A few years ago, I wrote an essay called "Two People Who Ordinarily Would Never Meet." It was about a mind game I used to play with myself, whereby I'd imagine two of the most unlikely-to-ever-meet people I knew meeting one another. My rabbi and my gynecologist was one such unlikely pairing. My landlord and my mother's podiatrist was another. The whole game consisted of just putting the two people together in my mind — no conversation, no handshake even — and it kept me occupied sometimes for hours on end.
I haven't played "Two People" in a long time (perhaps because I've gotten what some might call "a life"). But I was reminded of it the other day when two things that ordinarily would never meet met.
My husband and I had been car shopping. Or, more accurately, my husband was car shopping, and I was pre-crying. Pre-crying, in case you aren't familiar with it, is the same as crying, except that, for reasons outside of your control, it's tearless. Pre-crying almost always leads to crying, although the interval between the two can be as short as a minute or as long as a few days.
I was pre-crying because, for reasons that are entirely ludicrous, I do not want a new car. What I want instead is to keep the piece of junk I currently own, even though it has been in the shop five times since I bought it a year ago, three of those times for a month.
My pre-crying was temporarily halted, however, when I caught sight of a 2014 Nissan Juke. Like the kid who falls down and wails in pain until his attention is diverted, I immediately forgot my woes (and my undying loyalty to my poor, sick car) and summoned my husband via cellphone from across the used car lot to announce that I had found It, The Car, and to hurry because I was In Love. Why he needed to hurry I'm not sure, as the reviews would later show that the 2014 Nissan Juke was possibly the only car less reliable than the one I currently own, its primary problems being 1. starting, and 2. running. In other words, it wasn't going anywhere.
In fact, my husband did really like the Juke, and so we took it for a test drive. This was when I explained to him My True Feelings About Shoes, in order to help him understand why the Juke was now the most important thing in my life.
My husband thinks I love shoes, but I do not. I love the 12 pairs of shoes I own. One of them, a pair of boots I bought off eBay, was fairly expensive. The rest are all midlevel sedans. Several could be classified as sneakers. One pair is solely for funerals, one pair is for the Hundred Year Flood, and one pair was made for navigating the cobblestone streets of San Miguel, should I ever find myself in that city having to outrun something.
"Contrary to what you think, shoes don't really excite me," I said to my husband as we pulled out of the dealership and onto the highway. "However, there are a very few pairs out there that knock me for a loop, and those are the ones I buy." (I've been known to buy shoes that did not even come close to fitting just because I loved them, only to give them away 15 years later. It was worth it.)
"I feel the same way about cars," I continued. "I dislike almost all of them, can tolerate a few of them, but I only really love the occasional standout." I had never seen an actual Juke on the road before, which to some (savvy) car shoppers might have been a red flag, but for me was further proof of its exceptionality.
This might have been the moment my husband craned his head around to the young salesman in the backseat of my beloved Juke and asked whether he was married, the implication being that if he was not, there might still be time to commit to becoming a priest or a monk.
A week after car shopping, I went shoe shopping. I was in search of a pair of standout sandals, strappy little platform numbers that could go from dinner out to creek wading with equal aplomb. I was not feeling hopeful about my prospects, though, and I still had not made a decision about a car, and so it seemed that much of my life, from walking to riding, was up in the air. I glowered at the sidewalk on my way to the door.
Suddenly — as if in some cosmic answer to my woes, my head snapped up. There, not 10 paces from where a host of strappy sandal hopefuls sat in keen anticipation, was that never-before-seen-on-the-road outlier, a Nissan Juke. Two things — the significance of one I had used to explain the magnitude of the other — meeting.
This could only mean one thing: Game on.
Email Dana Shavin at Dana@DanaShavin.com.