I dropped my car off
yesterday Wednesday morning at the mechanic in one of those suburbs that used to be a city in its own right but now the edges of it press against Gone West to the point that I have a friend who lives on the line and has a Gone West address, Other City utilities, and when someone calls the fire department, both cities show up.
The train stops about a quarter mile from the mechanic, so I walked over to the train stop and waited in the sunshine. There was a man waiting alone and a woman waiting with a little boy who was wearing soccer cleats.
I love taking the train. It always makes me happy to be in a big box with a variety of other people instead of in a smaller box alone (i.e. my car). I'm convinced that some of the existential boredom that middle and upper class North Americans seem to have is because we've boxed ourselves off and don't have interactions with other people that keep life interesting. (Think about it: house = box, car = box, office = box. Too many one-person boxes.)
When I got off near my house, it was cloudy again. Not because the sky had clouded over since I left the burbs but because the clouds hadn't yet lifted from the central valley of town. I could still see the blue sky over where I'd come from.
It's about half a mile back to my house, so I walked back, kicking colorful leaves, and drank some tea. Because everyone should drink tea, every day.
In the afternoon, after lunch downtown and checking in with a couple of lawyerly types who I haven't seen in a while, I walked back over to my side of town to sit in the sun at a cafe with a cappuccino and a macaron.
So it was basically a perfect day.
Even better, my roommate got some good news, and a friend of his came over, and the three of us went to our neighborhood bar, where they just got a new cook and the food is unexpectedly delicious now. (It shouldn't be that hard to make nachos well, but somehow it seems to be. Also the cheesy tater tots were crispy. That is vital.)
We spent the whole time saying, "Isn't it amazing not to have to worry about [what we've each separately been worrying about for months] anymore? We can just go out on a Wednesday and not think about what we should be doing instead!"
It took 45 minutes for a train to arrive yesterday when I was going back to pick up my car - something about a fire next to the tracks somewhere. By the time it finally got there, the two 50-something women on the bench next to me (I was leaning against a pole) had bonded over how hard it is to find a good job these days.
Another, younger woman had given directions to the mall to a confused teenager, and then turned to the older women, incredulous. "How can you not know where the mall is?" she asked. (I smiled, secretly. Because maybe she isn't from here? There are places other than here to be from.)
When we got on the train, there was a man speaking African French into his cell phone. I had to mention the fact that we could move down the aisles and fill the space - Gone Westians are not used to the need to pack many people into small spaces. One of the 50-something women sat down, and she offered to move her bags so I could sit down. I'd been sitting all day, though, so I smiled and thanked her.
After a while, she got up one stop before hers to let a woman in a headscarf with her own set of bags sit down. As she did, she realized that one of her bags was leaking fish water. The whole train car smelled like fish once it dripped down the aisle as she got off.
I like people.
The owner of the mechanic shop and I talked for an hour about politics and race. My guess is that he considers himself conservative and I consider myself liberal, but there are surprising commonalities when you talk without preconceived ideas. People are people, you know.
My car has a new clutch master cylinder and two new CV joints, and I can feel the difference when I shift. For a while now, my car has needed some gas when I let out the clutch between 1st and 2nd gear. I know you aren't supposed to give it any gas at that point, but it wasn't shifting smoothly.
Now it shifts like butter. Smooth like butter. (What does that phrase even mean?)