Kia Rio

Center-pivot circles of lush green within squares of tan always look like a quilt to me. I drift from watching the ground, to reading the Grisham book, to drowsing, (lather, rinse, repeat)...This Grisham book, King of Torts has many characters, but I can't work up enthusiasm for any of them. Long ago I read a story about lawyers, possibly related to a Native American legend. It seems that our conscience is a rough stone in our belly. It pricks and pokes us, and reminds us to do the right thing. A lawyer's conscience stone is worn as smooth as a river rock, and it bothers his tummy not one little bit.

The flight seems way too short the way a haircut often does. I claim the belly-flop bag, and board the shuttle to the car rental Sunport center. It's so great to be on vacation that I babble to the young mother behind the Dollar Rent-a-Car counter about the last time I was in Albuquerque, twelve years ago. We took our three little boys to a July 4th fireworks display at Kirtland AFB, and my ex locked the keys in the rental car. We had to get the armed forces to break into the car so we could take the tired, dehydrated, over-excited boys back to the motel. I promised the woman that I would NOT lock the keys in the car.

"What are your travel plans?," she asked. I babbled on about going out west on I-40, and up I-25 to Santa Fe. She told me that the Kia Rio I had requested was only good for in-town driving. "It goes great downhill," she says, "but you have to push it uphill." I envision myself driving a Model T across the desert in a grainy sepia photograph. It's not a good visual. Remember the hilarious scenes in "The Gods Must Be Crazy", and the disasters in "How the West Was Won"? You will understand why I upgraded to the Dodge Stratus. As newlyweds, we owned a rusty puke-yellow Chevy Nova called "Old Paint". In the winter it would stall at stoplights in the worst part of town. I would have to jump out of the car, open the hood, unscrew the butterfly wing nut to open the lid to the air intake valve, stick a screwdriver down in the opening, jump back into the car, start it, jump out, remove the screwdriver, screw the lid back on, shut the hood, jump back in the car, turn onto 27th St. and drive off on the ice when the light changed. Each time I did this I recalled a vague story of Isadora Duncan being strangled by her silk scarf while driving her roadster. (Don't quote me on the details.)

I am too old for that stuff. I succumb to the pressure to upgrade to a Dodge Stratus. The Stratus doesn't have much more power than the Kia Rio, but it gets great gas mileage.

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