Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A January Adventure

She stuck out one digit, a frozen left thumb, as she speed-walked down the shoulder of State Street. She had to avoid the slippery sludge, the cold January remnant of Utah's white Christmas.  She looked an unlikely candidate for the eight block hike, dressed in business attire and fortunate layers, but she was comforted by his assurances.

"See, I keep one hand in my pocket like this, looking as casual as possible, but my knife is definitely open in my hand."

He had predicted that they would only need to make it to the McDonalds ahead, but she was certain it would be further. So she held out her thumb and tried to look the ideal combination of pathetic, cold, and harmless. In reality, she could only claim the latter two, but there was a deadline to her arrival, and it was fast approaching.

Twice the hum of a car's engine slowed, and twice the cars continued on. Then, as McDonalds appeared to be a completely reachable destination, a white car stopped.  He explained the destination to the driver - a youngish mother, judging by the booster seats in the back, and a smoker, judging by the smell.  "I just had to pick you up!  You two don't look like the sort of couple to be walking down State Street without a good reason."

She laughed internally at the driver's casual use of the word "couple."  They were indeed two, but by no means were they couple: she, a thirty-one year old mother of three and he, at nineteen just weeks from serving an LDS mission.  But she had no more time than to mentally log the flattery when they had arrived at their destination. Briskly ascending the concrete steps, they entered through ushered doors. A quick turn to the left, and she stepped to the counter. "I have two tickets on hold for tonight," she said. "I am here with the Utah Theatre Bloggers Association."

They settled in to the aptly named Grand Theatre to watch what would turn out to be a great production. But that's another story (which interested parties may read here). And after the bows and applause for the temporary, staged drama, they returned to the real life story in the making. They walked at a more leisurely pace this time, thumbs secured within warm pockets. Discussing dramatic artistry, symbolic nature,and character transformation, the two arrived at a gas station with a remarkable lack of both pomp and circumstance.

It became apparent that their appearance was uncharacteristic of the local crowd as the attendant offered a discounted deposit on the gas can, citing that the pair looked like the type that would actually return it. However, the deposit was required in cash, of which both he and she were void. "What do you sell that is warm?" she inquired, intending a small purchase in order to get cash back. And with hot chocolate thawing her fingers and a full gas can dangling from his, they resumed their journey.

They arrived at the immobile vehicle just as she finished the dregs of her hot chocolate.  He filled the gas tank while she stuffed her fingers deep into her pockets to prevent future chill.  He unlocked the car, and she flopped comfortably into the passenger seat, awaiting what would hopefully be a functioning motor and a warm heater.  He, however,found it surprisingly difficult to sit, since she had adjusted the seat for her lack of height when the car had died in the first place.

They could not in fairness have been entirely surprised when the car had stopped; it had stuttered several miles earlier, and they had chalked it up to a quirky engine.  When its manual transmission refused to shift gears once again, it had been more difficult to ignore.  And then the engine had stopped completely, leaving the vehicle in the center of the three-lanes-each-way section of State Street.  She had steered while he had pushed, guiding the car to its current resting place on a little-used side street.

In his defense, he had put five dollars of gas in the car that morning, and there was no conceivable reason why it sat, unmoving, on the Salt Lake side street.  And now the motor's triumphant return (and her long-awaited manufactured heat) was delayed a few moments as he readjusted the seat.  Once comfortably in place, he inserted the key.  Both held their breath, likely muttering silent prayers, and listened to the purr of the engine as it turned over.

It started!

"And to think," she said, "that if you'd just arrived at my house on time, we would have taken my car, and none of this would have happened."  But she laughed, always grateful for an adventure.

Andrea and Logan, mid-adventure