Wild Thing and I were walking the dog the other day and we’d just turned off the main road when a car made the same turn. We moved to the side of the road, stood in the weeds, and corralled the dog so that she did the same. She’s convinced that if her nose is out of the way, that takes care of the problem.
The car passed. The driver waved. We waved and moved back onto the road.
Then another car came past. That’s roughly two cars more than we usually see on this stretch of road.
“So much traffic!” Wild Thing said.
You need a little background here.
First, what I just called the main road? It has two lanes, goes from no place in particular to no place else in particular (I’m going to catch hell for saying that), and no one’s even bothered to give it a name or a number. That’s why I call it the main road. What else am I going to call it? Marlena? Suzette? It’s as main a road as the village has. Everything else is even smaller.
Second, Wild Thing and I are both New Yorkers. I was born and raised there and she lived there for ten years. So it’s not that we’ve never lived with traffic. But human beings are adaptable. When I lived in Minnesota, I noticed that 40 degrees F. was cold in the fall and the most blissful warmth in the spring. So we’ve adapted. Two cars in a single day on the road past the ford? In the off season, when the emmits have gone home? Outrageous!
And we’re not the only ones who resent seeing two cars in a row. Someone who shall not be named, nay, not even by initial (okay, I’ve forgotten who it was), set out a Road Closed sign on one of the back roads. For years. Long after whatever was once wrong (if anything ever was) had been fixed. He didn’t like the traffic.
The locals all knew to drive past it, and when I became a local I taught myself to do the same, although the first time expected to find that the ford (this is a different ford) had risen out of control; that a downed tree had left the power lines sprawled across the road; that a herd of wild elephants had set up camp by the ford and were scavenging downed limbs for firewood. Even though I knew better.
In one version of the story—and no story in the village has only one version—he got tired of people with long vehicles taking the road and getting stuck at the ninety-degree bend where the road narrows down. In another version, a delivery truck got stuck and its cargo had to be off-loaded onto a smaller truck. In a third version, the company kept sending big trucks and they all got stuck—one, two, three pretty trucks, all with the same logo and all stuck where the road bends. It’s a wonderful image. Sadly, it’s the least likely of the versions. A single truck could get stuck there if it was long enough, but by getting stuck it would sacrifice itself for its fellow trucks, who’d have to back up a long way and then cross the ford backward before backing up some more, but they wouldn’t be stuck. That’s village gossip for you. Whatever story you hear, you have to figure it’s related to something real, but you can’t necessarily tell what the relationship is.
Anyway, it’s the off season here in the village, and the traffic’s horrendous. If you were thinking of visiting, wait till it calms down a bit.