A $5 case of soft peaches and $8 of firm golden plums, cleverly disguised as stackable objects.
On Wednesday, Pete and I barged into Motor Vehicle Services with stacks of documents and bad attitudes. We paid $5 each for learners permits, but Pete hadn’t cracked the motorcycle manual by then, so this morning, we got up at the crack of 7 and found ourselves standing in the MVS parking lot at 7:50 with about fifty of our closest friends who also thought the place opened at 7:30. The woman minding line 11 didn’t smile, didn’t explain much, but pointed me at station 5. Last time I took a license test we did it on paper. Now, you press a touch pad button, sometimes five or so times before it registers, and the monitor tells you whether or not you’re an idiot. The questions can actually seem blindingly stupid, like What sobers up a drunk?
and for the most part the test plays it straight. I’d be hard pressed to write an answer sheet that didn’t include such options as Your teenage daughter holding a pregnancy test
or Six months in county
, but the test rewards you for knowing that coffee doesn’t cut through a bender. CORRECT!
it says. When I got one wrong, I sensed its disappointment. I went on, but things had changed between us. We were both older and wiser. Out of 30 questions, I missed two and marched straight back to line 11, where the woman administered an eye test to me, then Pete. Finally she smiled and pointed at Pete, “You did better than he did, don’t let him fool you!” He’d already told me, so we were jake, but for the first time in an MVS branch I was laughing.
Tata: I can’t wait to be a little old lady rocking a Vespa.
Woman: A Vespa!
Tata: I really really want that!
A few hours later, I went to the massage therapist for agony and conversation about compound butter, then Pete and I walked around the farmers market, where I found a case of soft peaches parked on the side of one vendor’s table like an afterthought. It’s my goal to get something into jars every week, I saw that case of bruised peaches as a whole winter’s worth of our favorite barbecue sauce. Pete groaned as I dropped that case into our little red wagon, but we also picked up some nice raspberries and golden plums. For the next five hours, Pete and I made and jarred peach barbecue sauce and plum chutney. This could sound frivolous, but it isn’t: in December, January, February and March, the difference for us between winter misery and happiness is often opening a jar of June, July and August.
This morning’s test seems like weeks ago. My hands feel too far away to type. Pete’s speaking in tongues – either that or he wants to get up early tomorrow and make bread dough. I may sleep thought that.
I hope I sleep through that.