Part One: Bright Lights, Small City
A while back The Wife got accepted into some important program that requires her to spend three days in Jefferson City every couple of months. The latest installment took place last Wednesday-Friday. It happened to coincide with The Son’s spring break and I also was off from work on Thursday and Friday so I took a vacation day on Wednesday so the three of us could spend spring break at our state capitol.
But that’s OK. I’ve never had the traditional hedonistic spring break in party town. In fact, the only previous time I ever left home over a spring break was when I went to Washington D.C. with three carloads of young Presbyterians. I got to see dinosaurs for the first time and met my wife, so I’m not complaining.
Since our cars are old and decrepid and we can’t afford new ones, we rented a car. It was a nice Ford Focus — a little small for three people to use all the time but good enough for a short trip. It had more buttons than any vehicle needs. There were a dozen just on the steering wheel. It’s clear that I will never again own a new car. I quit playing video games when the controllers got too complicated.
We left St. Charles around 6:30 p.m. for the two-hour drive to the Fairfield Inn. As the sun began to set I began to wonder how to turn on the headlights. “It looks like the lights are on,” The Wife says. “On my mom’s car the lights come on automatically.”
Is there anything modern cars can’t do?
We got off I-70 for the final 30 miles into town. Some idiot gets behind us with his brights on. I slow down so he’ll go around us. He slows down. Great. Serial killer. I start to speed up. He turns his flashing lights on. Great. Cop. What did I do now?
“This isn’t your car, is it?”
“No sir, it’s a rental.”
“Your lights aren’t on.”
I fiddle with some buttons. He seems confident things are fine. I drive off. He waits a bit. He turns his flashing lights on. “Your tail lights aren’t on.” This time he fiddles with some buttons. Lights! We thank the nice gentlemen and complete our journey.
Tomorrow: Three Days in Jeff City in 500 words or less. Probably less.