Each week has its challenge with reality. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes trivial, though the trivial always has the potential of swelling into a hippopotamus. This week, the trivial stayed trivial.
We were in our usual Sunday place at the ocean. It was too windy to take our table out on the bluff for our picnic, so we stayed in the car, put an album on the radio, and ate our weekly sushi.
As we lounged in the distant crash of the waves and the sight of gulls riding the wind, we heard a sound. Something gravelly near the car. I thought it was to the left, since I was sitting on the left, Elizabeth thought it came from the right. To me, it sounded like a cranky radio tuning in. To her, it was a tree branch scraping the car.
I suggested it might be a radio scraping the car or a tree branch tuning in. She got out to look. Nothing. I backed up slowly so she could look underneath, but there was no snoozing wino.
We sat a while, drowsing, then started the long way home. Still on Highway 1, we suddenly heard the same scratchy sound. I pulled off the road, and she got out, checked under the car, under the hood, under her jacket—nothing. She did find a huge, impacted collection of leaves and pine needles under the hood, removed them. Later, we had a small squabble as to whether or not that was the source of our problem.
We went on.
There are elements of reality one can never decipher, even with an astute partner of sixty years and counting. It reminded me of our first venture into East Berlin, when the wall was still up and the border guards were poised to kill. For each car that went through the checkpoint, they had a little wheeled mirror device they rolled under the car to discover any concealed passenger. We were on a Vespa scooter, but they wheeled their device underneath, presumably to catch any freedom-loving pigeon making its escape.
Reality is sometimes hideous, sometimes almost fun.