Friday, March 14, 2008

Gravel and Ankle Alarms

Song Stuck on the Brain: The Mighty Quinn

I bragged about having Weds. off to enjoy fantabulous weather, but I spoke too soon. Unbeknownst to me, Angel arranged to have new gravel poured on hers and our parents driveways. Angel took care of her own. It's a single width and there wasn't much to spread, but our parents drive was a different story. They have a double wide that parks four cars. And the guy tried to dump it evenly, but the rut at the end that necessitated the new gravel in the first place, caused a lot of the gravel to dump at one end. Which meant Angel and I got to spread it. Alone. By ourselves. Why didn't she wait until we could arrange to have our strong young nephews there? NO. I. Dea.

Have I mentioned that I'm STILL recovering from surgery? That my incision is not completely healed and I am even more of a wuss and weakling than normal? (which is REALLY bad)

I started out raking while she shoveled, but after 5 minutes I thought I was going to die. Dad was watching and wishing he was able to help. He said, "Wouldn't it be great if someone came along and said, 'I've got a Bobcat, I'll help'?" Oh Hallelujah, wouldn't that be divine?

Please God, send us a Bobcat.

He didn't. But He did let me survive the ordeal. We finished in about an hour and a half, with Angel doing the heavier load, poor thing. (Show her not to order gravel without help again...)

The rest of the day was pretty aimless cuz we were too sore and pooped to do much else.

The odd thing is, once it was all said and done, the thought that crossed my mind was, "If I ever need to describe this in a book, at least it will be real."

And I find that that kind of thinking pops up more than I realize. As a writer, I'm naturally curious and it makes sense that I would want to observe or experience things. We call it "research". Anything can be research, whether you're currently writing about it or not. It's the universal excuse for oddly intense curiosity.

Thursday, my office mate was holding an interview in our office. Our desks face each other and he and the interviewee were sitting across the room from me. At one point the interviewee reveals that he's actually on house arrest.

"See? I'm wearing my ankle bracelet." I see him move to raise his pant leg.

My coworker says, "Oh, I've heard of those but never seen one in person." I can tell he's now thinking, 'Hmm, how do I respond to that?'

My response? I had this almost uncontrollable urge to pop up and say, "Ooo. Let me see. I might need to describe one someday." I say almost, because I did control myself, but it surprised me with how close I came to doing it.

I have to say, if I had my choice, I'd be researching day spas, concerts, elite vacation spots and penalty free shopping. I mean, when am I going to use gravel and ankle alarms in a novel?

Wait, that gives me an idea...


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