"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, April 01, 2011

My $100 Car Wash

No, that's not an April Fool's Day joke.

Yesterday didn't exactly turn out as expected. It started out properly, with a drive to a church in a village west of Concord for a conference call. After a couple of hours, I hopped in my car and headed for Concord to photograph the big Anti-Budget Bill rally at the State House. All along the way, the Author-mobile was making a strange noise, which increased in volume if I accelerated to 40 or above. By some miracle I'd decided not to take the Interstate, because I wanted to avoid the closed streets and traffic glitches around the capitol. That turned out to be a good decision, because the speed limit on the back road was no more than 40--which is all I could comfortably do.

I knew the Chap was attending a Senate hearing. So I headed for the Diocesan office and parked there--not realising that it was reserved parking for clergy attending the rally. But there was nowhere else for me to go. I left phone messages on all the Chap's phones and emailed him. When his hearing ended he came over to the office and we figured out that I should phone Mercedes dealer (which I'd done) and Roadside Assistance for towing to Manchester. We further decided that I should accompany the Author-mobile because the dealership said they'd give me a loaner. The Chap headed for his office, and I waited for the flatbed--reading Reps Hall Tweets on the budget debate and from the rally only a block and a half away from where I sat.

The truck arrived about the time the scheduled speakers at the rally had finished.

I learned that cars will make way for a big flatbed truck, even in the middle of a massive traffic jam. Nonetheless, it took quite some time to work our way through the jam of cars and pedestrians to the highway.

Here are some the photos I managed to shoot--from the cab of the big truck.

An amazing number of citizens made a huge effort to participate in the rally, presenting themselves as living, still-breathing representatives of those will suffer the draconian changes.

Why so many wheelchairs? The budget makes severe (and in the view of many, morally unjustifiable) cuts to the social services for the disabled, the impoverished, the mentally ill, and so many other segments of our population who simply have nowhere else to turn. Also, it eliminates the Council on the Arts (which receives very little funding at all) and the Consumer Protection Bureau, de-funds Public Television, and virtually abolishes union rights, and heaven only knows what else. The Governor denounced it, and hopes to work with the Senate to restore as many of the cuts as possible. Fingers crossed wiser, more pragmatic heads will prevail. Because the inevitable downshifting of costs to the local taxpayers means nobody will gain by the House's deplorable actions.

Back to my adventure. The truck driver was nice, he delivered me and my auto to the dealership service department without incident. They were able to deal with my vehicle pretty quickly. I had my laptop, so settled down in the luxe customer lounge to keep up with tweets and live bloggers. (The unofficial part of the rally--and the budget debate--was ongoing.)

The best mechanic hooked up my car to his diagnostic computers, and eventually it received a completely clean bill of health. No problems. I paid my $100 and considered it worthwhile because I not only had peace of mind, I also had a brilliantly clean vehicle. As usual, they gave it a good wash. Probably because they were afraid to touch it in it's natural filthy state, this being mud season and all.)

Thus my $100 car wash.

I was home in good time to watch television coverage of the State House events. There were between 5000 and 6000 at the rally, according to city officials.

Twenty-four hours ago, this is the amount of snow we had on the big deck.

Today, it looks like this.

That's no April Fool's joke either. We're having an honest-to-goodness spring Nor'easter today. I cancelled brunch with a Seacoast friend and stayed inside watching snow fall. In April!

An active weekend will make up for being Lodge-bound today.

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