Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Wheels On The Bus Go ‘Round And ‘Round

The Wheels On The Bus Go ‘Round And ‘Round
            “You lie,” the note from my friend said. “You said you were in Montana. If that were the case, you would have stopped in to see us.”

            Immediately, as I often do, without thought, I shot back a reply. Afterwards, I began thinking. Was I flippant? I certainly did not mean to be. I had sent what I felt at the moment was an explanation. On later consideration, I felt I had sent a poor excuse.

            True, I had popped my head in the door and John wasn’t there. I only had a five-minute window of time. I was with my cousin on the way from Harlem to Great Falls. Oh, I am guilty of poor planning all the way around.

            And it is the fault of wheels, those “circle of life” sorts of things that we take for granted except when we don’t have them and they become objects of virtual worship. So, John, I blame the wheel, or rather, lack of wheels, that I didn’t get to visit you; you and a long list of other friends.

            Ah, blame. A rather useless exercise in emotion. Unlike wheels, blame gets me nowhere.

            I have no wheels. To begin at the beginning, two years ago I drove to Mazatlan, parked my van and in the first six months I drove it exactly once, to Etzatlan near Guadalajara. Marvelous trip.

Public transportation in Mazatlan is easy, available, and cheap. I can go by bus, taxi or pulmania, my choice. With the latter two, I quickly learned to haggle over price.  Great fun.

If there is anywhere on God’s green earth, pardon the cliché, that an object made of metal and rubber will deteriorate more quickly than here, I don’t want to go there. So I drove my sweet Roshanna Vanna back to Montana and parked her there to dry out for the next six months.

So that year passed. I found I didn’t need a personal vehicle except those weeks when I was in the States. Right or wrong, I got to thinking. I considered the cost of maintenance, insurance, licensing and oddments, even for a parked vehicle. Against that, I looked at the cost of a rental car for those few times I would really need one. Didn’t look like rocket science to me. (Please pardon my clichés.) I sold my sweet, dependable, reliable 225,000 miles and still rolling, van to a friend. She’s still the best!

Another year sneaked around, day by day, in that habitual way of days into years, and this summer I flew away to Montana. As I said earlier, nothing on that trip happened as I had planned.

And had I rented wheels, all would have gone differently. But I was trying to be a good girl. I tried to follow my doctor’s orders—no—suggestion. He said he would rather I didn’t drive for eight months to a year, if possible, after my hip replacement surgery.

I’m fortunate to have friends who love me, friends who carted me around. And I limited comings and goings accordingly. Their schedules became, of necessity, my schedules.

But, wait until my next trip. I shall have different wheels in every city. I shall be the rental car queen. Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, Budget, Alamo, Thrifty, Rent-A-Wreck; I’ll drive them all.

And, Dear John, you might not see me coming, but I’ll have wheels. I’ll screech around the corner, slam up to the curb, stop on a dime (dang the clichés) and saunter in for a cup of coffee and a good tongue wag.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

October 22, 2015

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