When we bought our most recent car,

which we had to,  since our last was turned into a cube by a much bigger and more unfriendly vehicle,

we decided that,

since there are only a few,

like at the most three,

days of snow per year here,

but the days we do have are hefty,

with more snow dropped at one time than I remember from my years in:

“what do you mean you can’t find the car, it’s right there under that huge snowdrift-

just follow the cable to the light bulb under the hood to keep the motor from freezing”

Illinois.

And here the fallen stuff hangs around for weeks.

That means snow tires.

And a very very strange only here in Gutenberg Land system-

but you do have to admire the ingenuity.

ie

you buy two sets of tires,

summer and winter,

then the company where you buy your car,

and who has a gigantic number of car dealerships,

all brands,

like little spokes sticking out from a wheel,

and who have a GIGANTIC

common underground repair shop and storage area,

sock you fifty a year to change tires, balance, etc-

you have to give them credit, they do do a good job-

and to store everything in your own private tire locker for six months while the other ones are on.

Then you get a date,

some time in late July usually,

to have the summer tires put on.

And some time in September

to have the winter ones put on.

Which means the tires hum a bit on the road in summer,

but hey, the system works.

Approximately.

And then, of course, there is the fee,

should you need new tires,

for proving you recycled the old ones.

Anyone else out there remember piles of smoking tires as a kid?

Or all the great tire swings,

on long long chains,

where you could get on on top of a cliff,

swing down,

drop out,

and swim in the river for a while?

Nope.

Here the swings are made by companies who check, and regularly inspect, the correctness and safety of the play equipment,

which is a good thing, I’m sure, for the health of the kids,

but still,

once you have played Tarzan…

Anyway, here, you have to prove your tires were recycled.

And either cut into bits to re-use,

or re-treaded,

for sale to countries that don’t have the number of inspectors we do.

(I once had a dream,

where I was at an inspectors’ conference,

and  had to be inspected,

because I was a teacher,

and had to inspect the kids

and their work,

so I had to line up for my inspector’s inspection.

And in the end, I got a little inspector’s badge-

cheap silver-colored metal,

like the little badges you get in breakfast cereal boxes.

But I couldn’t put it on until it had been inspected.

And had a little tag  “inspected by number 9”

I wonder who inspected number 9?)

Which brings me back to re-tirement,

and government inspections.

And badges.

And the fact that after I was inspected by the great ladies, and gents,

of Sisters in Crime,

and the members of the steering committee

(how was that for sneaky?)

And joined up,

and I was absolutely over the rainbow because I was a real member,

I bought myself a badge.

Just for me.

Hey, because it makes me feel happy, ok?

It’s in the shape of an open book.

with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…”

And hanging from the book

are a tiny axe, knife, and magnifying glass.

Yo ho ho.

Any pirates out there,

in need of re-tirement?

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

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