I drove Sarah to school this morning. At the same time I was trying to look (SAFELY – as I AM Kate the Safety Dog) at pictures she’d finally convinced someone to develop from her seventeenth birthday party with her friends (involving a young couple tied up in police tape and “crepe paper” – a term which she had to feed me three times because I could NOT remember it – and a good blackmail shot of that couple kissing (Alas – the teenage blackmail and HORROR) and fancy masks and VERY fancy socks on Sarah’s part), the “safe” viewing of which caused slight motion sickness what with all the looking back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And evidently it is “Spirit Week” and today is “Hawaiian Day” at her school and we were already on our way when she told me and I was bemoaning the fact that I had not known so I could loan her my authentic Hawaiian coconut shell bra (authentic, at least, in the sense that it was carried back from Hawaii as a gift to me). She was NOT especially disappointed. Perhaps, as the week began with “Hat Day,” and she has been the only person allowed to wear a hat every day, it wasn’t that exciting. It was a surprisingly quiet ride considering that Sarah often has a cell phone attached to her ear as though it had grown there and her phone was IN ITS CASE. I should explain that Sarah, since birth, has had a natural quality to her voice (a combination of frequency and natural projection) that causes it to carry about three miles at any and most every given moment. So her phone conversations, which she may consider private (“YOU hang up first! No, YOU hang up FIRST!!!!), are not. She did regale me with a surprisingly quiet verse of, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” (?) when we hit a long stop light, but the conversation was otherwise very subdued for Sarah. AND she had disc six of Season Four of the Gilmore Girls WITH her!!! Huzzah!

On my drive back, I ended up behind this filthy wee hatchback. In his car I could have sworn he had a small stack of sad, yellowish squares of sod. This was a little baffling – it’s just not sod season, and even it were, he could only have made a very tiny yellow lawn. I had too much time to ponder this, I admit, because he was driving VERY SLOWLY. When I did pass him, what I thought was sod turned out to be a bale of hay. Yes, he had a couple of boxes and one bale of hay in his tiny, grimy hatchback. This was mysterious, too, as people who don’t farm (yes, some do – there are still ranches and farms in this valley) sometimes seek out hay bales and cornstalks and other such earthy things as decorations for autumn. But it’s winter, and if this man were a farmer or rancher, it’s quite surprising enough that he wasn’t driving a pick-up truck to accommodate sufficient feed for a little herd of animals. Perhaps he’s a one-cow farmer. And perchance it’s a very tiny little cow. I could have mulled over this further (sad, yes), but THEN I got behind a slightly banged up pick-up truck (this is NOT the weird part – banged-up pick-up trucks are fairly ubiquitous in this area). The unique thing about this vehicle was the personalized license plate which read, I kid you not, “Gunman.” I cautiously tried to observe if he had a gun rack in the truck cab (also, unfortunately, not especially abnormal in this area), but I didn’t see one. He DID have one of those big metal boxes that fit in the truck bed, so perhaps that’s where he keeps his assault rifles and his shotguns and grenades and hand-held missiles and in a stand-off he has practiced grabbing them through the tiny window in the back of the truck cab. Yes, it sounds like I am embellishing the number and fire-power of the weapons that this man may carry, but if you PAY to have a personalized license plate made that says, “Gunman,” I presume you have at least a slight fondness for weapons that shoot bullets and buckshot and such. Either that, or you have a guilty conscience and you are admitting your part in an unsolved crime and hoping that the local-yokel law enforcement will eventually figure it out.

I tried NOT to think about the firearm potential in this scenario, as I found it a tad frightening, so I started to listen more assiduously to the CD I was playing. “Behind these Hazel Eyes” came on. YES – I was listening to Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway – and all y’all can just stop the mocking right now. Are we not all entitled to our guilty pleasures? I’d never listened all THAT closely to the lyrics – I’d liked the fact that the song concerns “hazel eyes” because I have hazel eyes. I abruptly was struck by the ridiculous nature of the phrase “the tears I cry behind these hazel eyes.” There are certainly poetic references to emotions that one “hides behind their eyes,” but that’s different. Those allude to the metaphor wherein “eyes are the windows to the soul.” So you could hide grief or despair “behind your eyes,” but tears? Look at this:
They left out the aqueous and vitreous humors and a few other details, but I'll let it go.

Gross Anatomy of the Eye

Tears flowing secretly BEHIND the eye around the optic nerve, down into the orbital cavity? Blech. It’s just WRONG – all wrong.

And people wonder why I go out so little.

*Pretentious, yes, but it sounds better than, “What I observed on State Street.”