It was a much cooler drive over the Siskiyous this time around. Well, cooler is all relative, I suppose. But, the ten degree differential compared to the experiences past made all the difference.
However, that was over the mountain stretch. The flatland of the valley on the southern side was blisteringly hot.
I pulled into a Starbucks at Redding for my caffeine fix. And, to also give the car a much needed break. I parked it under a shade that covered my car as much as any outfit covers Kim Kardashian ;)
"It is 99 degrees here in Redding" I texted from within the cool confines of the coffee house, while cursing about the quality of coffee and the cookie. Cursing in my mind, of course. There was no way I was going to incur the wrath of the Starbucks-addicts by loudly expressing my dissatisfaction.
When I entered the warm car, there was something amiss. "What is this dangling?" was my thought before I realized that it was the rear-view mirror hanging.
The older I get, the easier I panic, and the dangling rear-view mirror alarmed me. I propped it over the passenger side visor.
I got back on the freeway. With no rear-view mirror, I had to get back to the old lesson from the days when I began to drive in the US--to look over the shoulder before changing lanes. The rear-view mirror now served only one purpose: to report the temperature outside!
As I continued to drive along, I wondered if not having the rear-view mirror could serve as a metaphor for life itself. Often, too often, most of us end up looking at the events that happened. We constantly look at the rear-view mirrors of our lives. When, in reality, the direction that we go is forward, which is where our attention ought to be.
After a while, I really did not miss the mirror. Through the crazy Los Angeles traffic, I changed lanes after looking over my shoulders. I even watched out for crazy drivers by scanning the side view mirrors.
But, I knew that I had to get it fixed. I narrated the event to my daughter. The competent woman she is, within minutes she located a shop only a couple of minutes away. "My father will be there soon" she told them.
I drove the mile to the shop. A strongly built guy a few years older than me walked up. His arms had tattoos. He had a pleasant and welcoming smile.
"My daughter called about the rear-view mirror ..."
"Oh yeah, no problems. I can get you going."
"I have no idea what happened. I stopped for coffee in Redding ... I suppose the 99 degree heat was too much." But, in my mind, I was thinking about the summers when I have driven to Los Angeles in 100-plus degree heat. Once it was a 108 in the San Fernando Valley.
"These things are notorious ... the glue melts in the heat all the time" he reassured me as he started working on it.
"Did you find the place?" asked the text from the daughter. My life is overflowing with people caring for me.
Two minutes and he was done. "Make sure you don't move the mirror for at least ten minutes. Otherwise, you are all set."
I was relieved and happy that it was done. So much so that I would have given him a tight hug. The older I get, the more appreciative I am of people who help me. Even if for a fee. "I owe you something" I told him.
"Nothing at all" he said with a smile.
I was all the more ready to hug that tattooed man.
"Thank you so much" I told him as I got into the vehicle.
I reached the daughter's home without looking at the rear-view mirror.