Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Best Things in Life are Free

No, that's not true. Personally, I think the best things in life are odd, the "best" aspect deriving from the circumstance when you share your life with someone who has a similar relish for oddity. That is what binds you, when you discover that someone you are ready and willing to like to the point of improbable devotion is bent in just the same way you are.

I'm not talking here about the more colorful perversions, leather, games of Rumsfeld and Camilla, etc. They have too much dash to be odd. I am talking about a true peculiarity, the shared beauty of watching the odometer on a car "turn over," as they used to call it, arrive at 100,000 miles and out the other side, having made its way through all the permutations its tumblers afforded and starting over again, fresh as a lie.

All those beautiful zeros, five of them: 00000

Unfortunately -- and I would even say dishonestly; you ever seen a million-mile car? -- all these new cars are boastful, with six digits on the odometer, as if the car would run forever. And so it is with our old van. But even though we resent the nasty "1" that still remains, which turns hitting 100,000 into something literal and devoid of promise, I'm saying that to me and my wife: We don't even see that "1." It's not there. It's morning in America.

I take thee at thy word: Call me but love,
and I'll be new baptized; Henceforth
I never will be Romeo.

Which doesn't exactly, or even approximately, apply, but you get the idea. One hundred thousand miles on the odometer? New baptized.

For sure, my wife and I have been planning for the day the odometer turned for weeks now. We planned carefully. We determined distances, arranged schedules. When the moment came -- "I think it's time, dear; call the mechanic" -- we made sure we were on a surface street, so I could capture the precious instant, as you see above.

It's a landmark, better than an anniversary, rare, to a degree befuddling since no sensible person would find such pleasure not only in noting it but in sharing it, in so carefully planning to share it.

We very nearly clapped our hands together with glee when it happened. Love is many things. One of those things is a mirror.

No comments: