Noilly Prattle: Let me bore you with this story...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Let me bore you with this story...

Coming Home 

I'm going home today.

Where did this bad dream begin?
     Where did this bad dream all begin? 

       It was dark. Somewhere, somehow I was aware of sentient thoughts discussing a nebulous concept. The male said: “The one we rented on our last trip was great on mileage.” “Yes, it was, and I like the design, too,” said the female. “Me, too, he said, “why don't we go to the showroom and have a look?”

       Shortly thereafter I began to develop according to the specifications the sentients had decided on: a beautiful coat of lustrous metallic Navy blue enamel, aluminum wheels, white and black leather seats with a red stripe, GPS navigation and USB sound system, automatic windshield wipers and headlights, idling stop—the works. That nebulous concept I had become aware of coalesced into an automobile and I first saw the light of day when I was delivered to the showroom where my sentients came and drove me away for the first time.

       The male sat behind my steering wheel and I could sense that he wasn't used to me and rather overly cautiously, I thought, crept out of the lot into the traffic. He was obviously unfamiliar with my GPS navigation system and turned the wrong way at the first intersection. But I patiently advised him to turn around and start again. He said: “She sure is calm and collected, doesn't get frustrated or sarcastic when you make a mistake!” That was the first time I was referred to as “she”. It was because I spoke to my sentients with a female voice. And so, they drove me to my new home and parked me in my own garage and admired how nice I looked in it. My motor purred like a four-legged sentient called a “kitten” they said.

       As they struggled with the new technology, I learned that my sentients were called “humans”. In a fit of frustration the man said: “What the fuck! I thought I was buying a new car, not a whole new computer!” The woman said: “I don't understand this manual at all!” “Well, I can't even read it, it's in Japanese!” he said. “I can read the words, but the technical stuff doesn't mean anything to me. It might as well be in Greek!” she retorted. I learned, little by little, that their names were Aya and Jude, and that they certainly weren't always as calm and serene as I am.

       Aya and Jude came often to try and figure out my navigation system. They would sit in my front seats, she with the manual and he trying to figure out what she was talking about while fiddling with the buttons and dials. “There are different ways to program it,” she would say pouring over the manual. “You can input addresses, telephone numbers, geographical coordinates; you can even talk to it.” Talking to me is a little tricky, though, since my program requires the use of a few basic code words. At first, they mostly entered telephone numbers on my numerical touch pad. Little by little they struggled until finally they felt reasonably confident that they could use me for a long trip. So, the day came when we drove off for the far north of Japan, the big island of Hokkaido.

parked in the Japan alps
junk food stop
       It took seven days, averaging around 300 kilometers a day, to drive the length of the main island of Honshu, stopping for the night at nice hot spring inns alternating with budget hotels. Jude and Aya stopped here and there to visit shrines and temples during the day while I rested in the parking lot and waited for them to get back on the road. Jude had said the road trip was to try me out and break in my new engine and other moving parts. Sometimes they would chat and reminisce while driving along the highway at what felt like exhilarating speeds of 100/kph and sometimes more. They were talking about me one day. “The way the GPS speaks so politely and patiently with a woman's voice, we should give her a name”. Jude said: “Let's call her 'Demio' after the car model. No, that's a man's name, how about 'Demia'?” Aya said: “How about just plain “Demi”? Jude said: “Yeah, like the actress Demi Moore. OK, Demi she is!” Another time, they were talking about their “son” growing up and learning to walk and run and ride a bicycle. I thought to myself, “Why, that's what I'm doing, too, learning to run and growing up...with my parents.”

ferry boat
       One morning we came to a place where the road ended and I couldn't go any further. Jude drove me to a big parking area near “water” and left me in a line with many other automobiles like me. Later, Aya and Jude came back and put a piece of paper on my dashboard in front of the windshield. Then they sat down, opened my windows for “fresh air”, and waited. Soon, the other automobiles began to move and when it was my turn I followed them towards a huge opening in the side of a very big white object floating on the water called a “ferry boat” . Jude drove me into the opening and parked me with the other automobiles, turned me off and left me there. It was dark. Some time later another opening, light flooding in again. Aya and Jude came, got in and we drove through the opening in the side of the ferry into the light and onto the road again. It was my first “boat ride”.

nothing serious
cleaning up
       Jude and Aya stayed in a place called Niseko for a week. One day, after taking a “day trip”, they decided to stop for “ice cream”. As they were pulling into the parking lot, I heard a loud “bang” under my chassis. They heard it too because Jude swore: “What the hell was that?” We stopped and they got out and looked at me and around the area. Jude said: “Aha, look at this loose grate over the drainage ditch across the entrance. It must have bounced up and hit the bottom when we ran over it, but I don't see any obvious damage.” Aya said: “Well, we should call Xanadudu anyway and have the car checked, just in case.” So, we drove to a local garage associated with the insurance company the next day and the friendly mechanic found some scratches under my left side rocker panel and under the front cowl. “Nothing serious,” he said. I was pretty grimy from two weeks on the road so Jude and Aya took me to a car wash and cleaned me up and left me looking all shiny and new.

To be continued...

No comments: