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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Dreaming of a Wiped Christmas

The missus and I returned from our annual holiday jaunt a few days ago. Every year, we take a week — whether we need it or not — and speed through a seven-day trek through (at least) four towns to visit various immediate, extended and perhaps-not-extended-quite-enough family members, in-laws and assorted hangers-on.

This year, the odyssey lasted a bit longer, when our flight home was canceled and we drove the thirteen hours home the next day.

(Not thirteen hours straight, naturally. We did stop for lunch. We’re not animals.)

That was Sunday. And after spending the lion’s share of it stuffed inside the business end of a rented Chevy Impala, I wanted nothing to do with cars for as long as possible. Including mine.

Luckily, I had Monday and Tuesday off work. And so it was a full ten days that my poor Nissan sat idle in the parking lot, humbugging through the holidays. I finally trundled out yesterday morning to have a look, and to clean the Christmas snow off the old girl.

And, I guess, to go to work. Eventually. If there’s time.

From the look of things, the Boston area — or at least the immediate parking-lot area of my little bit of Boston — got around three inches of snow in my absence. I don’t know how that happened; it was sunny when I left. It’s like I can’t leave the damned city without some cloud pooping all over the joint.

Anyway, I scraped the snow and ice off all the important car parts — the driver’s side window. Half the windshield. A little circle around the door handle. And, of course, the wipers. It was sunny again yesterday, but you never know when those pesky clouds will come back with a full bladder and an eye on your ride.

“I yanked the lever all the way down, activating the wiper mode usually reserved for tropical monsoons or undersea spelunking.”

I set off for the office, and noticed the few square inches of windshield I’d cleared were a little grimy. So I gave it a spritz of fluid and set the wipers loose to clean things up.

The wipers didn’t budge.

I turned them up a notch. Nothing.

I yanked the lever all the way down, activating the wiper mode usually reserved for tropical monsoons or undersea spelunking. You know the one, where you imagine the blades are going “WUUU-hoo! WUUU-hoo! WUUU-hoo!” at you.

Except they didn’t. They just sat there, motionless. Paralyzed. Dead.

I tried some things when I got to the office garage. I swept some more ice out of the way. I lifted the wipers to make sure they weren’t stuck. I even slid them halfway up the windshield, like people who are apparently smarter than I am do before a snowstorm. And then I went to work, to let everything thaw out.

But I knew. It was too late. The wipers were shot, plain and simple. I confirmed it later; I drove all the way home with the wipers blasting, fully expecting to turn a corner or brake too hard or bump a bus and get it:

WUUU-hoo! WUUU-hoo! WUUU-hoo

But no. Four miles later, as I parked at home, the game changed. This was no longer a rescue mission, nor a nursing back to health. The only thing left was to make the funeral arrangements.

And to put them off as long as possible.

Seriously, I just got back from a big trip. I cleaned off ten percent of a car. And I worked, like, at least three hours yesterday. I can’t handle a trip to the garage. Not now. Not today. Or tomorrow. Maybe Saturday, when leaving the car for a few hours isn’t such a logistical hassle. Or next weekend. Or May. May sounds nice. I’ll be ready in May. June, at the latest.

So now I’m watching the weather. Yesterday was beautiful. Today’s nice. Clear and crisp, with a chance of clouds. Very little threat of rain, which is good. And tomorrow’s pretty good, too. Probably. The Weather Channel waffles a little sometimes. “Thirty percent chance of showers”? What is that? Take a stand, already. No rain till summer. Make it happen, meteorolowizards.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to at least make it to the weekend. Two trips to and from work, and all of a sudden it’s Saturday. That’s the plan. And if it rains or snows in between, or a bird craps on the driver’s side windshield during one of the drives?

Then I calmly pull over to the side of the road, put on the hazard signals, and abandon the car. Just get out, dust off my hands and chalk it up to the fickle moods of Mother Nature. I can always go out and buy another car. One with working wipers.

But not until Saturday. At the very least. I’m not ready yet for a hassle. We just had Christmas, for crissakes.

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