He shows me the photo he took with his camera phone: Look! I could have run over these babies. Good thing I always check my tires before I get in my truck. They were sleeping in the shade of my truck tires!
But what about the mama duck, I ask, was she okay? Alive? Scared for her babies or what?
He says the mom’s okay. He didn’t run over her.
I tease: But how do you know she was ok? Maybe the almost-fatality gave her a fright. And he says, but ducks don’t get frights.
And I ask him to send me the photo (shhh, he has no idea I’ve pasted it to this page).From now on, he says, he will be known as Quick Draw for how fast he whipped his phone out to take this picture. He will think of this as the Camera Phone Conversation and I will think of it as the Ducks Don’t Get Frights Talk.
He and I are friends, yes. But he and I? Our wave lengths don’t match up. (Editor’s sidenote: This is not a complaint.)
In the shade inside my own truck is a book I’ve been toting around. A gift from a good friend. She’s been
dying restless anxious for me to finish reading what she considers the best book of the year. I’m stuck on page 39.
On page 39 the hero dives into a huge wooden water tower with the purpose of finding the leak. Every day he searches a different section of the holding tank until he realizes he should only search along the water level. Because why? Because that is where corrosion happens — where two unlike objects meet. Wood against water. Solid against liquid. Motion against the non.
I need to read on, yes, and see that he fixes the tower and perhaps he will become a rock star water tower mender after that. I dunno. I’d like to tell my friend I finished the book and give her a reassuring smile, but she might ask how I liked the way it ended.
We like books for the opposite reasons. She likes plot and I like character. She likes mysteries solved and I like magic hiding. She loves the book for the horses and the angst that haunts the valley. But I can’t find the horses in the book what with the edge of water rubbing against oak staves.
I turn to page 39 and am hijacked to some other world. When I come to, I put the book down; gather myself, consider where I am parked. And then I climb out of my truck to check the shadows my tires cast.