Monday, September 16, 2013

Seven Minutes Without Shade

Must be a sign of the times. Someone stole the sunshade out of the car yesterday. They did not take anything else – quarters on the console, books on the back seat, beach towels left by my son, an old Sunday paper – but they did jack the shade.

I think the shade qualifies as one of those things people don’t want to spend money on, but see the benefits of owning. It’s still summer after all in Tucson, and shade has value. It’s also an energy saver. The cooler your car, the less AC you need once you start driving. It also saves the dashboard from "photo degradation" i.e. sun rot, solar energy run riot.

I understand why someone would desire that sunshade, that brand-new, still shiny, fully reflective, high-tech fabric, pop-open sunshade -- from Costco -- the best sunshade I’ve ever had, a jumbo sunshade, the likes of which I may not be able to afford again any time soon. 

There should be a summer commandment for the state of Arizona – thou may covet, but shall not steal thy neighbor’s sunshade, especially in times of summer solstice, stock market surges, Syria nerve gas, rising deficits, state budget shortfalls, job insecurity, food riots, high gas prices, high food prices, inflation, international recession, age spots, sweaty shirts, hope hanging by a thread, global warming, hot September in Arizona, bad summer movies, bad fall movies, cultural illiteracy, holes in socks, in short –  an end to the world as we know it. Of course I’m not reading too much significance into this sunshade or anything, or so I thought as the interior of the car continued to heat up in the muggy 100+ air.

I thought about putting a piece of cardboard or something over the windshield but I had no way to fasten it, and with these monsoon winds, it would likely just blow away, get soaked by a monster chubasco, and get plastered up against a fraternity fence. I then considered my work-out shorts, realizing they would not only provide shade but would be styling on the windshield. I had to nix that because some of the co-eds at the sorority would likely admire them too much, and, thinking they were my son's, run away with them.

I sat, just for another moment or two, and wondered what I had at my disposal. I looked in the trunk, lifted the hood, checked the inflation of the tires, searched beneath the car, looked in the back seat. I found one of my son’s beach towels and decided to put it on the dashboard.  There, I thought, that would at least protect the dash, give it a little more time before it cracks under the weight of photons and political crisis. That would do nothing, however, for the radiant heat pouring in through the windshield. The car would become an oven if I left it that way, probably pushing up to 130 degrees or so.

Then, arising from some distant universe of inspiration, of innovations under duress, the idea of putting a beach towel on the windshield and anchoring the ends by closing them in the doors popped into my head. I opened both doors, hung the corners of the towels over them, closed the doors slowly so the draft would not blow them away, and then put the base of the towel under the wiper blades. Eureka! It worked.

I guess that’s the way it’s going to be for a while. Make do with wits and what you’ve got.

Hmmm. What we need, more now than ever, is education that generates creative problem solving.  That’s our ticket to our survival, that and shady car characters.

1 comment:

  1. i always think the guys that use that towel trick can't spring for a $10 dolla sun shade and now I nose i've bin right. And you should check out the ciriculum of the waldorf school if "What we need, more now than ever, is education that generates creative problem solving." Make a positron out of you.