Montague Reporter

May 23, 2024

Police Log

“Caller from Fifth Street states she got home and there were flowers on her steps along with a note. She finds this suspicious; last time there were flowers and Skittles. Wants on record at this time.”

OMG, major crime in this backwater of the country. First, flowers with Skittles (candy), followed by flowers with a note. Call State Police! Call the FBI! Who said serious crime is down nationally?

I laughed when I read this. Till yesterday, when I went car-shopping. My red Prius is finally giving up the ghost, courtesy of how much salt we put on our icy winter roads and an unpaved driveway. I was sure I’d drive it way past 200,000 miles, but that was not to be, so I’m looking for a good second-hand car. My sweet red Prius was the only new car I ever bought; Bernie urged me to get one (they were just coming out) after our old car was junked at 230,000 miles.

Since Lori is still bedridden in my office, I stop by to inform her I’m leaving the house.

“Have a good time car-shopping,” she calls out.

I leave, muttering to myself. Bah! Humbug! A good time car-shopping! Who has a good time shopping for a used car? This is not how I planned to spend my super-important-to-humanity days, not to mention that I know nothing about used cars.

But as I pulled out in my dying Prius, listening to a new sound on the left side of the car that hadn’t been there before (slow cardiac arrest?), I thought: Why can’t car-shopping be fun? Okay, it’s not what I planned, not on my top 300 to-dos, but I have to do it anyway, so why not make it fun?

I pull into my local service station, Mark’s Auto, and tried their used Priuses. Too expensive. But had fun bantering with funereal Terry, who greets me whenever I bring my car in for service.

“Terry, you look great. Did you cut your hair?” I ask.

“Just took my hat off, Eve,” he says drily.

I don’t miss a trick.

“Hatlessness suits you,” I tell him. “You’re a handsome dude. Believe me, I know about handsome dudes.”

He grunts, hands me the keys to a couple of second-hand Priuses and looks back at the computer screen.

Then off to Orange, some 30 minutes away. No hybrid cars here, just a possible Honda, maybe even a Subaru; everything else is too big. I take the Honda out for a very pleasant ride in the countryside, turn the wheel this way and that, and when I brake hard to try the brakes a truck almost rams into the backside. I’m having a ball. I get down on the ground to check for rust—“The car came from New Jersey!” remonstrates Mike—and we have a humorous conversation about rust in NJ vs. rust in MA, agreeing that MA rust is far superior.

I negotiate with all my usual persuasive power and congratulate myself on getting a whopping $7.50 off the asking price of the Honda. Mike and I talk dogs and I wave goodbye and tell him I’ll be in touch soon, but not before giving him my card.

“What’s Zen?” inquires Mike, never dreaming of the dharma talk he’s about to get. After 20 minutes discourse on emptiness, he interrupts me to wait on a customer looking for a pick-up truck, and I leave, proud of my bodhisattvahood.

Whenever I walk the dogs, Lori says: “Have a good time!”

I mutter to myself then, too; I often have no desire to walk the dogs. Notice how things not on your priority list suddenly become number 1? Not to mention hay fever. But almost every time I go, I’m glad. Identified a bird I didn’t know before, noted the oddest-looking bark on a tree, watched Aussie splash Henry while wearing a big grin on her silly face, wondered what had just been planted in the fields, looked west at the rest of the country and decided that life was way bigger than me.

It’s your state of mind, dummy, I tell myself. Some things you can’t change, but you can always change your state of mind.

John O’Donahue wrote: “Awaken your spirit to adventure.”

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