First I brought Scarlet, Mrs. Toadroller's monstrous S4, down to the local all-purpose fix-it shop for an inspection. I noticed the other day that the sticker had expired in December. Whoops!
Mutt and Jeff* admired my handy-work strapping the mid-exhaust to its hangar which had un-welded itself. They also admired the car - "they crammed a V8 in there? Must go like stink! Ooh, it's a stick?" The replaced a license plate bulb and splat-boom, one down, one to go.
Conversation turned to fixing things in general, including houses, and they started talking about a feller that does a lot of work for them and all he ever seems to do these days is "fix shit he would have been embarrassed to charge a customer for in the first place" and by example a project he was working over on The Scribner Road where the customer didn't want a frost barrier on their concrete because they were too cheap. That rang a bell for me - "Oh, you mean Jeff W?" "Yeah! He was here just ten minutes ago. Went home to take a nap. Lots of plowing tonight."
Jeff W. is going to be tearing into the latest shit others have done to our home that he would have been embarrassed to charge for, but clearly others weren't.
Small circles like this are Maine to the core. He knows her, and she knows him, and he knows somebody else; his cousin. It's true of any real community, if you think about it. It probably applies to The Big Apple, but on occurrences a bit more spread apart. You can have community where you are... and you can not have community. Both at the same time. Of the world, in the world. Yes. No. At the post office yesterday I ran into the parent of one of the kids Toadroller Luke played sports with oh so long ago. And then the usher from the church over in Winthrop** came in and I sent him ahead in line- he with a letter and me with four boxes to California. And the Postmistress herself a regular at Saturday 4:00pm anticipated mass.
Back up the slippery hill I went to fetch Old Blue, the A8, the Thousand Dollar Car, she of the sagging oil pressure. Fingers were crossed: they said that brake pads would be coming around soon enough, but okay for now. I shared my recent fun with alternators, fuel injectors, and batteries, never mind the disintegrating plastic bumpers which are evermore shattering in the cold when you back her into a snow bank. But still, from a 3/4 view looking from the rear to the front, she's a beautiful car with incredible lines and shiny paint and at 20 years*** (14 in dog years), my heart reached out to her. And so they passed her too.
"You're good for another year," they said, putting the sticker on the window, and I wondered to myself, "Am I?"
* One of them is named Jeff, or at least his shirt patch says so, but the two of them seem like twins; very likely brothers. Picture a pair of Santas, white beards and all, wrenching everything from Saabs to Chevys.
** The Winthrop post office suffered the defeat of a fire, so ours has a stream of visitors picking up their mail.
*** They had a snowblower in the shop, at the ready. It looked familiar and sure enough, it was the same exact model we inherited from my father-in-law Bert. "That thing is older than you!" they joked, but I told them I had the same one. "Oh, that's a good one. You kick in that rear traction and it's a monstah!" I believe it's from 88-89 time frame. It'll be getting some solid use tomorrow, as our nor'easter continues to blow through the night.