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When you realize, halfway to work, that you’re wearing two different shoes and you’ve forgotten your I.D. badge, what do you do?

In my case, I soldiered on, knowing I’d look like an utter doofus and have my bag searched at the building entrance. I figured I’d rather be on time and look like a stooge than be late, but reasonably together. Then, I ran home on my lunch break and got a proper pair of shoes on, and had a quick lunch.

I was thinking of girlpop today…the Bangles’ Manic Monday, of course, of course, and Sheryl Crowe’s “All I Wanna Do.”

I do a lot of things during my lunch hour, ride my bike for stress relief, run errands, go to the park and read, dash home to pick up something I forgot, or eat lunch and check my mail…but I can’t feature using my lunch hour to wash a car. I’m sure part of this is because I never drive my car to work, and part of this is because I almost never wash my car. My car, for the sake of simplicity, is my sister’s old 1992 Jetta, a teal number with a dent in every side, fading, puckering window-tint film, and about 70% of the ground-FX trim fallen off. It’s a patently skuzzy little car, and I kind of prefer it that way. Then, I don’t feel at all bad for hauling gardening supplies or bicycles in the back seat, for using it as a step to get up into the carport rafters, or leaving the doors unlocked when I am running errands. Because there’s shit all to steal out of it, and it’s so beaten up and scruffy that any damage anyone might inflict on it will not materially lower its value (unless it gets smushed by a semi or a hummer, which I really hope doesn’t happen.)  I feel that its ambient state of filth helps increase its hoopty appeal, and hoopty appeal decreases the likelihood that anyone will jack around with it.

I used to have a 1959 VW, which I took better care of than I do the Jetta. Technically, I still have my ’59, but it’s been in Nebraska, at my parents’ place, awaiting a paint job, for something like going on 4 years. Theoretically, I’ve owned this car since, I think, 1994, but in the 12-ish years I’ve owned it, it’s probably been in actual use for maybe 4 years total. My senior year of highschool, occasionally used in college, and driven semi-regularly the first year we got back from the UK. When I was in college, I started bike commuting, because Chadron’s such a small town, it’s not worth starting your car to go anywhere there…you can walk it or bike it most of the time, unless you’re hauling some major cargo with you. I had jobs in town for three of the four years I was at college, and I’d just hop on my bike and pedal on over to wherever I was working. In fact, the day I had my epiphany that I was actually a real, live adult was the day I was unchaining my bike from the back fence, getting ready to go to my job at the Westerner motel, and thinking of the errands I was going to run after work. I remember thinking, “holy crap…I’m doing it…I’ve got my own apartment, paying for my own food, managing my own schedule…hot dang, I’m a grownup!” And that was pretty cool, because I’m a big fan of calling my own shots.

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