Last night, like the previous few nights, was hot and humid and entirely unconducive to productivity. So we decided to take the rental Prius out for a spin. (More car issues, including the sudden blowout of my sister's car and the continued failure of the Taurus to act up in front of the mechanics... won't bore you with the details.) I hadn't actually driven it yet, though I was on the list of approved drivers, and since we're probably taking it back Monday I figured I might as well try it out, just so I could say I drove a Prius.
That car is weird. Very, very weird. It operates more like a computer than a car in many ways, down to the "Power" button on the dashboard. The "key" is a pagerlike box which you insert in a slot on the dashboard; according to the manual, you don't even need to do that much if you use a "smart" key mode, so long as you have the key in your pocket or purse, though the radio waves used evidently might cause issues in drivers with pacemakers. AC and other controls are on the steering wheel. A touchscreen panel controls various things I didn't dare delve into. When you come to a stop, the engine cuts off - unlike the Taurus, it's supposed to do that, and it comes back on the moment you need it to. It wasn't too hard to envision a future Prius model including steering wheels as an option, running instead off satellite feeds and electrical impulses from the driver's mind. Still, even though it has one of the world's worst rear windows for visibility and a mirror-reflected dashboard display that would be a pain to see in daylight, and even though the dead-engine-at-a-stoplight nearly gave me heart failure even though I knew it was supposed to happen, I must say that little Prius handled nicely. I probably could've gotten used to it in the long term, but they're nowhere near my price range when it comes to replacement cars. And I'm still hoping against hope that the Mighty Taurus will be back up to snuff soon.
I had a Barnes & Noble coupon through my B&N Membership card, so we headed out to the bookstore to burn off money I probably should've put toward more important things. Considering how long it's been since I indulged my book hoarding instincts, I restrained myself remarkably. It helps when you habitually blank on the books you want to buy when you walk into the store. It also helps that, when you do remember what you wanted, they refuse to carry it, or at least they don't stock the one in the series that you wanted to buy. I appreciate that in a bookstore. At least, my bank account appreciates it. Still, I did have the coupon to burn off, so I made myself buy three books. (This is a sacrifice tantamount to settling for a hot fudge sundae because the rest of the family is ordering desserts and won't leave you out. A painful sacrifice, but sometimes a necessary one.)
As we came out of the bookstore, walking into the wall of humid heat beyond the comforting drone of the bookstore air conditioning, I looked out over Tiger Mountain and saw a beautiful golden moon, bright enough to lend the subtlest of nocturnal glows to the hills and the clouds opposite the vestiges of a silver-pink sunset. I love full moons like that, with the crisp, clear marks on the surface and the beautiful golden hue like something out of a painting. I wished I'd had my camera, but I've never been able to capture that texture on film or chip; I suspect some special setup is needed, a filter or lens or setting I haven't deciphered, because my best efforts only produce a solid glow across the moon's surface. But I got to see it, and sometimes that's enough.
After the bookstore, Mom decided she needed ice cream. We haven't had a DQ in town for years, and Baskin-Robbins was probably packed to the gills on a Saturday night like this, so we decided to try something different. Recently, Krispy Kreme started advertizing soft-serve ice cream treats. That sounded about right. We swung by and grabbed ourselves a couple hot fudge sundaes, plus a root beer for Dad - and, yes, Mom was buying desserts and wasn't going to leave me out. Shucky darn... Maybe it was the heat, but that soft serve tasted wonderful. So we sat outside and watched traffic and ate our ice cream, and I thought that things weren't alway so lousy as they seem. Yeah, I still have a car that doesn't seem to want to be fixed, and I still can't afford to replace it unless I can get another job - which I can't get to unless I have a reliable car. Yeah, I still haven't sold another drum ornament, and I haven't had the guts to try selling them to other stores or on Etsy. Yeah, my sites are stagnating and my stories are spinning their wheels. Yeah, I've fallen flat on my face this year when I look at what I resolved to do with 2008 back in January. But I had three new books and cold ice cream on a hot night, and I got to drive a Prius under the golden moon of summer.