Ian, clever boy that he is, decided he'd better start healing before I got tired of being the coddler rather than the coddled, and so he's back on his feet (shoulders?), and able to drive the fun new manual transmission Hot Chocolate Mini Clubman again. Which, SIGH, means that he does drive it, and that I'm back to my big ol'—albeit comfortable—and, I've found, mildly threatening—red 4-Runner. You see, a Mini is small. Smallness is inherent in the name, after all—MINI. And people see a Mini coming up the street that they want to pull out into, and they look the driver in the eyes as she nears, they give a faint sneer, and they pull out, forcing the Mini driver to make evasive maneuvers. In my case, these maneuvers are consistently coupled with honking (the Mini has a fine, musical horn) and creative profanity. No, that's not fair—the profanity isn't creative at all. "WHAT THE F**K?!?" I yell as I hit my brakes/swerve/flip the bird/tootle at the a**hole who is getting in my way—obviously because he or she is insanely jealous of how cool I am in my Mini and must get back at me by being a jerk.
In my big ol' comfortable red 4-Runner, though, people tend, I have noticed, to stay out of the way. I still occasionally honk and swear at them.
The other thing about driving the 4-Runner is that it really is a very slightly more comfortable ride for the dogs, who are my almost constant daily accessories. When Ian and I looked at the Clubman model of Mini, whilst car shopping, we saw that there was plenty of surface space for two largish dogs to lounge comfortably if the back seats were down. After bringing the car home, Ian sewed a two-part, two-tone blue bed for the space, and it really is quite luxurious. Spackle, who can leap with great self-satisfaction into the back of the Mini (someone, at this time invariably me because of Ian's handicap, must always lift 74-pound Spackle into the much taller 4-Runner), feels like a pasha on his palanquin when he's riding with us, because he is a lounging car-rider anyway, and now the windows are low enough that he can see out as we bowl along. All that's missing from his perfect experience is a slave fanning him and languidly feeding him jerky treats, one by one (because too many grapes can be poisonous to dogs).
Hoover, on the other hand, is a very erect car-rider, which in the 4-Runner allows him to survey and comment vociferously on the world around him with ease, but in the Mini gives him a crick in the neck—while he is completely blocking the rear window. Hoover really does make a better door than a window, if a door is pugilistic and barks histrionically at any dog it sees in the world, as well as at people deemed to be off their rockers. In his defense, though, Hoover does seem to have a sense of crazy. I generally agree with him about the dogless pedestrians he barks at—they look bats.
But I digress. Ian is doing very well, with twice-weekly physical therapy and icing (on his shoulder, not the cupcake kind), and is already able to take two dogs for a walk at one time, if he makes sure to have Hoover on the left. He sat on his bike in our sunny, spring-morning back yard today and thought about it, but decided to take another week before attempting cycling on the road. He's needing much less coddling these days, but nevertheless hasn't quite gotten around to recoddling me . . . I can only assume that's just around the corner.