Tonight was pleasant. I picked Mike up at the Gothic Arches after his rehearsal, and we went for a walk on Taylor Island before the sun set; we saw a porcupine, a mother duck with her merry row of ducklings, and a deer that leapt across the causeway right in front of my car as we were leaving. (That was okay, since the speed limit is 20 there, and deer are worth it.) Then we drove around his end of the city for a bit, and saw a second deer, one which stopped to peer at us as if we were invading its space – which, of course, we were. Pleasant, indeed; I’ll miss these simple natural things when I’m in la metropolis, but there’ll be new forms of wildlife to view there. 😉

Freakish Anecdote #27:

When I was ten or eleven, my mother’s car spontaneously combusted. Well, not as such – it could better be said to have consumed itself, if semantics are important to you. As she drove across the Harbour Bridge on her way to work one morning, a strange smell started to fill the car, low and unpleasant but quite unlike that of the mill across the harbour. The interior heat kept creeping up, but she continued on anyway, as she wasn’t far from her parking lot – as an employee of the Mercentile Centre, she has a spot at Harbour Station, which isn’t far from the bridge. Plus, it’s a big space and popular, so there were lots of people around. Granted, this didn’t influence her decision, but it did make the spectacle more impressive.

By the time she pulled into her space, smoke was drifting in from inside the dashboard, so she knew she had to get out fast, and beat a hasty retreat outside – moments before the hood of the car went up in flames. I wish I’d seen it; apparently it went from nothing to blazing in a second or two, and before she could do anything, the entire front end of the thing was burning. Dozens of people came to watch, and at some point, someone called the fire department, who eventually came to put out the blaze in front of an appreciative crowd of onlookers. Someone caught it on tape, Mom said, but we never did get a copy. Harbour Station was home to the Saint John Flames until recently (go Calgary, woo!), and Mom’s coworkers called the event “Flames by the Flames” for years.

I was really upset at hearing that our pretty red Century had met its end, and do you know why? My Queen: Greatest Hits tape was in the player at the time, the precious bit of 80’s lore that had brought me friends and fame. (Don’t shatter my illusions.) We went to the junkyard to visit the car for some reason – I can’t recall why, but I think it had to do with insurance – and I have a vivid memory of staring at the melted tires and the charred and unrecognizeable passenger seat, then reaching in to pop out the tape. It actually had stayed in one piece, but had been sprayed liberally by the firemen, so I tossed it back onto the floor for posterity’s sake. I got a new copy later, you’ll be glad to know.

Why am I telling this freakish anecdote now? It’s because as I was writing about the animals above, and how nice it is to live somewhere with so many happy little creatures running around, I suddenly remembered what the investigators finally found the cause of the incident to be: squirrels. They’d been nesting in the engine all spring, and their twigs and leaves had caused some sort of catastrophic failure. They may look cute and cuddly, but you can’t trust those little bastards!

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