Can have

Hometown Donuts in Richmond

CHEAP EATS Me and Boink at the counter, aprons on, hands washed, ready to go ... "I've been looking forward to this all week," I said. "You're my new favorite person to cook with."

He looked up from his step stool with all the earnestness in the world, which seems to be his for the asking, and asked, "Do you love me?"

"I do, Boink," I said. And I kissed him on the head. "I love you very much."

He said he loved me too, and asked if he could kiss me. (So polite!) I said that he could, and he gave me a cute little peck on the cheek.

You were expecting what? Diarrhea? Well, I did get sick again. The thing about working with kids is that you wind up with every communicable disease in the world, on a daily basis, especially if you kiss them and eat food right out of their mouths, like I do. Gotta stop that. I'm getting sick of being sick.

On the other hand: I, your chicken farmer truly, bought a new (as in new new) car. Thanks to Boink, and Popeye the Sailor Baby, and Big Chunk and Little Chunk de la Cooter, and all their various and sundry parents, I can now afford to make me a monthly payment or two, or 60. And, yes, for the first time in my farmerly life, I am the proud driver of an actually reliable motor vehicle.

All the gears work and everything! Horn ... Check this out: it has seatbelts that actually lock when you get in an accident. And, most meaningfully to me, what with winter coming, you don't have to pop the hood and leave the vehicle to turn the headlights on!

How stylin' am I?

I know what you're thinking. You're going to miss my little tales of sitting on the side of the road for exactly 52 minutes, waiting for my old pickup truck to start, aren't you? I know I'm going to miss all the colorful people one meets in such a manner. Tow-truck drivers, police, drive-by mechanics, and so forth. Yesterday, out of habit, or nostalgia, or both, I stopped at my local car parts store. I bought a roll of paper towels.

My new pickup, which I named Alice Shaw after my hero, Alice Shaw, is the ever-popular Honda Fit pickup truck. Light blue, almost silvery. It's so beautiful I cold lick it, and often do.

Now I'm not a car reviewer, I know, but this Fit is the damnedest thing on four wheels. A miracle of modern engineering, it's the first car ever to be twice as big inside as out. Even more cargo capacity than my old Chevy Sprint! You can carry two bales of straw at once, and still have room prolly for a sack o' feed and a little load of scrap wood.

First thing I did, before I even drove it off the lot, I folded the back seats down. "Pickup truck mode," I said to the dealer, who nodded unknowingly and handed me my balloons, for the kids.

Then I drove around town looking for Dumpsters, playing with all the buttons, and just generally showing off.

"Wait till you put your first ding in it!" all my friends keep saying.

I don't know what they're talking about. I dinged the dang thing at the dealership, I was so nervous. I've never been in debt before, not even a credit card debt. Are you kidding me? I had to scratch the driver's door with my key just to get myself to sign my name.

The idea here, so you know, is to teach myself that I can have and might even deserve something nice in this world. Because I didn't grow up knowing that. You get so used to can't have that you forget how to even want. I thought of this a lot, last few months, dating married men, creepy redneck couples, and other unloveables.

My new blue beautiful car = can have.

And I tell you this now so I can say I told you so when you see me, one day, walking around the world with a loving, shiny, and reliable man. With a ding in one cheek.


My new favorite restaurant is Hometown Donuts #7.

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