Saturday, February 20, 2010


For years it seemed like every time we turned around, we were buying a bigger vehicle.  Having three babies in three and a half years will do it.  Only a few cars a large enough for three carseats--and all of them are vans.  At least, that's the way it seemed at the time.  Then there was the gigantic tent-trailer we bought that required an enormous engine to pull it.  Hence, our conversion van.  But since we moved into this house seven years ago, we've been downsizing.  Everything.  House-size, car-size...well, unfortunately, not my own size, but that's another story.

I drive a Toyota Matrix.  Love my Matrix.  It's small, easy to park, gets reasonable gas mileage.  However.  However. Sigh.  Deep sigh.  We have a bit of a problem now. (Every time I use that kind of sentence, I think of my mother, how it was a harbinger of the invading holes in her brain.  "I have a big problem," she said once when we were staying at my sister's house in Ventura.  It turned out she couldn't figure out where/how to plug in her breathing machine...the outlet was behind the end-table.  Yep, a BIG problem).  Anyway, our problem is that our small car just isn't big enough for two walkers, two extra-large men, and two women. And Thyrza's single, fancy, mechanized walker doesn't fit in the small trunk of the Matrix if more than three people are in the car. So, every time we go anywhere with Grampie and Thyrza,  we have to take two cars.  And when I take them by myself, Grampie insists that 'his bride', as he calls her, sits in front, but his size 15 shoes don't fit between the open back door and the front seat, so I'm always practically breaking his foot in half trying to get him in there, while Thyrza's in the front seat with her knees in her nostrils so Grampie has enough space.  Ah, the gift that keeps on giving.

So we went car shopping again today.  We've done this a time or two.  A dozen times or two, to tell the truth.  But this set-up just isn't working for any of us.  But...I HATE car shopping.  I don't like shopping of any kind very well.  That's a secret of my life with Beve.  I don't like shopping--and he does.  He loves to find deals.  Loves hunting for bargains.  Me?  I'd rather be reading.  I get impatient.  Easily distracted.  Want to make a decision and get out of there.  I don't like the dickering, don't like feeling uncertain about whether I can trust a person's word.  Trust that what he says is really what he means.  Shouldn't we be able to trust that?  At least be able to trust that?  We got out of my beloved Matrix this afternoon and a little (seriously, smaller than me!) man, born and raised in Uganda, if you can believe that, came walking rapidly toward us.  I was rolling my eyes, hunching my shoulders, trying to disappear (rather difficult in the company of my legal giant husband), and would have gotten back in the car if Beve hadn't locked it.  Beve loves these kinds of transactions.  Loves the back and forth bargaining, knowing that he isn't in it to buy, only to look, and there's NOTHING the salesman--or the manager, or the manager's manager--can do "to get you into this car today!"  Me? Just let me look at these cars, for Pete's sake.  Let me see how big the trunk is, see if Beve fits in the back seat, behind the wheel.  Just let me browse, like I'd browse books in a bookstore.  If I find something right, you won't have to work to sell it.  I remember once telling a car-salesperson that.  I told him, "You know all those things you usually say to people to get them to buy?  Think the opposite of those things. We don't want bigger, flashier, fancier.  Not in a car, and not in a sales-pitch."  He couldn't do it.  We walked away.

It makes me wonder what it would be like to live in a place where we could trust the word of those we interact with.  Can you imagine?  No contracts, witnessed and stamped by a notary, no intialing thirty-thousand pages for every transaction.  Just, "Yes, I will do it."  Then do it.  Or "No, thank you."  And that's the end of it.  I get tired of not being able to believe people when they say things, don't you? In the last 24 hours, as we've watched the Olympics and Saturday hoops, we've heard commentator after commentator speculate about whether a certain golfer's announcement of apology was in earnest or not.  "He sounded wooden," they say.  "But he always sounds wooden," another intones. "He struck the right balance."  Unfortunately, this man's life is no longer seamless.  So how can his word be believed?  Yes, our heroes have clay feet--that is, they all stumble and fall and are made of things that fail and break...just like us.  But perhaps the best thing we might say about a person is that his word and his life are one. This is what I mean by seamless.  That he is who he says he is.  That she is who she says she is.

God knows.  Let my word be true of my life.  Let yours.  For your own sake, but especially, primarily!, for His.

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