Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wonder Winterland

I swear we've received more snow in the last two weeks than we've seen in the last two years. And except for driving on it, I have to admit I kinda like it. Okay, the driving's not too bad, either. So far I haven't encountered any serious idiots.

Last night I was out walking the dog, watching her bound (as much as an arthritic nine-year-old dog can bound) through the drifts and make her mark on the world (don't eat yellow snow!), I realized that there were aspects to winter that I miss. It makes even the ugliest of landscapes new and beautiful--like the weed-infested berms of fill-dirt at the cemetary backlot near our house.

Of course last night it was still and just above freezing. This morning walking the the mechanic's shop it was below freezing and windy. I didn't romanticize nearly so much. But then I wasn't taking my time. I had to get my car and get to work.

My starter has been a bit glitchy lately. This morning it nearly didn't start. When I did get it started I drove it directly to our mechanic, who fortunately lives three blocks away. And I have to admit, I don't mind visiting this place, even though it can get expensive.

First of all, the owner is friendly, remembers my name, and is more than willing to chat while I'm waiting for my car. He's a local guy just hoping to make a go of it, and since he treats me well, he qualifies on my list of "local guys to support".

Best of all, however, is Rooster, the owner's two-year-old golden retriever for which the shop is named. She's (yes, I know, a rooster is a "he", but her original name was "Kangaroo", which morphed to "'Roo-ster", and then "Rooster", okay?) the shop's goodwill ambassador, and anyone who knows me can attest I'm a sucker for friendly dogs.

When I took my car in for an oil change near Christmas she kept me busy the entire time playing tug-of-war with a rapidly disintigrating santa toy. This time she just insisted that I pet her. I was quite happy to comply, especially when she kept giving me that "I will love you forever--keep doing that" look that you just don't get from cats.

The owner knows I live nearby, and today he offered to take me home while I waited for them to install a new starter. I accepted. Even better, I got to ride in the "Rooster Mobile", his custom-painted truck that serves as a rolling billboard for the shop.

Best of all, all the neighborhood kids (including my daughter) were waiting at the bus stop across from my house, and got to see me pull up in the Rooster Mobile. Instant...Celebrity. The only way it might have been better is if Rooster had been along for the ride (we left her behind at the shop). Oh well. It'll take years before I'll be able to top that entrance.

As much as I'd rather avoid having to go to the mechanic, it does have its up-sides.

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