Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where's the Oil and Vinegar Car?

It's hard to fathom, but there do exist people who don't understand why anybody would want to travel to a developing country. It's uncomfortable, it's difficult to get around, everything's a hassle and doesn't work, they say. And usually I just sort of wave my arms around and say something like, "You know! Life! Unexpected experience. And, like, real people" which is not a very convincing argument next to tuberculosis exposure risk. When I had lunch with my boss today, he told me an anecdote about his time living in Georgia, and it's the sort of charming little vignette that you can point to and say: "There. That's why I love to travel."

He and some friends were driving out through the countryside, and they stopped on the side of the road to sit and have some lunch. While they were eating, a beat-up little Moskovitch or some such hoopty came barreling down the road, and as it went passed, he noticed that the car was so filled with red peppers, that they came up to the driver's chest. Clearly, the driver had seated himself in the car, and then somebody shoveled in bushels of peppers until they reached from the floorboards up over the passenger seat and backseats, and flooded the car up to his chest. After another minute, another car came rumbling by, and this driver was buried in a pile of green peppers. Then a third car, a pile of eggplant on wheels with a little Georgian torso manning the wheel. Like something out of Dr. Seuss. They must have been on their way to market and figured, eh, this works.

Zooming vegetable jalopies. Things like this make me happy beyond reason. What a wonderful crazy world. Always wash your vegetables.


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