there was a night not so long ago that i silenced an entire table at mr. d's when i introduced the idea of heating the streets of duluth. this wasn't an environmentally reckless proposition, i mean, i'd considered solar panels and wind energy and the gas-passing of livestock as a means for this scientific achievement.
my big idea was barely a blip in the conversation. they looked at me like i'd taken off my sock, put my foot on the table and sent black shards of toenail in the general vicinity of their drinks, then resumed a conversation about ballads by cinderella. when i repeated my idea, they just laughed at my silly ideas.
you know who wouldn't have laughed at me that day? the woman who's ford taurus spun 180 degrees while traveling down an avenue today, ending up butt-to-broken butt with baby honda civic. leaving the trunk ajar, a tail light busted and me with a thought i'd not had in years:
i wish my dad lived in duluth.
this feeling probably says a lot of bad things about my current maturity level, or maybe even an unhealthy degree of charmed childhood i had. i like to think it mostly means that my dad is a clear-headed, deliberate sort of person who i believe knows what to do in any situation. and i needed him to skulk around my mangled civic, surveying my car from seven different angles, ask a lot of questions, but peppered slowly into long silences, and then dig in the trunk of his practical car for a practical solution.
my car was parked on an avenue where i never park on a warm day.
within an hour, i heard rumors that it was slippery outside. i assumed this was hyperbole from a bunch of ninnies with vertigo.
a half hour later i went outside and it was slippery.
a police car was blocking cars from going down the avenue.
i decided that a steep avenue is no place to ditch the civic if every taurus in town is going to take a left turn, pause briefly, then fling itself cartwheeling down the road to the next stop light.
i could barely cross the street, the bricks were like mirrors. i felt like a drunk ice dancer.
nearing my car, i noticed it had already gotten the got. the right side crunched. toaster oven dangling from my trunk.
i decided to move it into a public parking lot, so that the next 10 cars to test this wretched hill wouldn't each leave it's own special mark.
i couldn't move the car. it was too icy to move backward, and i didn't trust forward.
that's when i started thinking about pa pista.
the hitter seems nice, although we've not met. a wisconsin woman who went through the trouble of completing an entire police report and leaving it on my windshield. god bless her. the last person who hit my car screamed at me because they didn't have car insurance, and i ended up paying for 2,800 dollars in damages all while googling "small claims court minnesota."
guess who will never treat car insurance as "optional" ever again?
the policeman said he wasn't letting any cars attempt this avenue until a sand truck had made a pass ... well, unless there was a burglary. one needed only to cock her ears slightly to hear that duluth sounded like a war zone at that particular moment: an entire musical comedy starring ambulances, fire trucks and police cars. it was as if everyone in duluth was crashing into everyone else in duluth.
then the sand truck came.
i asked my burliest, most cocky friend if he would move my car into the public lot.
i wanted someone comfortable behind the wheel, who wouldn't double over weeping at the site of this young car on the cusp of its second reconstructive surgery. because of the latter, i was incapable of the former.
burly cocky friend seemed optimistic, tried to cross the street and bowed out.
"where's your car?" another man in a t'shirt asked as we surveyed the street.
"give me your keys," he said.
at this, the man took three steps backward, and crouched to the position of a middle-distance runner seconds before the gun. he took a breath and sprinted toward the street, making a wide arc, then purposefully sliding into the snowbank in the median. from here he pushed off again, rounding up, then sliding toward my car.
he inched his way around, holding onto the vehicle.
i saw the civic disappear around a corner.
the man emerge from the parking lot.
he carefully walked back across the street and returned my keys.
two hours later, he sent me photos of my car. apparently he had gone back for a second look.
a few hours later, the roads were fine. but the temperature is scheduled to drop 60 degrees over the next few days.
now, you jackholes, about those heated streets. ...