Something Even Better

11 Jun

My favorite moment, today:

After piano practice today (still chugging along, team – more on that later!) we were given a ride back to language classes in one of the staff vehicles. While the other two trainees chatted-up the driver (whose life, by the way, is worthy of several dozen novels; he is crazy awesome and intense), I found a brief moment to just tune out and lean my face against the cool, glass window. We took a side road back to school along the Caspian – and when I say side road, I mean we climbed over a dune and drove right on the beach.

A storm was just beginning, the wind bringing in both dark clouds and the terrifying dead fish/oil/garbage/sea-salt smell. He drove fast, swerving around pot-holes and the occasional tire or car part or pile of bottles.

Under the clouds, we passed beauty as well as change: young men in cars with loud music, parked by the breaking waves; whirling tide pools with sides of sea foam; several tea houses in various states of disrepair; men fishing, their tall poles confidently cast into a sea that will inevitably bring them little; an abandoned restaurant turned horse stable, a dead horse lying among the rest; the ever-enticing and ever-terrifying theme park in the distance.

I caught the tail-end of  the conversation up front. “During Soviet times,” our driver said, “there was a little railroad here on the beach for the children. I liked that very much.”

We caught up to the remains of an old beach road that went from the main town to the suburb where our schools are located.  “This used to be the best,” our driver said. “I could come down here and drive fast. I mean, really fast.” He smiled.

We eventually veered off the beach road and onto the winding gravel streets. Talk turned to cars and driving and we passed a mosque and many men coming out of service.

After we dropped the other trainees off at their school , I was left with the driver and, not wanting to always be the silent back-seat passenger, picked up where the conversation left off.

“What would you say is your favorite car ever?” I asked him.

“That is easy,” he said. “A Jeep Wrangler. You know this?”

“I know this well,” I said. And I do – I have coveted this car on and off for years.

“They have rich history in war,” he said. I agreed. “They were used in World War II  – then the Willys Jeep, I think?”

“You know this!” he shouted, obviously impressed and my ego skyrocketed. The man has no clue the infinite wisdom of all things cars I have known since childhood.

“They are now Chrysler – such a great car!” He went on, adding their change from AMC to Chrysler and how the tops come off and their four-wheel drive capabilities and so forth, ending with “and someday – it will be mine!” He laughed.

As we pulled up to the school, his eyes caught mine in the rearview mirror. I turned away, trying not to embarrass either of us.

“What about you? What is your favorite car?” he asked as I grabbed my bag to leave.

“Well,” I said, “My family owns a Ford – a 1954 Skyliner. Do you know this?”

“Of course I do!” he said. “Very sleek – nice sky light. What is inside?”

“A 351 Cleveland,” I said. “It is old, but it is perfect.”

“Yes, this is a good car,” he said. He turned his smile down and continued: “But this – this is for men! This is a strong car!”

I brought my eyes back up, again meeting his in the mirror. “Yes, it is. You are right, and I am not a man – but I am something much better!”

He laughed, shaking his head and wishing me a good afternoon, and I laughed too, wishing him an even better one.


COURAGE yet! my brother or my sister!
Keep on! Liberty is to be subserv’d, whatever occurs;
That is nothing, that is quell’d by one or two failures, or any number of failures,
Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or by any unfaithfulness,
Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon, penal statutes.
 – Walt Whitman

2 Responses to “Something Even Better”

  1. ruth krueger (@tromtt) June 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    That’s my girl!!!

  2. Amy Hauke June 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    You go girl!!

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