Road Rage and Goldfish

9.4.09

My husband and I lived last winter in Marble. Renting a small cabin that did not allow pets within its slightly slanted homestead walls, we naturally resorted to goldfish. Four of them: El Guapo, Fezzig, G’Nesh, and a white one which may or may not remember the name that we forgot we gave him. They survived the winter wonderfully, even allowing their tank to don a white ribbon when it became part of our psuedo-elopement’s mini-reception table. Finally, when the lease was up and Memorial Day began the green-hazy process of beautifying the muddy valley enough to entice the owners to return, we realized we would need to somehow transport our illegitimate aquatic children. I drive a Subaru wagon (96). He drives a Ford Ranger (’97, manual, rear wheel drive, no shocks or tailgate). The fish decided to ride with me. We took their tank (sans ribbon), and after siphoning off two thirds of the square inchage of fishy living space, we nestled it in the passenger seat above a box full of shoes. After a heated debate, we decided against the seat belt and I embarked on an historic drive towards New Castle and our new pet-friendly cabin.

For all those who have had the fantastic pleasure of visiting the town of Marble, the drive is one filled with stunning mountain vistas, lovely foliage, and Ford Explorer tipping turns. With the life and well being of my long-suffering, finned co-pilots dependent on the unstable and sloshy nature of their environment, I approached each asphalt curve with respect and slow dignity. Before long, I had a stunning honor guard of F-350s and Dodge Ram 2000’s behind me. As I considered the evident frustration of those trucks to be where they were going now, it occurred to me that I would be behaving similarly if stuck behind my unhurried, sticker-free bumper. The righteous indignation that sprouts from the realization that someone is not taking full advantage of the fullest extent of the speed limit is a constant source of deteriorating stomach linings and misplaced good moods. As I carefully drove the rest of the way into Carbondale (only spilling once), I ashamedly imagined some of the horrific names I would be calling myself for postponing, by somewhere between one and five minutes, my hypothetical arrival at some crucial destination. Since that day, I have struggled (often unsuccessfully) to quell the indignation and irritation which naturally arises from Sunday morning drivers and California license plates by empathetically reminding myself that perhaps, just maybe, they too are transporting goldfish.

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