Adirondack Chair Calamity

I promised myself I wouldn’t post again until I could post about something other than my knee, but sadly, I’ve got nothing. My knee still rules. I am its simpering bitch. I pamper it, strengthen it, bend it, medicate it, hydrate it, coddle it. Curse it behind its back.

Here in Minnesota we are breathing in the first of spring – with great inhalations of relief, we are greedy for the smell of green – sweet, sweet chlorophyll. This week has been but a string of days that feel like sun-kissed gifts from Mother Nature. I have taken to sitting in my adirondack chair in front of my house in the afternoons. I feel like a proper invalid from the olden days taking my fresh air, my sun, my constitutionals – minus the white blanket, the buxom nurse and the Swiss Alps in the foreground. I am a feeble convalescent – outside of everything – nothing more than a passive bystander as an orgy of bipedal existence flaunts itself in front of my eyes.

I sit in my chair, my crutches glinting in the grass beside me, and I watch Devil Baby ride her tricycle on the sidewalk. We amuse ourselves by creating elaborate dinners, with her riding her tricycle to the little tree to get each ingredient. Yesterday she went to the “lake” and caught some fish, which I cleaned and breaded and fried in a cast iron skillet. Then she raced off to the little tree to buy blueberries. Then back to get spinach, carrots, cream for the berries, sea salt, a baguette. She is a tireless food shopper. It’s a game – part charades, part pretend, part fetch.

As she pedals away, her little blue rain boots pushing like mechanical pistons, I slip into one of my infamous calamitizations – my reveries of doom. I imagine a rusty van stopping and someone jumping out to pluck my Devil Baby off her red tricycle. What would I do? Normally, I envision leaping out of my chair and running like the bionic woman until I catch the van – my reflexes so cat-like that they wouldn’t have gotten far. I lunge and grab hold of the side of the van, working my arms into an open window while the culprit tries to shake me off, thwacking my legs against the side of the van like a rag doll. I rip off the rear view mirror and bludgeon the driver in the face until he swerves, swearing and crying, and hits a tree. I am thrown from the van, but I jump up and grab Devil Baby from the floor of the back seat, collapsing into the grass. I cradle her, a trickle of blood snaking down my temple, as the camera zooms out and the music swells. Cue the distant sirens.

But now, NOW, I’m on crutches and I won’t be able to leap out of my chair and put the smack down. Now, I must rely on my wits, my keen eyesight. I, who couldn’t tell you the make of most of my friends’ cars if you offered me a million dollars, will have to get my shit together and start to identify all those amorphous sedans and suvs with the precision of a trained detective. 1997 Buick Lesabre. Sage-mist metalic. The brake rotors are shot, passenger side wiper stuck at 30 degrees, I will rattle off through gritted teeth. Crucial, above all, I must memorize the license plate number. Gotta get those plates. Suddenly, it feels irresponsible to be sitting outside alone with Devil Baby and no cell phone. So exposed, helpless. I know every second is critical.

Tick. Tick.

I decide to practice.

Devil Baby is buying a peach pie at the little tree. A maroon minivan snakes by, a bit too slowly for my taste. Downright predatory. Soccer ball decal in the window. Check. I squint into the sun and – Mother Mary – I can’t make out the license plate! I can’t even read it, let alone memorize it, let alone make a lightening quick phone call to alert the authorities so they put out an APB and smack a tail on that van faster than you can say crazy.

So I put my head back and close my eyes, the sun thumbing dancing sparks against my eyelids. I take a deep breath and wait for my peach pie.

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