It is Thursday evening in this Mason Neck neighborhood. Foggy, humid night. Blackbirds have been flying through in droves the last few days. Heading south. Soon it will turn cold for a good long while. And there are purple mums in the planter on the front porch. Purchased at a place called Pigboy Willy's Pumpkin Patch.
Cars have been the topic of conversation in these environs the last few days. Yesterday I noticed, from the window of my office in this humble abode, a myriad of cop vehicles moving up and down the country roads. When I walked the Labbies down to the river later in the afternoon, one of my neighbors let me in on the story. Seems a pack of thieves moved through this peninsula in the early morning, stealing anything they could out of unlocked cars in this usually quiet, northern VA land. The reality is 55 cars were pillaged. And they got this fellah's cellphone. He was unhappy.
The Mighty Bug escaped such violation.
The sweet little blue egg-shaped car was at the VW hospital in Alexandria, getting a checkup and certain replacements to suit its 118,000 miles. In this driveway, instead, sat a locked rental car. A grey Nissan Pathfinder. An auto I found unpleasing to drive. Like motoring around in a hippopotamus.
I dunno what it is about having something flashy new when you don't need it. What does it solve? Other than you have to let something of great worth go.
I returned the Hippo to its car rental home this a.m.
The Enterprise woman asked me, "How did you like the Pathfinder?"
"I didn't," I replied, took my receipt and left.
I walked next door to Dunkin Donuts and ordered a large light, and a tea with cream. The java tasted good, and I passed the tea to my sistah Kathy when she zoomed in the drive of the car rental place to pick me up. We chatted about life and Emma and Dave and Pete and their possible upcoming Florida vacation as we ventured up to Alexandria so I could retrieve the Bug.
At the dealership I paid, and waited for The Mighty Bug to be delivered to where I could gladly take possession of it again. A salesman, standing outside having a smoke, watched me. A young fellah drove The Mighty Bug near to where I stood, gathered up the paper floor mats, and told me, "Have a nice day, madam."
The salesman came to life.
"Ya know, I could trade that one in on that pretty blue convertible Beetle sitting right over there," he announced joyfully, pointing to a newer, brighter car in the lot.
I patted the top of The Mighty Bug, its roof dinged by more than one acorn from the big oak near the home driveway. He had no idea that this almost 7-year old car had motored me over 10,000 miles across the U.S. and back, had taken me to Death Valley, to the tops of mountains where I viewed Sequoia trees for the first time, and then, with a little thought on my part and its tremendous automotive effort, returned me back home again.
This man didn't have a clue.
"Yeah, that one's pretty," I told him. "But I don't need it."
I'll stick with beautiful.