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Femaelstrom

Emerging from the Social Security office, Lisa bent to strap down her new daughter’s car seat, setting a file of papers atop the roof. She then drove on into Glenwood Springs to run errands, parked, and glanced around for the file. She looked again, in dawning horror, and gunned it back to Social Security.A piece of white paper fluttered beside the highway. Blowing and twirling in the dust were the documents she had vigilantly protected for the past month: tiny Sunni’s adoption records from Cambodia, her immigration papers and her passport.Lisa ran in frantic, widening circles, her track background serving her well. As her distances increased, and she worried about being able to see the baby, she spotted a circle of older women, Spanish-speaking, in a backyard, and begged a baby handoff.She found every paper except for the passport. Two days later that was turned in, imprinted with a tire tread, to the police station.Years ago, participating in a photo shoot, I gradually noticed the fretting of a makeup artist searching for her sunglasses.Finally, a model, Michael, smiled and said, “Christine, I see your sunglasses. They’re in a place where you should never put anything.”That is, of course, your vehicle roof. I have known people who lost sunglasses, prescription glasses, hats and wallets from car tops. In Moab, I stopped at the sight of a bike glove on the road, and a mile later picked up the other. My own roof problem is a variation: I heave our trash onto it, vow this time to remember to stop at the end of the driveway, and then, on the roadway, again hear a dread whoosh. My husband once drove to Glenwood and back with a bag of dirty diapers on his truck.A friend, Katie, bought a latte and drove off, looking around for it just as she slowed for a stop sign. She heard a clunk, and watched brown pour down her windshield.”All I could think of to do,” she said ruefully, “was turn on the windshield wipers.”Nor is a rack proof against loss.Another friend, Eric, says, “I lost a whole rack of cross-country skis once. Then I drove over them.”Lynn once put $1,500 into repairs on her road bike, loaded it onto her roof, told herself not to drive into the garage, and then did, with a great crash. Her bike lay in the driveway behind her, curled like a noodle.Recently two families drove to Castle Valley for a river day. On the way home, Kim, ahead, phoned Jim, to ask, “Have you seen a boat?” A subsequent day of phone calls finally located the lost kayak, waiting claim, at a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Castle Valley.Another friend set a camera on the back bumper of a car. Never put anything on a bumper, either, while we’re at it.Or, perhaps, tie anything to one.George, a friend of my parents, was always safety-conscious, and one day, cleaning his gutters, tied a rope to the bumper of his wife’s car, tossed it over the apex of the roof, and attached it to his waist.But his wife decided to go somewhere. She came out, climbed into her car, shifted gears, and moved slowly forward. George was hauled directly upward. Fortunately for him, she did what I probably wouldn’t have, which was to glance in her rearview mirror, notice something issuing off the back of her car, and stop.Last week my friend Joanne left home late, sped along the highway, and arrived at our office only to find her coffee mug miraculously still atop her car. The same thing has happened with her wallet. Twice. She must have one level roof.”Several people have told me, ‘Never put anything on your car,'” Joanne says shamefacedly. “But it’s a multitasking world, and that ledge is too convenient.”Alison Osius lives in Carbondale and can be reached at aosius@hotmail.com.


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