Once upon stormy but not dark afternoon, I was driving back from managing a horse show, happily anticipating a hot shower and the cool, clean sheets of home, when traffic slowed, then came to a halt.
A big tree had blown down and lay mostly across the road. This being a country road, several country boys climbed out of their trucks, and began to Consider the Situation.
I climbed out of my truck too, and stood where I could hear these fellas.
“If I had my chainsaw, I have that sucker off the road in no time.”
“My brother-in-law has a winch on his duel-ly, but he’s up in Jersey this week. That thing would haul this tree clean into Frederick County.”
“We got a four-wheel-drive tractor at home, and it will move some tree. I guar-an-damned-tee you it will.”
Meanwhile, a few of the less prepossessing vehicles disgorged female drivers. The season being high summer, the fallen tree was fully leafed out. A gal who drove a Prius began to snap off the smaller branches from the topmost part of the tree, which lay a-thwart the shoulder.
Back at the trucks, Blue Ford F150 allowed as how his missus would bring him his chain saw, but she was still at work. The other gents, inspired by this swift thinking, got out their cell phones. Alas, we were in rural Maryland and in the shadow of a mountain. No signal to be had.
By now, several ladies were ripping away at the hapless tree, carrying stray limbs from the travel lanes, busting off other limbs as best they could with their bare hands and shod feet.
Dodge Ram said he had a buddy who lived not two miles off. The buddy enjoyed the distinction of having a brother who belonged to the local volunteer fire department, and surely, surely, that fine organization would know what to do about a fallen tree.
Ms. Prius and her cohorts had relieved the tree of much foliage and many smaller branches by this point. Their efforts revealed that by crowding onto the shoulder, a car might be able to scoot around, provided its tires could negotiate a couple of not-so-large branches, and its paint job could endure a close encounter with wet leaves and twigs.
The ladies got back behind the wheels of their vehicles (as did I), and the little Prius managed to get past the tree.
As the Prius drove off, the guys stopped talking. Another pee-pee car came tiptoeing around the tree. When I nudged my Tundra past that tree, the guys were heading back toward their respective trucks.
Does this situation point to a difference between male and female problem-solving? To the differences between people who drive trucks and the people who drive pee-pee cars?
I like to think it might. The guys were focused on solving the public problem of a tree in the road, the ladies focused on the personal problem of being late for soccer practice (or whatever).
Or maybe the Prius lady was particularly determined, and no generalities need apply. What I was aware of, was that doing something to get me moving toward home, was more satisfying than jawboning about woulda-coulda’s.
This little twenty minutes out of a summer evening has stuck with me, though I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn from it. What do you make of it, and have you ever found yourself with a similarly tenacious, but not quite comprehensible memory?
To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy “Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.”