Roll Down the Window

The rental smelled like a cheap hotel room – a cross between stale smoke and disinfectant. A tin can of a car; a shoe box; a way to get around town for $22 a day.

To my ear, “Kia Rio” sounds more like a state lottery than something you should transport your children in, but we drove it all weekend and are no worse for the experience.

When David’s car suddenly slipped out of gear on Northwestern Highway late Wednesday, it was clear we wouldn’t be driving the Nissan for a few days.

It was a retro, high school driving experience. A feather of an engine. Manual door locks. We rolled down the windows in the balmy 40 degree weather. Really. Rolled them down, just like in the ’80s.

“How do I open this?” Josh asked from the back seat.

“It’s that lever,” I explained. “The thing with the circle on the end.”

He tried pushing it with his finger, but nothing happened.

“No,” I said. “Turn it.”

Again, no luck.

I glanced back. “The other way. Push the handle away from you.”

And suddenly the cool air came rushing in.

I had to tell the boys to lock the doors before closing them when we parked. And there was a moment when I remembered a bit of driver’s etiquette that I had tucked away for decades: Always unlock your passenger’s door first. Then go around to your side.

“Mommy, is this car very old?” Josh asked.

“No,” I replied. “Just cheap.”

But it did the job, and kept us moving.

And on a busy weekend, one week post-bat mitzvah, as we wake back up to the activities of our normal lives, a brief glance backward isn’t a bad thing.


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