My poor little Smart gets me a lot of attention.
It's kind of awkward.
At stop lights people stare and grin and wave at me, which is fine for the first 10 seconds; the remaining 20 seconds crawl by. What was once an exciting, new relationship full of hope and promise soon develops the all-too-familiar signs of wear-and-tear. Honeymoon period over, smiles get strained, waving hands get limp with fatigue, we find out that we have nothing in common, and lastly, we begin to avoid each other. A phone call? Tune the radio? Read an inane billboard? Do anything but spend time with each other.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it's over.
It has become so common for people to stare at me in my car (or perhaps more accurately, just my car) that I've finally stopped feeling like I've done something wrong.
Which is precisely when I began doing things that could be considered 'wrong'.
I got too comfortable.
I stopped noticing people noticing me, and went back to all the filthy habits people have while driving in their car
Singing along with the radio. Conducting symphonies with twinkles of my fingertips. Picking my teeth. Picking my . . .
. . .danger, Will Robinson. Danger.
Late one night, after dropping off my fiancee, I indulged in a quiet little bit of nose maintenance, wherein I removed something that I shouldn't have, and my nose began to bleed.
Disgusting, I nose; and now, quite urgent.
Tipping my head back, I looked for something to dam the crimson tide. A Kleenex Rick Schroeder, to borrow from the movie of the self-same name; or a little paper Dutchman.
I could feel the blood sticking its big toe into my moustache, and knew that something must be done, and quickly.
I did what I had to do, and stuck my finger back in my nose.
I stopped at a red light.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a vehicle come to rest beside me. I could feel eyes first on my car, then on me. In the silence of the night, above the rattle of the Smart's V3 diesel engine, gales of laughter mingled with the cold winter air.
My finger hung fast.
For the next 20 seconds my relationship with the passengers in car next to me would mirror Canadian/American relations. I showed either incredible pluck, or vain stupidity, and continued to press my finger into my nose; they would look on with disbelief, humour, and quiet superiority.
And I would pretend that no blood was shed, and that nothing was wrong, and everything was perfectly normal.