sits, and where I may have seen some porn.

13) Will NOT look.

14)Look, and then wish I hadn't.

15) Matt buys tire, tire is installed, and we arrive at our blessed home at around 2 am.

And THAT'S why I was grouchy during office hours, students!

Well, that and your inability to come up with a representation for your horror-genre artifacts that is meaningful within its cultural context, of course. I'm sorry, but "fear of the unknown" and "fear of death" is universal, kiddos!

1 comment:

cake said...

great story telling!

i love the town name "effingham" i imagine angst-filled teenagers moaning, "man, i am never gonna get outta this effing hamlet!"

i visited one of those open classroom schools as a kid, and thought it was so awesome. but i do remember we had to be extra quite.