If my car window is stuck in the halfway position, and I think it’s half open and you think it’s half closed, which one of us is the pessimist?
Actually, it doesn’t matter any more, because Randy fixed it for me on Friday. Now, this was after two rainstorms last week, both of which I thought I was responding to more cleverly than I was, so I’m still not clear which side of pessimism/optimism I’m landing on.
The first rainstorm started as I arrived at work Tuesday after lunch, so I went in and got a trashbag, which wasn’t actually large enough, and some teal duct tape. I tried taping it from inside the car, but the bag wasn’t wide enough and it was gathered at the bottom. And I left other windows down, believing the rain I was witnessing first-hand was going to be a sprinkle that wouldn’t last long.
A prognosticator I’m not.
It poured instead, and when I returned to my car water had gone around and perhaps even in the trash bag, but at least I drive around with a giant beach towel that is supposed to be across the backseat where Oz rides but instead is usually wadded up on the floor. In the middle of the car, where it stayed dry and thus could be pressed into service for the driver’s seat.
The second rainstorm probably happened Thursday (maybe it was Wednesday — it was some day), while my car was parked in front of the home of one of my several friends named Karen.
This particular Karen lives two streets over from my old house, in the same neighborhood, and while it’s a clunky solution that really isn’t, it’s the best I’ve come up with: she is very kindly giving me garage space (at the expense of her snowblower) in which to park my bicycle.
When I ride my bicycle from my new house to work, it feels like a dreary chore; when I ride from Karen’s it is fun. I can follow part of my old zigzag pattern and take in side streets, which I vastly prefer to the roar of the highway, and after work when I am riding back it is just the right length rather than a slog to the vet clinic, at which point I realize I still have a mile to ride. And while those of you who don’t ride bicycles think Gunnison is flat, you are sadly mistaken, and that last mile of increasing elevation makes it even harder for me to work up enthusiasm for getting on my bike the next day.
So I drive to Karen’s house, park in front of it (to the vast speculation of all her neighbors, apparently), and ride my bike to work. It’s probably far less healthy than if I rode my bike to and from home, but mentally I like it so much better and I don’t look for any ol’ excuse to not ride my bike.
Not even when clouds are gathering. In my early days of riding my bike after I bought my John Deere townie however many years ago, I would default to my car if it looked like it might rain. It took awhile, but at some point I realized it could rain all it wanted, as long as I had two clear windows of about 15 minutes, which is nearly almost always granted by Gunnison’s monsoon rains.
Except last week. I parked in front of Karen’s with a roll of British-flag duct tape (I own lots of duct tape, none of it silver) and a piece of plastic that was large enough to cover my window. I started to tape it up inside when I realized I was going about things the hard way; got out of the car and deployed three pieces of duct tape along the top of the car so that the plastic draped over the half-open/half-closed window. And left the other windows, all of which were more functional than the driver’s window, cracked open.
And then it rained. It started right about 6, and I debated bringing my bike in at work, but it looked like it was going to be a gentle 10-minute rainfall, so I left it in the bike rack and set about doing some work in the beautiful quiet that ensues when we lock the front door and the last of my co-workers departs.
A prognosticator I’m not.
It rained and rained and rained. So heavily I opted against running out to rescue my bike. Finally, about 7 o’clock, it seemed like it was letting up, so I slung my backpack into the basket, pulled on my rain poncho (don’t leave home without it) and unlocked my bike. Only to have the deluge start up again.
I debated going back inside, but it was 80 sweltering degrees in there and rain is only a little water, right, until it creates mudslides that block major interstate highways in Colorado and fills subways in China until commuters are up to their necks? I got on my bike.
And made it about a block before the poncho was soaked through, but it still felt better than 80 stifling degrees, and there was only a little lightning to worry about as I rode through the puddles gathered on Gunnison’s streets.
It was still raining as I shucked my poncho into the back of my car at Karen’s and wrestled my way past the plastic, which had kept out all but a tiny gathering of water in the middle of my seat. I was feeling pretty triumphant, but it turned out that Karen had come to my rescue yet again, watching the wind lift the plastic up and out of the way, so she went out and tucked it into the door to keep it in place.
It’s a good thing there are people around to take care of me.
I drove home with the plastic draped over the half-open/half-closed window (in a rainstorm it’s pretty much half-open), trying to keep the window controls — only three of them functional — dry, whereupon I discovered the best thing about our new house: a garage you can drive right into. You can even take your time draping wet plastic to dry rather than trying to affix it back to a really wet car to maybe keep out the rain that did finally stop, but I don’t remember when because I was inside and dry and it no longer mattered.
And then on Friday I drove my car to my mechanics, where LeighAnn had warned me they couldn’t access any Nissan parts and Randy said it sounded like I was describing a motor with a dead spot. But no: he pulled the door apart and discovered the window had fallen off its track. Half an hour of labor and no parts later, I no longer had to worry about my pessimism/optimism status, because I could once again control my own destiny and place the window at whatever height I wanted.
So Saturday morning I rolled it almost all the way up, but left the other three all the way down, two blocks from work, where I remained as it rained with stern intent for yet another hour. At least my seat was dry, and Oz doesn’t seem to care as much as I do. (If he’d use his towel, his seat would have stayed dry too.)
But it’s clear: while I may have been an optimist for thinking it wouldn’t rain in three-quarters of the car and a pessimist for thinking it might in the other quarter, a prognosticator I am not.