Yes, the garage. Only this time it was a woman’s garage, upriver. There were three of us.

When we finished talking about the vice-presidential debate and the fly and who sent it (RBG?), we talked about a great-aunt who caught the covid in a dental chair and the old farm couple who did a reverse mortgage and now their 10 acres of trees and knolls are being cut and leveled to make it enticing for development.

Our sighs were heavier than the construction equipment. Have you ever wanted to own a potato gun or a cannon so you could fire into the air every time a backhoe or bulldozer shifts into reverse and does that squawking BEEP BEEP BEEP? Do they honestly believe we’re not aware that a giant machine is about to back over us? Is the BEEP BEEP BEEP a federal regulation created to deafen us so we can’t hear election results?

If you want looping conversation, sit in the garage on a hot Friday afternoon with three women who have had it up to here with most everything.

For instance, a longtime dear friend just outed himself. As a Trumpateer. It’s one thing to gigglesnort when someone tells you they think Trump is doing a good job, it’s quite another when it’s your friend who has saved you and been saved by you. When you go back years, and more years before those, of sharing stories, food, money and secrets, you know you’ll permit almost anything from that friend.

Any girl in her right mind would ask him courteously and with amusing eyes, “Oh, why? Are you treating yourself to conspiracy theories? May I call you dear just this once?”

Yes, but hurry, he would say.

This friend is a two-tour Vietnam vet, once as a soldier, once as a Marine. He gets lots of PTSD room and needs every inch of it. We treated him like a rare orchid for a long time, you know, didn’t throw him a surprise birthday party or leave him out in the rain too long, at least not alone.

He’s borderline brilliant, unsettlingly philosophical, annoyingly intolerant, suspiciously holy and funny as a puppy. But he wears law and order and superiority and entitlement as though they were tattoos that might jiggle but will never fade.

The question is, do I love him unconditionally the way I always have, or must I marinate him longer? Why? I don’t understand this kicky society with a stunted immune system, either.

I asked the womens.

“You need to shun him, stay away, don’t let his buttoned-down thinking rub off on you.”

“You need to understand him, be patient, look into the distance so he’ll believe you.”

“You need to eat at the Low Gap Café with or without him.”

What we know is we’re all in that every four years dilemma of talking more nonsense with friends and relatives and strangers who don’t agree with us, trying not to slam our mental roadgraders into reverse.

We can do this. We already know that we’re experts at emoting pre-election jitters. And we know that whether a candidate, any candidate, is worthy or not, it’s not about them, it’s about us.

I truly hope, for all of us, that Gabriel’s horn doesn’t have that reverse beep.

Just play The Eyes of Texas.

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