Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Croissants...OF INTRIGUE!

My car broke down yesterday. Ironically, I was picking up Mrs. Mosley from work to take her to the mechanic to pick up her car, which had just gotten repaired itself to the tune of over $700. So this is shaping up a crappy week in general.

It also reminds me one of my biggest anxieties: Automobile trouble. Specifically, I dread going to the mechanic and being told it will cost a ridiculous amount of money to fix my car. I've been burned once by less-than-scrupulous mechanics, and so I'm very wary. It's not that the car breaks down a lot, or that I don't trust the garage we started going to nearby the house we bought, but the anxiety pervades.

I often fantasize about a life without an automobile. Currently, I live in Jacksonville, which is so spread out that you simply cannot get by without a car. Perhaps one day we could move to a small village in Europe where everyone rides bikes or walks. The town square would be the center of everything and where all the shops are. My wife and I could go to the cafe where I would drink coffee and read the paper while she enjoyed a pastry and her book. There would be no cars to watch, just the local villagers who would walk by and say hello to us as they passed.

Then, suddenly, from out of nowhere, the Nazis strike! Soldiers emerge out of doorways and spray the villagers with machine gun fire while we duck for cover behind overturned tables. A captain barks orders at his men to round up the survivors into the cafe and hold them there. A tank lumbers into view on the other side of the square with an SS officer standing up inside the turret. It comes to a stop facing the cafe and the officer climbs out to address the people inside.

"This village is now in the possession of the Third Reich," he shouts. "You will be shortly..."

The sound of something being thrown interrupts him, followed by the clanking of something metal falling into the turret. Flames shoot out of the opening and the screaming of the driver can be heard from inside. Molotov cocktails fill the air from second floor windows and the soldiers are quickly running for cover. The SS officer orders his men to approach the buildings as he removes his service pistol and leads them into the fray. More resistance fighters with their own machine guns empty out of buildings on the opposite side of the square. They kill most of the Germans before they can turn around and retaliate. The few who survive immediately put their hands up in surrender.

A cheer rises up from the villagers as the cafe owner opens several bottles of wine and passes glasses around to everyone for a toast. We have survived yet another day. 

On second thought, maybe a little car trouble is not all that bad. 

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