In Writing

One day, my left windshield wiper inexplicably stopped working. It spazzed out a little, made some jerky motions and sort of hovered in the middle of its trajectory. The other wiper, dumb and not much of a team player, slammed into it several times. I turned them off. The right one dutifully returned to its resting position, a simple soldier. The left one just hung there directly in my line of vision.

It wasn’t during a particularly rainy season, so I did what I often do with small malfunctions: I ignored it. It only became an issue every few weeks. I actually don’t drive all that much and when I do it’s only short distances: to the kids’ school a mile away, to the market, that sort of thing. So it wasn’t high on my “Pay Attention” list.

Finally, on one day when my ex-husband came to pick up the kids and seemed to be in the mood to linger, I mentioned it. He is officially The Handiest Guy I Know, the kind of guy who can fix an engine with a Q-tip and cooking oil, so I figured he’d have some ideas. He started out barking requests for implements like a surgeon: “Wrench!” “Screwdriver!” and I ran around fetching them. (We are weirdly back to where we started in the marriage department in a lot of ways). After some fiddling, he got it to work.

And so it went for several weeks. Then, during a torrential downpour, squeak, spazz, jerk… and there it was, stuck in my field of vision again.

Not wanting to hurt my ex’s fix-it self esteem by telling him the fix had been temporary, I took it to the dealer (after a healthy period of procrastination, of course). There, they thought my problem was so cute and insignificant they didn’t even charge me to fix it. They just “tightened it up.” It lasted a week.

I went out and got some Rain-X. That’s that weird chemical crap you spray on your windshield and which forms a film of some substance (I’m taking a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” stance on exactly what it is) which makes the rain run off in shimmery little beads. It added a certain visual interest to the driving experience while making visibility excellent. And so it’s been for a while now.

Here’s the only downside: cops. I have something of a paranoia about them, and every time I drive past one I’m sure he’s going to realize my wipers aren’t moving and then… well, it gets hazy what happens after that, but I’m sure it involves swirling red and blue lights and handcuffs (and not in a fun way).

So today, sitting in epic George Washington Bridge traffic of Bridgeghazi proportions on the way home from dropping the kids off (in the rain), in an effort to self-soothe I started to look to see if anyone else didn’t have their wipers going. And I found some!

Which only led me to think, “What the hell is that guy doing?” Somebody give him a ticket.

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