I worked half of a day, then was dismissed to go frolic since there wasn’t any more work for me. Except I didn’t frolic. I took my squeaky car over to the mechanic to eradicate the squeak. There is no frolicking at car repair places. There are, however, tragic sagas, several of which I got to hear while I was camped out in the waiting room. Now you’re going to hear mine!

I described the sound my car was making, when he made the sound, and the approximate location of origin for the sound, handed over my keys, and settled down to wait. I was prepared: I had brought my lunch, and I had brought a book. What more could I want? I engrossed myself in the Poetic Edda for an hour, after which the mechanic, Earl (not making this up), came out and informed me that my camshaft position synchronizer was about to fail, which is apparently a common failing in Ford Tauruses. He could have said that I had a problem with my slithy momeraths being jabberwocked, and I would have had slightly more idea what he was talking about. I nodded and clucked my tongue in dismay at the lack of foresight on Ford’s part and then dared to insinuate that possibly I could just let this little problem ride. Earl informed me, in restrained yet horrified tones, that this camshaft position synchronizer could go AT ANY MOMENT, and then I would be stranded. He said I was lucky I came in when I did; I could have been stranded ANYWHERE. I’m pretty sure that this is what mechanics say every time, regardless of what is actually wrong with the car, and I’m also pretty sure there’s a mechanic training course on how to get just that heart-stopping tone of doom in their voices when discussing car problems with the customer. Next, Earl informed me that my fuel filter had never been replaced in the entire lifetime of my car, and by this time I should have been replacing my second one. I do know the basic purpose of a fuel filter, so I was able to nod more convincingly. Then he delicately alluded to the cost and time required to fix these little issues.

After calling my father to confirm that, yes, I really did need all of these things (though of course by that time I had forgotten the name for the thing that was squeaking, so my father received a very garbled account) and ascertaining that the price really was reasonable, even if it *looked* somewhat like highway robbery, I told the mechanic I would indeed get the momeraths replaced and yes, he could replace the fuel filter while he was at it. This process would take another two and a half hours, I was told.

I read for another hour, but really, even I can only take so much Icelandic mythology in one sitting. I told the guy at the desk that I was going to go for a walk, but I’d be back. I’m not entirely certain why I thought this would be a good idea; it was 95 degrees, ridiculously humid, and I was still in a skirt and 3-inch heels from work. I guess the rubber tire fumes were getting to me. I set out, not thinking to go very far at all, when I remembered there was a used bookstore not too far down the street. I strode more determinedly.

“Not too far down the street” turned out to be more like a mile and a half. My heels are actually pretty comfy, so I just walked in them for probably close to a mile, then I took them off and was walking barefoot. The sidewalk felt pretty hot, but it wasn’t terribly painful unless I was crossing a road. I finally made it to the bookstore, and I stood, glassy-eyed, in the scifi section for a few minutes just to cool down. After recovering somewhat, I had a thoroughly enjoyable browse and ended up getting The Screwtape Letters by Lewis and The Lost World by Doyle and having a lovely conversation with the owners of the shop.

I then squared my jaw, popped into the pizzeria next door for a cold drink, and began my trek back. Somewhere along the way I began to feel truly miserable, and cars started to slow down a bit as they passed me, as if afraid I was going to wobble into the road and pass out. I was going to make it, though! I had to rescue my car! I had new books! I trudged. The sidewalk was definitely starting to feel toasty, and I began walking in the thin strip of grass to the side. Abruptly I realized my feet were burning more than usual. Somehow I’d stepped right in a fire ant nest and not noticed it. I brushed off the furious little insects and tried the sidewalk again.

I only realized I was really out of it when a jogger got within five feet of me before I noticed him. I’m a pretty hyper-alert person most of the time, and so that was quite startling. My drink was long gone. I was cursing my stupidity, car repair shops, and used bookstores. I put my shoes back on and tried to wake myself up. By that time, I was quite close to the car place, but some concerned driver actually slowed way down and turned around in a road I had just crossed, presumably preparing to make a daring rescue before he saw me head into the repair shop.

I plunked down again in my little waiting room, after first perambulating (what I thought was) conspicuously past the front desk so they’d see that I was back. I felt pretty decent as soon as I got inside the air conditioning, so I pulled out the mythology again and read for half an hour, picking off the odd tenacious fire ant.

By then, it was 3:30, and I thought surely they’d had time to replace every part in my car. I hiked up to the desk and politely asked about the status of my poor vehicle. The guy fumbled around for a minute, then informed me it had been ready. “Yeah, somebody said you went on a walk or something?” I told him that I had indeed, but I’d been back for some time. “Oh. Well nobody saw you.” Ah well. I smiled sweetly, paid my $332.97, and hobbled out to my car.

At that point I realized my feet were hurting, not because of the ant bites, and not because of my shoes (which really did a plucky job today, I’m proud of them), but because somehow, without realizing it, I had burnt the bottoms of my feet. Apparently crossing the paved areas did more damage than I thought, and I now have large blisters on the bottoms of my feet. This isn’t actually as painful as you might think; feet must be pretty tough. It looks like the first layer of skin got burned and raised into a blister, but I go barefoot a lot and I think it’ll heal quickly. Several hours later, it’s already looking a lot better.

I should really have just gone home and taken a nap at that point, but I desperately wanted to get down to this particular pottery shop in Sanford, and they’re only open M-F while I’m usually at work. The day was still young! I arrived in Sanford with half an hour before closing, got the gift I wanted for a friend’s wedding, and was hightailing it back to Cary when Sarah called. We got together for a scrumptious dinner, then Sarah needed some shoes for work so we went to the mall. I realized at some point that this is exactly what most normal 20-somethings probably do when they get together, but it seemed a little surreal. (Being a 20-something in general is so weird. It doesn’t count up until 22 because you’re still a college kid. Being a college kid is kind of cool. Being a 20-something always seemed like it would be awkward to me, but now it’s snuck up on me without my realizing, and as long as I still work in plenty of tree-climbing, I think I can handle it.) Anyway, we had a blast hanging out and making fun of the perfume ladies and whatnot, and overall I realized the day had actually been pretty great. So, there’s that.