Of Words and Weather and Automotive Maturation

Uncharacteristically cool temperatures for late July and early August give me hope. Soul-crushing hot weather tends to sear despair into my brain, but the scar heals quickly when evening and early morning temperatures dip into the sixties. Were it not for the encapsulated joints in the middle toes of both feet, I might go walking this morning. Actually, I’m not sure encapsulated joints cause the pain in my feet, despite the podiatrist’s assertion. I may have brought on the symptoms by stooping on my haunches to scrape paint off the deck. This paragraph has drifted from weather and its emotional consequences to the causes of physical pain to home maintenance. I don’t recall ever having crafted a paragraph that accomplishes so much of so little value in such limited space. And the idea that I “crafted” a paragraph attaches far more substance to my creative efforts than they deserve. I didn’t craft a damn thing. The words fell from my fingers like shards of glass from a window shattered by a baseball. Well, maybe my words aren’t quite as chaotic as that, but any suggestion they were, or are, painstakingly sculpted out of letters and syllables mined from a word-quarry rich in deep thought and powerful ideas is ludicrous.

Let’s move on, shall we, to topics more deserving of a limited supply of syllables? The idea that one has a finite number of words or syllables or sentences available to be spoken or written or thought in one’s lifetime is interesting. To me, anyway. The thought reminds me of a television program I watched recently on the PBS Create channel. The program was about the cuisine of Japan and the host spoke of an experience wherein he was with a Japanese chef as they talked about selecting a restaurant to enjoy their next meal. The program host suggested a restaurant that, I gather, was the quality-equivalent of a chain steakhouse in the U.S. His Japanese counterpart said something like, “There is a finite number of meals you will eat in your lifetime. Are you sure you want to spend one of them dining in a place like that?” Granted, the number of words or syllables or sentences one uses in one’s lifetime probably is several orders of magnitude greater than the number of meals one eats, but the concept still applies. Should we pay closer attention to the language we spread in our wake, knowing that it reflects to some degree the quality of the thoughts we allow to form in our brains? Just a thought. Heh.

Yesterday, while I was interviewing people for background material for the book about the history of Hot Springs Village, my wife took the Camry in for an oil change and tire rotation. The mechanic told her the car needs a rear brake job and a brake fluid flush and refill. I checked our records; sure enough, it has been a very long time since we had any work done on the rear brakes (the front brake pads have been replaced twice since we moved to the Village). So, I’ll call this morning to get an appointment. I will leave the Camry with her when I drive back to Houston to help my brother during his recovery from his recent surgery. I want it to be in tip-top shape. I’ll drive the Subaru to Houston, inasmuch as I’ll need its GPS to make my way around the monstrous city. And, inasmuch as it’s a far newer car (by about fourteen years), it ought to be more highway-worthy. Since we got the Subaru, I’ve neglected being as aware of the Camry’s maintenance as I should have been. But the car is now sixteen years old, old enough to look after itself, I say. If it’s old enough to get a driver’s license, it’s old enough to arrange its own oil change, brake jobs, and the like. And it ought to get a job and pay for its own gas, by God!

I started this post not long after I awoke this morning, but got sidetracked about the time I started blathering on about the Camry taking responsibility for itself, given that it’s now a mature car. By the time the 2020 elections come around, it will be old enough to vote. And I think I’ve spoken enough about voting, in its presence, that I know how it will vote. The vehicle, its silver paint job and muted appearance looking as conservative as they come, but it’s a Democratic Socialist through and through.  Okay, this diatribe has gone on far longer than necessary or acceptable. I’ll call it a morning and get on with my responsibilities. Next up, more interviews of long-time residents of HSV. The joys of retirement.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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