The air conditioner on my less than vintage 1993 Pontiac Bonneville doesn’t. Actually it does . . . condition the air, that is; but for wintertime, not Georgia summer. So I cool off in the car the old fashioned way by rolling down the windows. The electric windows do work on the “old man mobile,” as the car has been dubbed by my children. With the windows down and cruising at 65 mph, one can enjoy the full effect of 95% humidity in Middle Georgia.
My children will not ride in the car. “It smells bad, It’s ugly, it doesn’t have air conditioning,” they say. They’re right about the smell and the air conditioning. I always liked the lines of the old beast. And the smell is quite bearable at 65 mph on the Interstate with the warm and humid air streaming in and the radio blasting through the one remaining speaker that isn’t cracked.
It’s a 30 minute drive from AlphaGraphics to home in Perry. The strategy is simple. Hit the Interstate and cruise. It works most days, but not today. Today was Monday. I could tell that it was Monday even early this morning, when no one showed up for the 8:00 am morning meeting but me. Monday struck again when I looked at the brochure that one of our pressmen struggled with for half a day on Saturday. It was supposed to be gray. Instead it was blue on one side and purple on the other. Monday occurred again on the wide format printer, which managed to turn a very deep black into chocolate brown. And Monday lambasted me on the way home.
It’s not unusual to encounter Georgia State Patrol cars on the medians as one drives south on I-75. At certain times of the year, they undertake revenue enhancement on behalf of Govnah Sunny, who has actually run a pretty tight financial ship during his tenure in office. Today they were out in force, positioned at almost every mile marker between Warner Robins and Perry.
“Something’s up,” I thought, but it really wasn’t a problem for me. You can’t speed in the Bonneville with the windows open, no matter how hard you may try. The noise is prohibitive and it really just doesn’t want to go that fast. And if you move too fast, the air in the car cools down just enough for clouds to form and it rains in the back seat, which explains both the interesting fungi and the smell.
I knew it was Monday once again when I pulled off at the Perry Exit and was stopped on the ramp by another State Patrol car. An assault helicopter circled above as we came to a dead stop. I could see another patrol car on the other side of the bridge. They had cordoned off the exit, and I was stuck in the cordon.
A newer model Chevrolet pulled up next to me with a younger woman driving. She had the windows down, too. She looked at me and I at her and we both shrugged. “AC broken?” I asked.
“Nope,” she replied. “Just about out of gas. What’s going on?”
The speaker on the patrol car ahead of us barked, “We’ve got him at the convenience store.”
“Manhunt,” I yelled through the window. “Must be somebody really dangerous to shut down the exit like this. You might want to roll up your window and lock your doors.”
“Nobody’s that dangerous,” she replied. I agreed.
We sat and sweated for 5 minutes or so. I decided to call Beautiful Wife, who usually knows mostly everything that’s going on. “Oh, no!” said Beautiful Wife, “it’s not a manhunt, it’s Cheney. He’s going to eat with the Davidsons.” She commiserated with me briefly and explained that a wealthy couple outside of town was hosting the VP for a dinner and soiree this evening. The VP’s route would probably take him past my exit, explaining why I was sweltering in the Pontiac and the young lady next to me was wondering whether she had enough gas to get to the station when she cranked her car once again.
Then we spotted the entourage. A group of large, black SUV’s with illegally tinted windows. It was either Cheney or the leader of one of the United Arab Emirates. Either way, they certainly were not concerned with fuel prices or oil shortages. There wasn’t a car in the entourage that would get over 10 mpg.
Somewhere in one of the ponderous black monstrosities sat Vice President Cheney in cool air conditioning and probably sipping an iced beverage. I was underwhelmed. The young lady in the Chevrolet wasn’t impressed either.
“I’m voting for Obama,” she yelled through the window as she moved up the hill towards the gas station.
“Monday,” I thought, and headed for home, hoping beyond hope that it was over. I didn’t here the whine until the last intersection before my street. The truck zoomed past, fogging me with malathion through the open windows of the Bonneville. I reminded myself that I’ve given up cussing, said a short prayer, and rolled up the windows. The temperature immediately rose another 10 degrees and it started raining in the back seat as I drove in the fog behind the pesticide truck up my street and pulled into my driveway.
The fog settled as I opened the car door and I realized that the combination of pesticide and heat was causing me to hallucinate. I was seeing Vice President Cheney’s motorcade once again and driving in front of the largest SUV was the malathion truck, fogging away.
Happy Monday, Vice President Cheney!