Sunday, August 08, 2010

Driving with the windows down

Yesterday Gary and I had to run an errand in a nearby town. It was at the end of a five day stretch of doing the "VBS thing". The boys really threw themselves into it and were exhausted, so they'd stayed home to recuperate. I had been in charge of games and my knee (which has given me problems in an on again, off-again fashion since stepping in a hole while mowing three years ago) was swollen and aching from a week of twisting, bending, and dashing from one place to another. So I didn't really want to go either, but this was one of those errands that required my attention. But yesterday was my birthday and I was with my favorite person and he was (as usual) spoiling me as much as possible, so I didn't really mind all that much.

We ran our errand and stopped at Wal Mart to buy a new tent for our upcoming annual camping trip. Sam is tagging along this time and he'll be using the other "good tent". We also treated ourselves to a new air mattress (and battery powered pump) so Sam can have the older mattress. There's got to be some reward in choosing to hang out in the heat with your parents for two days instead of staying home in the air conditioning.

The windows were down, and the wind in our face, billowing through the car, creating a pleasant white noise. I had my hand on the roof, snagging air currents with my palm. Spirits were high, conversation was flowing, but it was light and bantering as is our style when we're both feeling good, so neither of us were paying very close attention to details.

"Did you hear about the problems they're having with wildflowers in Russia?" asked Gary over the rushing air.

"No. I missed that one. Is it that they don't have any?" I asked.

"Uh. No. They're having trouble controlling them."

As a woman who occasionally skips mowing broad swaths of her yard because she likes the wildflowers growing there, I confess I was having trouble understanding the problem.

"Controlling them?" I wrote the story in my head as I pictured plants akin to Daisies, Black-eyed Susans, Jewel weed, Blue Bells, and Indian Paint brush on the rampage, overwhelming fields and yards, growing through the cracks in the cobblestones. 

A riot of color invaded, unwanted, every corner of the country and town. 

"Yeah. Mostly in the countryside. It's not too bad in the cities yet, but the people there are starting to have trouble breathing."

Still distracted by the images of marauding flowers, I pondered what the pollen count would have to be to attract the attention of the national media. Yellow dust everywhere--in the air, on people's clothing, blotting out the sun, coating buildings in an unholy gold . . .

"So what are they doing about it?" I asked.

"The usual things. Digging trenches to keep them from spreading. Pouring water on them from above. But they haven't had a lot of success with it."

Men in dust masks working to save entire villages from rampant allergies. Flying over the fields pouring . . . water on them in an effort to . . .  

A tiny floating question mark drifted across my mental horizon. "Pouring water on them?"

"Yeah. You know. From helicopters."

"Wouldn't they have more luck with herbicides?"

He looked at me strangely out of the corner of his eye. "Nooo . . . "

Wait. Wait. Wait. 

I replayed the conversation from the beginning.

Oh lord.

Swallowing my pride and embarrassment, I asked in a small voice, "Honey. Did you say wildflowers or wildfires?"

"Wildfires. I was talking about fires." After just a second, he started to laugh. "You thought I was talking about wildflowers?"

"Yeah. Out of control. Taking over the countryside. Filling the air with pollen." I laughed too.

"Oh, Mary. You've got to blog about this," he said, for probably the first time since I've started keeping one.

He was still chuckling over the misunderstanding this morning when he retold the conversation to Jeremiah. "The funniest part of it," he said, "Was seeing it from your mother's point of view before she understood what I meant." And he elaborated on the story that had been unfolding in my mind.

Bless him for appreciating my peculiar take on things. So few do. To quote something he sometimes says to me, "Nobody else understands me the way you do.You get me, you really get me."


jeanie said...


It sounds as if you had a wonderful birthday drive - nothing like the wind in your hair!!

Scotty said...

Hehe, and belated birthday wishes too.


Ro said...

Belated birthday wishes xxxx
LOL @ the mistake ;)

Debby said...

LOL. And happy birthday, too!

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous. Heehee. Sorry about your knee, by the way - healing vibes to you.

Mary O. Paddock said...

I did, Jeanie. Thanks.

Thank you Scotty.

RO--Thank you. I'm just glad it wasn't a serious topic. :)


RH--Good to see you. Thanks for the healing vibes. I can use them.