Sunday Morning Chartreuse
The driver of the first car noticed on Sunday morning’s walk is either blind or indifferent, at least to children on bikes. Daddy glares.
C: She was going too fast, right, Daddy?
D: Right. Way too fast.
F: Sometimes drivers go too fast.
D: Uh huh.
F: But sometimes they go too slow, right, Daddy? (Pause. No answer as Daddy continues to glare at the car racing down the residential street.) You don’t like it when drivers go too fast, but Papa doesn’t like it when drivers go too slow. He just says mean words to them. But, they can’t hear him, so that’s okay, right, Daddy?
D (dialing back in): What? Wait. No, so…
The driver of the second car noticed on the walk is a computer. The Google self-driving cars are often out in force in our neighborhood, tooling around, practicing or something.
F/C: Look, Daddy! A Google car!
D: I see.
F: Why is it just sitting there?
C: Daddy, can we go down there by it?
D: Look, they are starting to move toward us. Move to the side guys.
The Google car pulls up to the stop sign, a twin waving on either side. The “driver” and passenger (who look barely sixteen) smile and wave back. The kids don’t notice. Instead, they stand transfixed, mesmerized by the revolving thing-a-mug-jig on top of the car. That needs to go on the Christmas list. Daddy wonders to himself how it should be branded: Google Stun? Google Freeze? Google Petrificus Totalus? Google Pretty Bush?
The driver of the third car noticed on the walk hasn’t moved it in months. On prior days, Fisher, knowing that Daddy has allergies, has kept his bike between Daddy and the Pollen Car, confident that by doing so, he can shield Daddy from sneezing and generally “getting lergic.” Rain the day before, though, has done it’s thing. All that pollen now lines a nearby puddle.
F: I didn’t know that the er, eh, uh, I didn’t know that the Pollen Car was blue!
D: Yah, it was an ugly yellow before.
C: It was dirty.
D: There’s a funny word for ugly yellow. Do you want to know what it is?
D: Chartreuse. Can you say “chartreuse”?
F: What does that mean?
D: Ugly yellow. Hey, guys, I’m thirsty.
F: Okay, Daddy.
D: I really need something to drink. (Pause.) Hey, do you think I should drink the chartreuse water in that puddle?
F/C: No! Ew!
D: But, I’m really thirsty. I’m just gonna have a teensy sip…
F/C (moving to cut Daddy off): No, Daddy! Don’t!
D: But, if Quincy were here, she’d just take a…
C (laughing): But, she’s a dog!
F (laughing): She doesn’t even know! You don’t want to get lergic, Daddy!
C (as the walk moves along): Daddy, can I tell you something?
D: Of course.
C: One day Rusty at my school ate grass.
Good to know. The cars noticed for the rest of that walk are moving, each having a human driver who actually seems to care enough to drive at a speed that minimizes risk to small children with, you know, the gall to go for a walk. Through a residential neighborhood. Early. On a Sunday morning. (Oh, and, get off my lawn…)