If you’re ever in need of character inspiration, I suggest utilizing the local car dealership’s shuttle service. With the many adventures of Agatha, my broke-ass Explorer, I’ve taken advantage of this service often, and have been fortunate enough to meet a wide variety of fascinating individuals. Across the board, they’ve all been of retirement age and slight of build. Aside from that, they’ve been as diverse as Agatha’s plethora of issues.
There was the nut-brown gentleman who loved gospel music and loved bananas even more than that–but only as long as they were as withered and dark as he was. There was the grandfatherly man who had connections at the Holocaust museum in D.C. and insisted I hit him up for guaranteed tickets the next time I want to go. Today, though, was my absolute favorite. The slightest of them all, shoulder-level to my five-nine stature, he stood with a sloped back, oversized glasses and a high-and-tight haircut he has undoubtedly sported since his glory days in the Marines. Despite the large “No Smoking in Shuttle” sign affixed to the dash (which would have ended up embedded in my face in the event of an air bag deployment), the windows were coated with a thick film of nicotine, the air stale with tobacco. The grim set of his jaw and hardened eyes inspired me to call him, “Sir,” with each clipped question he shot in my direction. Aside from telling him the way to my house, the stilted conversation covered only the lack of skill of other drivers–this done as he called a metro bus picking up passengers a ‘bonehead’ and peeled out into the next lane and then swerved back just in time to make the turn onto my street. As I gratefully climbed out of the van, he told me to, “Keep them straight.” Despite my uncertainty as to who “they” were and why they needed straightening, I heartily agreed to do just that.
Agatha should be ready for pick-up this afternoon. As I’ve never had the same driver twice, I’m pretty excited to see what will be waiting behind the wheel this time.