I don’t mind heavy traffic, as long as I have something to snack on. Such as M&M’s, or boiled peanuts.
I have neither.
So, I’m turning the radio on. I don’t recognize modern music these days. Some of it sounds like two lawnmowers engaging in immoral behavior. Radio off.
The car to my right is a group of teenagers. They’re playing on smartphones, the kid in the backseat is thumb-typing a novel. I smile at him.
He frowns back.
Up ahead, is a small Chevy truck. Fire-engine red. It’s a single cab, like all trucks were once—with a bench-seat. The young man driving has his girl beside him, sitting as close as she can. She leans on his shoulder. He plants a kiss on her lips.
My grandaddy would’ve remarked, “Looky there, she’s holding that poor fella up so he can drive.” Then, he’d wink and say, “Some things never change.”
The truth is, a lot has changed in this world. You can read the newspaper using one finger, and start cars with your thumbprint. You can flush your home toilet from a gas station in China using a smartphone. You can watch ballgames on your wristwatch from the International Space Station.
We’ve lost home-phones, console televisions. They chopped porches off house-fronts and put them out back. Nobody tinkers on cars in driveways—unless they have engineering degrees. And old men in overalls quit selling boiled peanuts.
Several weeks ago, a man parked his utility trailer at the end of our street. He must’ve been seventy or so. He started boiling peanuts beneath a big white umbrella. I was his first customer.
I bought a sack full.
While I paid him, a police cruiser pulled up. The deputy told the man he needed permits, and had to set up several miles outside town.
The man agreed to leave, and I agreed to buy the rest of his peanuts.
I’ll bet that old fella could tell you better than anyone: you can’t fight the times you live in. Everything keeps transforming into something bigger, leaner, meaner, tighter than before.
Even laws involving peanuts.
But to me, it doesn’t matter how much this world changes. I don’t care if society turns into horse hockey and they elect a rodeo clown to run the country. So help me, I don’t.
Because as long as we have little trucks with bench-seats, and young couples who use them for sitting too close, kissing during heavy traffic, for the entire world to see;
We haven’t lost a thing.
Not a thing.
robert martin - May 20, 2016 2:37 pm
I’m sick and damn tired of permits for every damn thing in the new world.
Martha Byrne - September 14, 2016 1:13 pm
I was absolutely loving it and feeling it until the end. I wish you had not said that you don’t care if we elect a clown for President. It does matter and I hope it doesn’t happen. In spite of that, I’m a huge fan. Thanks for sharing your wonderful prose.