on my way out of my rural city back to my rural homestead, i spotted this little bit of anthropological magic: mr and mrs in a cadillac d’elegance, ca. 1993, burgundy/brown color sitting in the front seat. the car is a bit dirty, not filthy, but not spotless either. madame is very blond, unnaturally so, and very curly (i suspect a perm), her large blue tinted sunglasses* perch comfortably on her nose, above pearly pink lipsticked lips. monsieur has a neat beard, graying hair, metal rimmed glasses. from where i am sitting (in my car, looking over) it looks like he might be shorter than his missus. they are sitting straight, looking ahead, not talking.
in the backseat: junior (i suppose). his age is in that indistinguishable post-adolescent range, anywhere between 16 and 25. his hair is black, jelled, and in a small mohawk. his skin is spotty. his mouth, wide open as his neck is craned back and he is clearly passed out, which is not what caught my eye. what caught it was the ENORMOUS tattoo of barbed wire all around his neck. not a dainty, true-to-scale rendition of a wire necklace, but a gigantic, truly violent, blown-up exaggeration of barbed wire, reaching from his collar-bone to the back of his ear. i ogled. i confess i did. i almost missed the signal when it turned because i was just so enthralled with the sights.
i called my friend CC immediately. there are very few people who i knew would not just understand what i was describing, but also understand why i had to call to share it. that and it had been too long since we spoke, so two birds one stone. the intro to the conversation was a truly exceptional scene, and it was so good to catch up. CC is one of those friends i see too rarely, but who i’d hang out with daily if i could (as we did when we actually lived in the same town).
i might not have been so entranced by the occupants of the car if they hadn’t been in that car together, but even from my perch in the other lane, the pathos was palpable. the yut’s (cue my cousin vinnie) comatose state, the parents inert stare out the windshield (i don’t know why i assume they were related, but something tells me that if they weren’t he’d be alert and they’d be at least nervously chatting). i lost them when they drove into the wal-mart parking lot.
of course, what might be most interesting is the reason why they made such an impression on me. clearly i have led too sheltered a life.
(*) she was wearing sunglasses because the sun is OUT, people, as in really out and shining. temps reached the low 60’s, birds are chirping. i am calling spring – that’s right, it is SPRING godamit, and i don’t care what anyone says. it can snow tomorrow for all i care, it is spring!