Monday, October 27, 2008
If you drive stick, then you know that a long, steep incline to a bridge, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with a clutch you really should have replaced 500 miles ago, is not the best place for your shifter to decide it will no longer shift into any gear. However, if this ever happens to you, KEEP YOUR HEAD. Remember that if you turn the car off, you can shift it into gear. And drive all the way to your book signing in, like, first or second gear. :)
Actually, my shifter started working again after about 100 yards. I'm used to this problem. It's one of my car's particular charms.
Others in my neighborhood were faring better with their vehicles this weekend. The Blue Angels, in particular, were in town. There's a naval air station here, so we get the occasional helicopter or fighter plane zooming across the sky, but the Blue Angels, of course, are something else altogether: They are artists. With the most expensive art supplies ever. (Ha! And people say our government doesn't put money into the arts! [Meh. Okay. Not funny.])
Seriously, though, the Blue Angels were zipping around all weekend, performing aerial feats to astonish and amaze, and making me wish all machines of war could be beautiful and inspiring instead of, well, the other things they are.
We also have a submarine base here. Boats thrill me, and watching submarines go out to sea thrills me, until I remember that: (1) women aren't allowed to be submariners (submarines "don't have the appropriate facilities for women," cough); (2) a submarine is a claustrophobic, dark, and dangerous place to live; and (3) submarines carry nuclear warheads. That, in fact, (4) a submarine's purpose is (5) to hide our nukes so that they cannot be found and (6) to exist as a threat to other countries who know that somewhere, hidden in the deep, we have nukes that we can launch at them anytime we like.
Luckily, I usually see a cruise ship out there in the water, too, and a few innocent freighters. They help. I love big, innocent boats.
We also have trains here -- lots and lots of trains. I hear them blowing their horns at night. I love the sound, especially when it's raining and it sounds like music.
In the movie It's a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart says that the three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles. I can relate. I've always had the travel bug, and I've managed to get myself to a lot of places. Nonetheless, lately I'm more interested in watching the planes, trains, and boats than in being on them. I think it's because my book is out there everywhere (or at least that's how it feels sometimes). Little pieces of my soul are traveling out there, for anyone to pick up, and love, or be indifferent to, or tear apart. I feel the mileage. So I turn my phone and my Internet off when I can, and take comfort in my own apartment, my chair in the window, my neighborhood. And I take walks, and watch the Blue Angels. :o)