Tag Archives: Driving

Back with Julie

One week after landing in a hazy, overcast, gray Geneva, Switzerland, I had my very first taste of what I’d moved 3,000 miles to experience.  And it was, of course, magical.

I was alone for the first time in weeks.  Exploring.  John was working, Jacob was safely at his first day of school.  I was on my own, with only our Bernese Mountain Dog, Charlie, for company when it happened.

I was driving down the Route de Divonne when the clouds, at long last, parted.  And there they were – just past the now glistening Lake Geneva — the mountains.  The Alps!  Mont Blanc, with its year-round snowy peak, the highest mountain in Europe. The Alps danced right there — just through my windshield.  I could practically reach out and touch them, taste them, smell their beauty.  It was magical.  Breathtaking.  Inspiring.  Unforgettable.

Google Photo

Google Photo

I felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.  You know just what I mean, don’t you.  I felt like Julie when she is up there in the mountains all by herself.  When she throws her arms wide and sings with all her heart, The Hills Are Alive, With the Sound of Music.  And they are.  Trust me.  They are.

I slowed down, tried to breathe, tried to memorize the moment and keep it in my heart. Tried to capture the moment forever.  I also tried not to hit another car.

And then, well, something else happened.  From a side street to my left came a small car.  It turned in front of me, pulling behind it a long green open-air trailer.  Neatly stenciled on the back in a lacy, delicate script were these words:

jardin naturel

“Natural Garden,” in French.

On top of that trailer sat the largest pile of steaming cow manure I have ever seen.

Yes, my first solo excursion in the Swiss countryside became a metaphor for life as an ex-patriot living there:  There were moments of majestic beauty that I call “Julie Andrews Moments,” when I was filled with beauty and awe.  When I honestly felt like the luckiest person on earth.

And there was a lot of shit.  These two elements combined with travel to places I never dreamed I’d see, made our time in Geneva the adventure of a lifetime.

 

*     *     *

My bloggin’ buddy, Naomi, a wonderful traveler who actually posts her own pictures and does not cut them from Google, wrote this post about a trip to Switzerland.  Naoimi inspired me to re-post this old, old post.  I wrote it back in the days when you didn’t know me.  When you didn’t realize that some way, somehow, shit is always a metaphor for my life.

And if you ever get the chance to go to Switzerland, do it.  Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 — it’s not worth all that much over there!

Google Photo

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Driving, Family, Geneva Stories, Huh?, Humor

One Born Every Minute

Just today I realized that I really am a good person.  Nice.  Law-abiding.

It’s true. Because somehow today I did not live out my longest held fantasy.  One that I’ve wanted to enact since childhood.

I will admit that I was close to doing it.  Possibly closer than I have ever been to saying “What the Hell, I’m gonna do it! — Now!  Today!”

I will admit to seriously considering doing it just for the moment when I was struggling to get into the driver’s seat of my car today at lunch time.  The moments.  OK, it took half of my damn lunch hour.

You see, I had an important errand that I had to take care of.

But some asshole had parked so close to my car that I couldn’t even get my purse into the car from the driver’s side.

Did I deserve to be placed in this, ummm, position?  Did I park outside of the white line? No. I was parked just fine, thank you very much.  Parked within the designated parking spot.  Straight.  Did I mention that I was well within the white lines on both sides of my car?  Well I was.

I did not deserve to be treated in such a manner.

So when I realized that without liposuction, a detention in a concentration camp or a colonic, there was no way in hell I could get to the driver’s seat from the driver’s side.  I was annoyed, I stood there for minutes with my hands on my hips, glad there were no children milling about to increase their vocabulary.

But I had no choice; I had to go. So I walked to the passenger side of the car, to climb into the driver’s seat. I soon realized that the driver’s seat was as close to the steering wheel as vehicularly-possible.  I realized that I was also not supposed to exert myself following my surgery.

Did I mention that it was important that I go?

So I struggled to get my body into the driver’s seat without a cerebral hemorrhage.

Somehow, I managed.

The cerebral hemorrhage happened when I carefully backed out of my parking spot, and realized two things:

  1. There were 24.5 parking spots in that section of the parking lot alone, and five floors of empty parking spots on the floors above us; there was no reason for someone to park in such an assholic/inconsiderate manner.
  2. The car sported a special license plate.

Instantly, I started fantasizing. Within a heartbeat, I was transported back in time. Teleported to the very first movie I remember watching.

I was very young.  Young enough to be crabby that my brother, Bob, had control of the TV.  Annoyed that he was watching a movie instead of cartoons.  Annoyed enough to forget that as long as the TV was on I didn’t really care what was showing.  (I had, just that morning, been watching the test pattern.)

The movie was brilliant, and I have never watched the test pattern since.  It was called

If I Had A Million

 It was a compilation of a bunch of sequences where various characters were given a million dollars that they could spend however they chose.  It later became the TV series “The Millionnaire” where a wealthy man would give people $1 million as long as they didn’t tell where it came from.

Anyway, in the move If I Had A Million, WC Fields’ lady-friend Mary had just had her new car ruined by what we would today call an “asshole,” but who was then called a “Road Hog.” When WC Fields and Mary Boland  got their million, they knew just what to do:

They bought a bunch of old clunker cars, and whenever there was a road hog around, they would ram their clunker into him, causing the jerk to totally wreck his own car, along with theirs.  But that didn’t matter, because that was why WC and Mary had bought those old clunkers!

They did this repeatedly.  And it has been my fondest wish since I was about six years old, to be able to do that to the bad drivers, the folks who cut people off, who weave and edge and drive dangerously.

Revenge would be so sweet!

But in spite of being a wise ass, I am not an asshole. I did not smash the car that parked so inconsiderately. I did not accidentally-on-purpose run my keys along the $60,000 Audi Q7 SUV. I did not even spit in its general direction.

It was especially challenging because I realized that the owner is represents everything I hate. I realized that I’d seen him before, changing lanes discourteously.  He (and yes, it was a he) had an overpriced car that he drove like he owned the road.  And those specialty license plates?

Photo Credit:  VA DMV Website

The Asshole was A Tea Partier! Photo Credit: VA DMV Website

 

And I realized that I really needed to feel sorry for the dumb rich guy.  You see, this genius paid extra taxes to the Commonwealth of Virginia so that he could protest paying taxes.

Photo Credit:  izquotes.com

Photo Credit: izquotes.com

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Campaigning, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Driving, Elections, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Taking Care of Each Other, Taxes, Virginia, Wild Beasts

I Coulda Been a Contender!

Have you ever wanted to leave a different impression on folks around you than you actually do?

Yeah, me too.

In high school, boys found me cute.  Now to all you high school age boys reading this, please note that the way to a girl’s ummm, heart, is not via the word “cute.”  By the end of my senior year, I had had it with that word.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my older sister, Judy, was seriously sexy.  Nope.  Nothing to do with that.

As I entered English class one day, my friend Jonathan was still chuckling over something adorably cute I had said or done in the class we had together earlier in the day.

“Elyse,” he said, chuckling, “you are so cute!”

“Really?” I responded.  “Damn it, I always wanted to be voluptuous.

Jonathan’s mouth, no doubt, is still hanging open.

Years later when I played basketball for a law school team (I was an honorary student at the time with gym privileges), I wanted to be tall.  Very tall.  Sadly, tallness is something you cannot fake.  Especially if you are 5 foot 2.  Damn.  And did I mention that I’m slow, too?  Yeah.  Molasses.

But I’m resourceful, so when my opposing guard, all 12 feet of her, hovered over me whenever I got down court towards my basket, I improvised.  I shot the ball from center court.  Of course I made the shot.  Alas it was before you got 3 points for such skill.

Shooting hoops is a skill that has helped me throughout my lifetime.  I am never, ever, out of reach of the trash basket.  Yes, I am that good.

As I’ve aged, though, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would never be either voluptuous or tall.  So I wanted to be intimidating.  Physically intimidating.  At 5’2″.  You got a problem with that?

You’ll be pleased to know that now, and for the near future, I could scare the hell out of you.  Or anybody.  If only I’d remember to.

Where I live, the guys who design the roads like to pretend that we are waaaaay out in the country.  They do this by insisting on putting one lane bridges over bridges that cross streams connecting two pieces of major roads.  These road designers either have bizarre senses of humor or a sadistic streak.  Maybe both.

As you drive towards the one lane bridge, you note a white line and a “yield to oncoming traffic” sign.

(Google Image)

(Google Image)

It’s terribly quaint.  You are expected to take turns.

But this is 2014, and there are lots of overachievers around here who flunked only one course on the way to their advanced degrees:  Turn Taking.

On Sunday, I approached one of these bridges, slowed down, and stopped at the white line.  It was the oncoming car’s turn.  After the driver of the oncoming car went, I started forward to take my turn.

Flying down the hill towards me and the one lane bridge I hadn’t yet reached, was someone who didn’t know how to take turns.  And she wasn’t going to stop her Mercedes SUV for me.

My mouth ran on with some choice words, but my foot wisely pressed the brake, and the collision that would have otherwise occurred, didn’t.  But I was, pissed.  And swearing.  And really wishing that I was a frightening, imposing looking person so that I could chase after the asshole and confront her.  Yell at her.  Threaten her.  Teach her how to wait for her bloomin’ turn.

A mile down the road I stopped short and pulled over.

“SHIT!” I shouted as I realized that I had missed my chance.  My chance to stand in front of someone and scare them.  To make them wonder just what I am capable of.  To wonder if they would be able to survive an encounter with me.  All 5’2″ of me.

Because you see, these days I’m a wee bit scary looking.  I look like I’ve been in a knife fight.  Like an abused wife.  But like someone likely gave way more than she got.

Yup.  You can call me Scarface.

Remember last month when I told you about the Valentine’s gift I got? You remember, don’t you — I got melanoma!  (Although, I would have preferred flowers.)

In the intervening weeks, I’ve de-melanoma’d.  Yup, I’ve had it taken out by a plastic surgeon.  And while I will look just fine in two shakes of a dog’s tail, right now I look a bit intimidating.

OK, So I have no makeup on.  Sue me.  Just Don't Mess with Me!

OK, So I have no makeup on. Sue me. Just Don’t Mess with Me!

AND I DIDN’T USE IT!  I didn’t chase after her and make her fear for her life!  I didn’t teach her how to take turns!  Damn it!  I coulda been a contender!

*     *     *

This was just a little ditty to let you know that I had my surgery, that I am now cancer free and just fine, thank you very much.

But what about you?  Did you do what I told you? (No comments from you, Guap!)

Save your skin.  Right now.  Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:

  1. Go into your bathroom
  2. Take off all of your clothes
  3. Examine your skin
  4. Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
  5. If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.

Even though I look pretty scary now, I won’t for long.  But I won’t forget to use what I have — I will intimidate assholes for several weeks until my scar fades.

But you know what?  The real way I’ll get back at folks who don’t know how to take turns is to take away their sunscreen.  That’ll fix ‘em!

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Filed under Cancer, Driving, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Humor, Melanoma, Out Damn Spot!, Stupidity, Traffic

Siri-ously Monday

It was apparent pretty much from the start that today was Monday.

I got up late and everything that followed was just slightly off.

Traffic was awful.  I mean, this is DC – traffic is always awful.  But today I found myself stopped in places where I usually go.   I watched the clock tick past 9:00.  Past 9:15.

Luckily for me, though, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  When I arrive late, I stay late.  It all works out.  But still, I’d rather get there and not just hang out, stopped in traffic.

I thought I should call the office and let them know I was on my way.  Naturally, I had an ulterior motive.

Because I planned to call Yenny.

Yenny is my friend and colleague at the office.  But she has magical powers.  Because when I’m stuck in traffic and I call Yenny, traffic begins to move. It was important that I talk to Yenny or I knew I’d never make it to work.

I was at a dead stop.  My cell phone was in my pants pocket, but I put my earpiece in place and clicked that bluetooth on.  Siri, the magical creature in my iPhone sang a note to let me know that she was listening.  That she was ready to help.

In the months that I’ve had my iPhone 5C, I’ve come to rely on Siri for just these situations.  She’s great.  The Siri who lived in my iPhone 4?  An absolute idiot.  We were not friends.  We had words.   Those words rarely had more than four letters.  Siri4S would respond “what did I do to deserve that?”  Trust me.  She deserved it.

But Siri 5C?  She is a star.  She doesn’t let me down.  She helps me.  I love Siri5C.

“Call Yenny,” I instructed her politely.  I never swear at Siri5C.  In fact, she often comments on how polite I am with a casual “don’t mention it,” when I thank her.

Now this morning when I asked her to call Yenny, I realize that I didn’t say “please.”  That is because last week when I was in precisely this situation, and I said “Please call Yenny.”

“Should I call the Police?” Siri asked.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  She may have been having a rough start to her day.  Still, I decided not to say “please” to Siri.  I always say “thank you,” though.

What did Siri say to today’s request  to “Call Yenny?”

“I don’t see that,” she said.  “Did you mean ‘conference call number’?  Or would you like to call Gastroenterology Fellow on call.”  She only heard the “call” and went from there.  This wasn’t an auspicious beginning.

“No,”  I said.  Clearly, Siri was having a rough start to the day, too.  I clicked my Bluetooth off, and clicked it on again immediately.

“Call Yenny … ” I gave Siri Yenny’s last name.  On a bad day, Siri will cooperate the second time I ask her to do something.  Much like my son.

“Do you want local businesses beginning with “call”

“No, Siri.” I said. I hung up.

Then I had an idea.  I figured I’d have Siri call my number at the office – and presto — I’d be connected!  So I clicked on again and said “Call Me-“

But I immediately remembered that “Me-Office” goes to my direct line, not the main company line.  So I’d be able to leave myself a message that I’d be late — which I already knew.  Because, well, you know.

So I interrupted myself.  Figured I’d stop before I said something stupid to Siri.  But it was too late.

Because what Siri heard was “Siri, call me … never mind.”

”OK,” Siri responded.  “From now on, I’ll call you ‘Never Mind.”

Sadly, this may be an improvement.   Before he went back to college, Jacob instructed Siri to call me “Queen,”  I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

Now I have.

Is it Friday yet?

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Stupidity, Technology, Wild Beasts

Angie’s Visit

My bloggin’ buddy Angie of Childhood Relived is coming to DC next month, and we are going to get together for lunch!  I’m so excited – she will be the first blogging buddy I’ll get to meet.  The thing is, though, that I just can’t decide where to take her for our rendezvous.

Angie, as you may know, writes extensively about her childhood in the 1980s. She remembers everything that happened during that decade.  Angie has a photographic memory for every single TV show and every bit of food she consumed during that decade.  It’s awesome.  Or terrifying.  Or both.  And while I was not a child in the 1980s, her posts always make me nostalgic for that time in my life.  Back when I was young, single, sick and poor.  Ah yes, the 1980s.

I am pretty sure that Angie is (1) Superhuman; (2) will remember each and every detail about the restaurant I choose; and (3) remember every single fact I tell her about Washington, DC, whether it is in fact, fact or not.  I can’t believe I even agreed to meet her.  Can’t I be out of town that day?

Oh, yeah.  I will be out of town that day.  Out of my town.  You see, I hardly ever go into DC any more.  I work across the river in Virginia; I live in the Virginia sticks with the deer.  In fact, I do everything south of our nation’s Capitol, you know, where the Rebs lived (and seceded).  (We will not comment on how a nice Connecticut Yankee like me ended up here.  Please.  It’s painful.)

The tour I can handle.  Buildings are buildings and Angie won’t know if I’m right or wrong when I tell her which is which.  The hard part is deciding where to have lunch.  It used to be that this wouldn’t have been a problem.  Yup, I used to really know the city.  I lived in DC; I worked downtown.  I hung out on Capitol Hill.  In fact, I used to work really close to the hotel where Angie is staying.  But my familiarity with DC restaurants is current only up to 1989, when I moved away.

So rather than sweating it, I decided to give Angie a 1980s tour of Washington!  That’s the Washington I know.  Knew. Whatever.  Wouldn’t that be appropriate?  I’ll start with a 1980s restaurant!  I figured I’d see which of my favorite restaurants of the 1980s were still open and take her to one of them.  Brilliant, right?  Because after all, a trip to our nation’s capital requires a bit of history.  For US history, well, Angie’s on her own.  I’m going to give her some of my history.  Yes Angie, I am going to treat you to a dose of “This is Your Life,” DC Restaurant version.

Of course, there aren’t too many of my favorites left.  In fact, there are only three.  Which do you think she’d like best?

Health Hazard of Hunan:  This restaurant is where I learned to eat interesting spicy foods.  I went there all the time.  Whenever we worked late at the office our clients would buy us wonderful Chinese food from Hunan.  Better still, one night I organized an incredibly fun birthday dinner there for a friend.  A total of about 20 of us had a wonderful meal, where the staff gave us tastes of everything on the menu.  Exotic, delicious Chinese delicacies.  The next day the restaurant was closed for health violations.  Don’t worry though, Angie.  It’s back in business.

Rumors:  Rumors was a meat-market when I was still single, a place to go to pick up men/women for one night stands.  That’s not why I went, actually, because I never was that kind of girl.  Besides, at the time I was attached.  But it had great food and a different ambiance at lunch time.  It’s not at all far from where Angie and I are meeting.

The last time I went to Rumors was at nighttime, though, when the meat-market was in full swing.  At the time I was dating Erik, who at the time (1980), I fully expected to marry, and he and I were there with some friends.  That night began the process that led me to a much better mate.  That’s because Erik excused himself to go to the restroom and came back quite quickly looking rather confused.  He couldn’t figure out which bathroom to use.   “Ummm, Elyse?” he asked quietly.  “Am I a ‘tweeter’ or a ‘woofer’?”  I decided that perhaps I wanted more of a woofer in my life.

The Sex Change:  Actually, the restaurant is called “The Exchange” – but our name was much more fun.  I worked in an office upstairs from the Sex Change.  We actually had a convenient back door into the place that we used when we were supposed to be working.  My friends and I spent many, many lunch times, work afternoons and evenings there. The Sex Change is possibly the first place where I was ever publicly drunk, although I don’t really remember.

The Sex Change was actually the site of my first foray into public storytelling.  Yes, it was at the Sex Change one winter night, where I stood on a table in the most crowded part of the bar, my third or fourth or fifth beer of the evening in hand.  I told the world of my most shameful, completely embarrassing, life changing childhood trauma.  I stood on a table and told how I ruined my life in 2nd Grade by wetting my pants during Show & Tell, one week after moving to a new town.  It was the story I had never admitted had happened.  Not to anyone.  It was the story I feared would one day come out when someone from my past appeared unexpectedly and let it slip.  And the bar patrons loved it, and me for telling it.  They were there with me, in 2nd Grade.  Of course, they were drunk too.

In fact, it was this story that brought Angie and I together, because it was the heart of the comment I left Angie about a year ago when she wrote this post about embarrassing childhood birthday parties.  The full story, including my revenge on the kid who bullied me in grammar school, is here.  Because there is a god.

So as you can see, it’s a tough choice.  Food poisoning, sexual confusion, or humiliation.  I think that sums up my life pretty nicely.  Which would you choose?

And after lunch, I’ll take her on a driving tour.  I’ll drive her past the White House and we will wave (or gesture in an altogether different manner) to Ron and Nancy.  Reagan and O'NeilWe’ll drive up to Capitol Hill walk right in to her Congressman and Senators’ offices.  We’ll climb to the top of the Washington Monument, get into the museums without waiting through endless security lines.

Yup, a 1980s tour of Washington sounds like just the ticket.  But maybe we should just grab a hot dog.

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Childhood Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, History, Humor, Mental Health, Traffic, Word Press

An International Life of Crime

The State of New Jersey just passed a new law requiring pet owners to restrain their pets in the car.  It’s become known as the Seamus law, after Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus who famously rode to Canada on the roof of Mitt’s car.

Now I have mixed feelings about this law.  It was designed to keep primarily dogs from distracting the driver.  Which is a good thing.  But I’m worried that it will lead to a crime wave.

Because restraining my dog led me to bribe an official of the French government.  Somehow I eluded authorities and remain a free woman.  But there is a lesson here.  And that lesson is this:

Restraint results in a loss of freedom

Yes, it’s true.  I am profound.  And awesome.  And a hardened criminal.

So what happened, Elyse? you say, wondering if you really want to know about my life of crime.  And you know I’m going to tell you.

*   *   *

When we got Cooper in 1998, we owned a Toyota Picnic, a little six seat van not available in the U.S.  It was kind of a vomit van, actually, because it was well known to induce vomiting by anyone who traveled with us.  We kept a large supply of cleaning supplies with us at all times.

Anyway, I read an article about how, if you stop suddenly, while traveling at 60 mph, a 50 lb Springer Spaniel dog will be traveling significantly faster as he flies through the car.  He will, in fact, become a projectile and might end up killing your kid.

Now I liked the dog a lot even at that early stage.  But I didn’t really relish the idea of the dog killing my kid to whom I was quite attached.  So, to scorn and jeers from John, I bought Cooper a special doggie seat belt that attached to the seatbelt of the seat behind the driver’s.

Cooper, however, did not approve of this new restraint.  I presume I hadn’t adequately educated him on the importance of self-restraint.  Because he ate his restraint.  And he had started eating the seatbelt too when I realized what was happening and released the rebel.  Who then happily sat wherever he wanted in the back of the vomit van.

Fortunately, Cooper hadn’t really done much damage to the seatbelt.  There were only a few bites taken out of it; it worked perfectly well and was not a safety hazard.

But when we moved across the border into France a couple of years later, well, we had to have the car inspected.  And the French car inspectors are famous for flunking Americans.  According to my husband, anyway.  And so I faced the villains alone.

Now, before you jump all over my husband for sending me into the lion’s den, well there is something you should know.  My husband cannot lie.  He cannot stretch the truth.  He cannot exaggerate.  Worse in this case, he would not have been able to restrain himself from explaining to the inspector that it really was not a safety issue.

Me, well, I’m different.  I grew up getting away with high crimes and misdemeanors.  I rarely got caught, and when I did, well, I got out of it. I’ve had practice.

So whenever we needed to deal with the French government, well, it was all up to me.

I drove to wherever it was, produced my paperwork, and waited my turn.  Truthfully, I was nervous.  I didn’t want to have to spend $1 zillion replacing a seat belt (car repairs in Switzerland/France are tres cher).  So I fidgeted with the container of mints in my pocket.  Tic Tacs.

When my turn came, I was outside with the inspector, chatting to him.  He was a young guy, and was nice and helpful as I tried to have a chatty conversation with him in my pigeon French. In fact, he couldn’t have been nicer to me.

Plus, the car was in great shape, clean and nearly perfectly maintained.  He found nothing wrong on the outside.  Then he opened the front passenger side, and tested the seat belt.  He closed the door and went to the rear passenger seat, and tested that one.

I started to sweat.  The chewed one was next.

He went around and opened the rear driver’s side door.  And that’s when I did it.

“Tic Tac?” I asked him, holding out the container.

“Oui, merci, madame,” he responded, closing that door without looking at the damaged seat belt.  He took a Tic Tac, and proceeded to inspect the driver’s seat belt.

My car passed inspection with flying colors.

And I continued to live a life of crime in France, just outside of Geneva for two years.

*   *   *

So, if you are going to be driving through New Jersey with your dog you have two choices:

Restrain him or buy yourself a three-pack of Tic Tacs.

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Filed under Cooper, Criminal Activity, Driving, Fashion, Geneva Stories, Humor, Law

Going Downhill

It started as a theory.  An hypothesis.  And naturally, my scientific research proved my conjecture correct.  At least to the best level of scientific certainty I could muster for this particular experiment.

And so now I know exactly why the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket.

It’s the cars.  Or specifically, it’s the cars folks are driving.  Actually, it’s the specific cars specific people are not driving that is causing all the trouble.

“Huh?” you say.  OK.  I’ll back up.

It started last weekend when our family was gathered around in the family room watching a movie:  Spy Game.

I sat up a little straighter during the first scene when Robert Redford/Nathan Muir rushes across Memorial Bridge to CIA HQ at Langley in his Porsche.  [And not only because he was driving in the wrong direction,away from Langley, either.]  No, I sat up straighter because I knew that he was going to save Brad  Pitt/Tom Bishop who went rogue. (No, Brad did not quit his job as Gov’ner of Alaska.  Pay attention!)

Of course Robert Redford/Nathan Muir was going to succeed.  Was there ever any doubt? No! Of course not!  Folks who drive Porsches always succeed, don’t they?  Isn’t that how they get the Porsches?

Well, that first scene made me think.  I thought back on my extensive experience with spies, espionage and intrigue.  Since I’ve been in the DC area for the better part of 30 years, well, obviously I know a lot about spies.  Osmosis works, you know.

Anyway, that’s when I hypothesized that it is the lack of seriously cool cars in the hands of spies that has doomed the US to being a second-rate power.   You see, I live not too far from CIA HQ, and I sometimes drive right by it on my way to work. 

Hmmmmm, I thought. I don’t remember seeing cool cars driving into or out of Langley.  But I needed proof.  Damn.

Now, you can’t just hang out outside of CIA HQ.  They frown upon it, even.  So I knew that I had to be sly.  You see, in 1993 there was a terrible incident where bad guys drove in through the front entrance and started shooting people.  As a result, the CIA folks guard the entrances quite carefully, which is pretty smart.  And I’m usually glad that they do.

Well, except for one night.  That one night on the way to my house, some friends took a wrong turn and entered the facility.  Oops.  They were stopped and searched; the guards even searched the salad Zoe was carrying.  Good thing the Supreme Court hadn’t yet ruled that salad-toting folks could be strip-searched, even though the salad was still naked so it would have been pretty simple.

Anyway, to conduct my research took a bit of sacrifice on my part – I had to “stage” an accident – so I cleverly rear-ended the car in front of me so that I could hang out in front of the entrance to CIA HQ and see what-all today’s spies are driving.  It wasn’t pretty.  I saw:

22 Toyota Camrys

31 Honda CRVs

12 Buick Le Sabres

127 Jeep Grand Cherokees

47 Nissan Altimas

13 Jeep Wranglers

432 Completely nondescript cars

Nondescript car

 and 210 folks who took the bus.

Are you excited?  Envious?  Awake?

There were also several mini-vans with rear windshields covered with those Mom+Dad+Johnny+Suzie+Fido+Fluffy+Flip-flop decals on the rear windshield.  There was ONE BMW, but it was disappointing, too – it was an SUV, an X-3, with a “Love Animals Don’t Eat Them” bumper sticker on the back.

Not a cool car in the bunch.  No wonder our spies are so demoralized.

Or maybe, it is simply having to work here:

*     *     *

Hey, this is my 100th Post!

Thanks everybody for coming back.  You are coming back, aren’t you?

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Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Humor