Thinking that I'd finish one book (Alan Bennett's wonderfully delightful novella, The Uncommon Reader) and then get back to Ian McEwan's Atonement which is just getting to the 'can't put down stage' as I know it's approaching the ugliness of humans bit that McEwan is so good at writing, I thought I'd let my college-age son drive back to school as I read. He had borrowed my car while I was on vacation.
Just a few miles onto the interstate, far enough to get past the city speed limits, he states:
I wouldn't have bought this car. There's a lot that I don't like about it. He proceeded with a long list of ridiculous issues that surely are more important to college-aged freshman males than they are to their mothers. Little 'issues' like the staid color navy blue, the crappy factory-installed stereo with no mp3 player, the lack of power seats, the funky day-glo indigo color of the dashboard lights (which I have to agree is weird but I didn't test drive it at night) or the ridiculous expense -- given their relative safety value -- of side-curtain air bags. This last comment, I'm sure, was a test to see if I was listening. It was only a lead-in for the next comment, one that was too good to have been sacrificed to a book:
But it does handle nicely on the road. Why, when I took a road trip to St Louis last weekend, I was amazed how you can get over 100mph before you even know it! The car doesn't even shake until you're way past that.
Good German engineering. I said, trying to mask a "Pull over this second! You're never driving one of my cars again! Ever!" tone of voice that was combined with a rising sense of panic as I noticed that we were sandwiched between two semis with little breathing space.
Silently, I cursed that my reading glasses didn't allow me to see the speedometer from the passenger side seat. Couldn't decide for the next 60 miles if reading was a distraction from the certainty of imminent highway disaster, or if it only made the quick glances from page to pavement more agonizing.
I'm grateful that Freshman aren't allowed vehicles on campus at Big 10 Engineering school with a train for its mascot. And I'm happy that it only took my dear son three days and two parking tickets to realize that having to move a car parked on city streets every day was more hassle than it was worth.
Back to work tomorrow and, sadly, back to reduced reading time. Ah! if only vacations could be the routine, and I could always spend my afternoons reading and my evenings taking pictures like this from boats at dock or at sea: