Winter is coming.
The mornings have a little bite to them. The shadows are getting longer earlier. A few days ago the elm over the driveway dumped half of its leaves in the time it took me to get from the car door to the side door of the house. Tuesday it rained 8 inches in as many hours. Squirrels are burying and reburying nuts at such a dizzying pace that the dog tires himself out just watching them. School is back in session. And the White Walkers are getting closer as Donald Lannister and his minions seem hell bent on ramming through Brett “Littlefinger’s” appointment to the Supreme Court.
Melancholy to see summer go and somewhere at the crossroads of depressed, terrified and borderline suicidal that Trump is performing more unnatural acts on our Democracy than he has on Russian prostitutes and Jeff Sessions, I did what husbands do. I took the Subaru to the mechanic. The tread on all four tires bore a striking resemblance to Howie Mandel’s head, a condition not well suited for a New York winter.
As I waited in the driveway at the auto shop, a big flatbed pulled up, stacked with bales of hay. A guy with a massive bushy beard gave me a little wave through the open window. Never one to miss life’s little gifts, I shouted a long drawn out “HEEEEEY!” with great flourish. He gave me a second wave and said “hey” back.
“Steve in?” he asked.
“HEY.” I bellowed into the garage. “Steve. You have a customer.”
Steve came out and quietly said “Hey.”
“Hey,” the bearded guy said.
“HEY” I added enthusiastically, waiting for someone, anyone to join in.
I have always warned my kids that it is never a good sign if you are the only one laughing. So I headed to the local coffee shop about ¼ of a mile away. When I made it to the corner of the lot, I saw the driver of the flatbed truck with all those bales, park and walk toward the coffee shop.
“HEY,” I shouted, perhaps just a touch desperately.
He looked up and waved. He told me if he had known I was walking to the shop he would have given me a lift.
“Heeeeeey,” I crooned. “Don’t worry about it.”
I worked on my laptop and nursed my coffee at a corner table, stealing glances at the truck and its bales of wasted comedic potential. Happily entertaining myself, I said “hey” to anyone who walked through the door. Even in the wake of a national Kavenaugh-scopy, it’s the lifelines of a good gag that can get you through a winter of discontent.
A couple of hours later, I walked back to the shop and picked up the Outback. The flatbed was parked next to me. Steve came out to settle up. I told him the wheels looked as if they could tackle Everest. Leaning against the flatbed like a wink from the Universe, he said, “hey, they’ll get you through winter.”