Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Caterpillar With Wings

This time last week I dashed home from work to put the washing out on the line. I was planning to be gone just for a half hour. I don’t know what I drove over, but there was a horrible crunching sound. I thought it was the sound effects on the radio play I was listening to – but, no, it was a flat tyre.

It has taken a week to organise a replacement. I drove the car over to garage near to where I work and told them to do whatever needed to be done and I would collect the car at the end of the day.

The garage was a fifteen minute walk away. It had rained most of the afternoon. It was the kind of rain that was so light that it was almost not worth putting up an umbrella. About five minutes into my walk back to the garage I realised that my shoe was letting in water. I squelched into the garage ten minutes later to discover that they hadn’t been able to do anything about the tyre because they couldn’t find the wheel nut.

It had occurred to me that they might not find it, but I assumed that seeing as they had a phone number, they could always call and ask. Oh..right...men don’t do that! They don’t ask. It’s not macho to ask!

The man at the reception desk assured me, once I had opened the little compartment between the front seats, retrieved the wheel nut, and placed it in his hand, that as soon as there was an available ramp free, they would sort the tyres.


In the space of one and a half hours I had read every paper and magazine on the coffee table in the waiting room. Why is it that garages always buy the Sun?

In one of the papers it had the story of someone seeing an upside down rainbow in Cambridge. There was a picture of it.

I remember once upon a time I was on a train journey. I think I was heading south at the time. The woman opposite me was gazing out of the window with a very puzzled expression. She had that kind of intense stare about her. I twisted around in my seat to see what she was looking at. It wasn’t a rainbow, upside down or the right way up, but a blob of colour. It was as if someone had reached into the sky and gathered up the rainbow’s arc and scrunched it up. You could identify the red, and yellows, the blues and the greens – but they were all mixed into one blob instead of lined up in an arc shape. We both stared at the blob, trying to work out exactly what we were seeing.

You know something about rainbows? No two people see exactly the same rainbow! It’s all about angles and things. You have to bee looking up at a certain angle to see the rainbow. I don’t know – something like 42 degrees. My 42 degrees will be different from someone else’s 42 degrees depending on how tall you are and where exactly you are standing.

Anyway, back to the upside down rainbow. Remember if you will, that I have squelched into the garage with wet feet, the tyre isn’t repaired because of the missing wheel nut and I have read my way through everything on the coffee table in the last hour and a half. I think that entitles me to a less than positive response!

“Oh yeah,” thought I, “It’s just an ordinary rainbow printed upside down.”

I apologise for my cynical thought. It reminds me of a comment made to my husband, long before we were married. He was sharing a house with another fellow. There was a beautiful butterfly, wings splayed out on the window. My husband pointed it out to his flatmate,

“It’s just a caterpillar with wings.”

He apologised swiftly recognising it to be a cynical remark. His day at work had been a bit of a bummer.

My day, also, had been a bit of a bummer! But that is no excuse not to marvel at natures little idiosyncrasies.

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