This was me in traffic yesterday morning, feeling kind of grouchy, waiting my turn while the opposite lane of cars snaked around some construction in the road ahead. The cop who halted me held up his hands, held them up again, held them up again as if to say ‘stop, stop, so STOP already!’ – which seemed a little weird because I was stopping. Then he pointed to a particular patch of pavement is if to say ‘come right here, come right here,’ kind of like they do at the rental car return place.
When he approached my car I thought “Here we go.”
But instead of chastising me in any way, he motioned for me to roll down my window. Seeng that Ihad my iPhone plugged in with that little tether that lets you listen to it through the radio, he said,”whatcha listenin’ to?”
That took me by surprise. “What’s that now?” I said.
“Whatcha listenin to?” he said again, leaning in my window. “Meaning what kinda tunes?”
“Oh I’m not listening to tunes, I’m listening an audiobook.”
“Cool! What book?”
“Oh um something called If I Wake Up or When I Wake Up or Will Someone Please Wake Me Up. To be honest I just started it. It’s for my book club. Some lady with amnesia or something,”I said.
“Amnesia, huh?” he said, and we both took a minute to think about what it would be like to have that particular affliction. Would that also be ‘cool’? Or would it be painful and punishing to maybe not remember who we even were or what we were doing paused in the middle of Rte. 38 there.
If he had amnesia he might forget that he was 26 years old and liked to chew gum. If I had amnesia I might forget that I was his age in reverse and now have pretty little spider-vein ‘bracelet ringed around both ankles.
But we didn’t have amnesia. We knew who we were and where we were, and he especially knew that the best days are of the ones where you have just enough high spirits left over to take on even the grumpiest-looking fellow citizens.