Gravel, superficiality, and vital information

by Jonah

I took King’s X out of the CD player and am now listening to Bach. Let’s see, it’s Concerto for Two Violins. Before I left to come to Virginia, I ransacked my family’s collection of CDs on a whim for everything there by Bach. Which evidently was two CDs, because that’s all I found when I went searching through the box I brought them in just now.

I’m listening to Bach, instead of George Winston, Matthew Sweet, or King’s X, for a specific reason. Today was Thursday and so staff dinner night. Bart, the other intern, gave an “oral report” on Brahms this evening. In discussing the composer, he played a few seconds of Bach, a classical composer who’s name starts with S (and which, obviously, escapes me), and then some Wagner. Then we listened to a string quartet thing and Brahms’ 4th symphony. I’ve never had any formal training in classical music, so this was a real learning experience for me. Now I possess a big mental hook on which to hang the name “Brahms”.

Bart usually comes over on Thursdays for the whole day. Today, Jenna came with him to do some audio editing for Ken. Yours truly completed labelling THE LAST book today (yes, thank you, that’s quite enough applause) and, in fact, ran out of things to do. Ken remedied that by assigning me the packing of the books into boxes.

But because so many staff personell were here in this corner of Virginia today, Ken took us out to lunch. Actually, he took Jenna to get the mail on the way to the place we were going to eat and instructed Bart to take me in a few minutes to Cajos in Flatrock, basically a single stoplight between where he lives and where I live.

I was entering the lastfew books into the computer when Bart finally said, “Uh, we were supposed to have left five minutes ago.” So we got in his vehicle and rolled slowly down the driveway. “Ugh,” groaned Bart, “Gravel. I hate gravel.”

“What’s this?” I asked, “Here you are driving a quasi all-terrain vehicle,” my eyes searched and came to rest on the word “Jeep” emblazoned on the glove compartment door, “a Jeep, in fact, and you’re complaining about a non paved road?”

By now we’d reached the end of the driveway and were picking up speed down highway 60. “Well, you see,” Bart replied, “I have these new tires with deep grooves, and just about now all the gravel that’s gotten stuck in them is getting kicked up…” Metallic clinks resounded from the base of the jeep. “…and chipping the paint.”

“So you have a Jeep and yet you don’t like to drive on anything other than pavement,” I surmised. “How superficial! What a reflection of your identity!”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Sometimes, it’s fun to take it out and get it dirty. But gravel’s not good. Mud good. Gravel bad.”

“So, we’re going to Flatrock?”

“Huh? I don’t know.” He paused before admitting, “I have a tendency not to listen when people are giving me directions. I’ll just automatically nod and say ‘uh huh’ as if they’re telling me about theirdaughter getting braces, when actually they’re giving me vital information.”

“So you don’t know where we’re going?”

“Some restaurant?”

“Cajos?”

“Yeah, that’s it!” He looked around. “There’s supposed to be a stoplight up here somewhere.”

“Yeah, it’s coming up.”

“Is there a McDonalds there?”

“Uh huh. Do you just remember key words like ‘light’ and ‘McDonalds’?”

“And ‘left’,” he answered, changing lanes. “Are they here yet?” he asked as we pulled up into the parking lot. Ken was standing on the front porch. Bart got out and immediately blamed me for something. I never did find out what.

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