I have kind friends. Last week, I took my car in for a new timing belt. I need my car back tonight, I told them. If that won’t work, I can come back next week. They assured me it would be done, but when I called them at 4:30 to ask when I should pick it up I was told that they had taken it apart and then sent the technician home. The parts just got here. It will be ready tomorrow. I didn’t know what to do — not only did I have to use my car to cart all my teaching supplies to Frog Hollow the next morning, but the supplies were in the car, in the shop. Cara doesn’t have a car. Nate has a mean commute in the opposite direction. There I was, standing in the thickening dusk, teetering on a minor catastrophe.
So I called Alice and Mark. They are the folks I babysit for, and are two of the kindest, most loving human beings I have the pleasure of knowing. I have a huge favor, I told Alice.
And she lent me their Mercedes.
Alice and Mark inherited this car. It is an old green boat of a vehicle, and was missing a window from being broken into. Next time take the whole car — we need the insurance money. God Bless, read the piece of cardboard they had propped in the hole. Classic Mark humor. Usually, they drive a Honda CRV with three car seats crammed in the back. Until recently, their other car was a mid-eighties golden Honda Accord they had dubbed Goldmember, which has now been “crushed up for metal!” according to their five year old.
These guys have busy, lively lives, but they didn’t even hesitate to lend me their car. There’s Cat Power and some reggae CD’s, Mark told me. You can’t tell it at first until the turbo kicks in, but this car’s got power. He showed me the basics of the car. Thank you, he said.
No, thank you.
Oh right. Well I’m so used to thanking you. Which is true — both Mark and Alice are consistently appreciative and considerate, and if you want some test subjects on the link between gratitude and happiness, just look at them. These guys know how to live.
Alright, And he gave me the key.
And that is how, instead of having a hellish logistical disaster, I got to drive a Mercedes. I picked up my supplies from the car shop — they lowered down my car to let me into the trunk. I drove to my class. Cara watched Squinchy for the day. The Mercedes had great speakers and the pleasing air of a well made thing. And driving it, I could feel the good people who have my back. People like that keep life okay.
I got the car back to them just in time for Nate to steal me (and the Squinch) for a secret romantic weekend in a cabin on the coast, with plenty of tranquility and seagull chasing and good, good, Nate-cooked food. Like I said, I’ve got some good people.
And don’t be surprised if someday down the line, I turn up driving my own Mercedes.