So, about fifteen minutes after the post about a gremlin wall ran, the truck blew an A/C compressor. She heard me say she was a beautiful machine and was clearly unhappy about it. I crossed the juju line — everybody knows you never brag about how the truck is running. As a matter of fact, George long ago adopted the phrase, “She’s a work in progress,” when anyone compliments her. It’s safe and doesn’t seem to incite the ire praise does.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as superstitious about something as I am about that truck. The reasonable part of me, what shred there is left of it, knows it’s silly as hell, but the part of me who rides around in this crazy little universe knows the highway spirits are a foul-humored bunch who require respect.
I also know once they take something from you, you’ll never get it back. They prefer time as a penance, and money is always associated with time, so great gobs of both will be carved from you if you don’t adhere to strict superstitions.
I find it’s just easier to offer things once in a while, to keep them away. Of course, I’m solely alone in this mode of thinking when it comes to traveling with Mr. Parker.
We exited to do a securement check and the right side door popped open when George turned right off the exit. I had either yanked it open by accident when I was fooling around with the curtain and seat belt, or the highway spirits decided they needed a battery for an impact drill, and they flung the door open at the precise moment we turned, to suck the impact wrench battery from the side compartment as sacrificial payment. We all know which theory I’m sticking with. Ahem.
George saw the door open in the side mirror, but couldn’t tell what fell out.
“What the hell was that?”
“Umm … a little black thingie. Doesn’t look important.”
“It’s the battery to my drill, I’ve got to go back and get it.”
“No, seriously? It’s OK, there’s nothing else falling out.”
I feel like this is where he would have looked at me like I had three heads if he hadn’t been busy looking for a safe spot to pull off and go back for his battery.
“Why did you open the side door?”
“I didn’t! I mean, I don’t think I did, I got my seatbelt caught on something, but I don’t think it was the latch.”
“It was the latch.”
“It was the highway spirits. We’ve angered them.”
“I feel their pain.”
“You should just leave it for them.”
“It’s the battery to my drill, I need it.”
“You should probably throw the drill out, too. Just in case.”
“I’m going to throw a human sacrifice out to them if you don’t stop being crazy.”
Sometimes, obeying strict superstitions on the road is hard.