I drove, and I spent most of the time talking about horribly depressing things, which seems to have become my new habit, likely because there are so many depressing things happening to people I know lately.
Mom and I have invented a new driving game, a game that certainly would work nowhere on Earth so well as it does in our part of Indiana. You see, there are these giant metal stars...who knows where they come from. And people take these stars and they mount them on the side of their barn or their house, and then the neighbors see the star and think they had better do the same, so now there are billions of stars all over Indiana, firmly attached to any building that stands still long enough for someone to approach it with an electric drill.
The game we have invented involves those stars. When we see one, we half-heartedly swat each other on the arm and announce, "STAR." It is a rather stupid game. Mostly it is to keep a running tally of the number of these stars, in much the same way as the game "How Many Dresses?" kept that Jennifer Love Hewitt show from being as tediously boring as it was. Her character had clearly suffered a psychotic break, to see dead people all the time like that. I forget the name of the show--Mom and I just called it "How Many Dresses?" (It is worth mentioning that no one WINS these games. They only exist to pass time.)
I think all the stars originated from this crafty store, though, because stars are everywhere inside. They were also playing the most horrific country music of all time that day, this man with an absurdly low voice, singing about how it's the end times RIGHT NOW, and we are about to be raptured at any second.
When Mom and I had finally escaped (with a rug for the kitchen floor), we hopped back in the car to drive across the parking lot to the grocery store, because it was nine billion degrees outside and no way were we walking.
As I drove from one parking space to another, I noticed something was WRONG. Very wrong.
I would press on the brake pedal and push it all the way down to floor. Then we would start slowing down. I discovered this as I pulled into a parking place, so I wasn't SURE there was a problem. It just felt strange, stopping.
When we'd gotten our groceries, I drove the car up toward the store to pick up a tank of propane for the grill. And was the car stopping? Not so much.
I knew the problem was serious when I stood on the brake pedal, only to have the car roll forward several more feet before beginning to slow down.
We did the only thing we could do, given the circumstances. We called Dad and told him to come rescue us.
I don't mean to tell you that Dad can FIX cars...because he can't. What he CAN do is DRIVE a car when you think that driving it will lead to your untimely death. So we stopped at the county's school administration offices and waited for Dad.
And he arrived.
And he added brake fluid.
And nothing happened.
He then drove the car home with Mom as I followed. I had warned him that the car pulled into the opposite lane when the brakes were utilized. What I didn't know was that the brake light on the passenger's side wasn't even bothering to turn on when the pedal was pressed. Basically, half the brakes were not even getting the signal to stop. This was a...problem. To say the least.
So we drove home slowly, Dad jerking to the left each time he applied the brakes, me following with my emergency flasher-dealies going just in case people didn't get the hint from our shockingly slow pace.
The next day, Car Guy came and towed the car away. Mere days later, we were alerted that the car was fixed, and it came home.
Everything was better.
Stop Sign photograph © Kt Ann