Sunday, January 15, 2012
"Mitzu Species" and Other Thrills of the Hunt
Sometimes you just run out of ideas, and then genius forms of entertainment emerge in all their amorphous, low-test, cost-free glory.
It's been a snowless, dull sort of winter. We've hiked a little, we've played board games, we've read, we've had "playdates" (all fun, but I can't say this smarmy word aloud anymore, I just can't) and drop-offs, we've gone to the museum and the mini-golf place, we've gone to the Y, we've wallowed in blizzards of flour making cookies, biscuits, and salt-dough beads and boulders. And we've watched every "Scooby-Doo" ever made, retro and current. Shaggy's Casey-Kasem-voiced hysterics are stamped in my brain like some uncomfortably familiar second id. (I'm scared too, Shaggy. And I want a huge sandwich as well. I'm scared too. And I want a chocolate cream pie.)
Good Lord, it's not even February. The other day I picked Beau up from his preschool, which only lasts until 11:30 in the morning. It's more like pre-pre-school: anything that lets out while my coffee is still kicking in sort of doesn't count. (Not that I'm discounting the hard work of those teachers, bless their kind, no-nonsense, unbelievably organized hearts.) It was 28 degrees and sunny, with a 10 mph sharp north wind blowing. Driving back from Candler to Asheville, a single possibility emerged: a trip to the immense Skyland Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mazda, Mitsubishi Dealership.
It was acres and acres of glitzy new vehicles, all bearing five-digit pricetags. Its sheer size was comforting, though, because only one salesman bore the cold to come out and ask if he could help us. I was all ready with a lie, something like, "yes, we're definitely looking to purchase a $30,000 giant pickup truck sometime in the new year; right now we're just deciding between the disco-green and Satan-black color." But the wind cut close and I only managed the truth: "Honestly, this is just for fun. I promise we won't touch anything."
Amazingly, he didn't seem to mind. He paused a second, his sales training caught in his throat like a midwinter phlegm event, and said: "Well, y'all let me know if you need me." After that we sailed. It was a memorable day for Beau...all those trucks, all those shiny new trucks, in one place. He can recognize any vehicle brand in manufacturing existence by the mere shape of the label, and was at first content just to skip between the rows, shouting out: "A Dodge Dakota. A Chevy. A Mitzu-species. Another Mitzu-species."
Pretty soon that wasn't enough, and he had to go in for some close contact. We kept our promise, sort of. We didn't touch anything...with our hands. But whenever he saw a "dualie" -- that's a big ol' truck with two pairs of conjoined-twin tires in the back -- he had to bend down and give the bumper a gentle kiss. All the dualies were likewise distinguished.
My phone struck noon, and we hadn't even seen the Jeeps or Mustangs. "Mom, this is going to be a good day all day long."