Rose and I operate under certain principles that we constantly keep in the back of our minds. They condition what we do, and how we respond to things. Some of the principles are very serious, and some serve only to underscore the delightful absurdity of life. One example of the latter is something we call “A David Lynch Moment.”
Put simply, a Lynch Moment is any life occurrence that seems to be plucked directly from a David Lynch film. Here’s an example: Last Thanksgiving, Rose and I were driving home from Cornell to visit her parents—it was the beginning of the university’s fall break. We decided, as we often do, to take a non-interstate route once we entered Ohio. It would take us about twice the time to arrive at our destination, but we use any excuse we can to go on a roadtrip. (Interstate driving doesn’t qualify for roadtrippin’.)
On State Route 44, somewhere south of Painesville (aptly named), we came across a car stopped on the side of the road. Since it was Thanksgiving Day there wasn’t much traffic on that route, so we decided to stop and be helpful. We were a little wary—you know, you just don’t approach strange cars these days—but we did it anyway.
As I approached the car, an older woman got out, slowly. At first it seemed like she could barely walk. She was wearing one of those plastic medical identification bracelets they give you during a hospital stay. “Are you alright?” I asked.
She had a flat tire and it turns out she’d just been released from the hospital, having undergone heart surgery. “My son was supposed to come and get me today, but I guess he’s already gone to the house for dinner. So I decided to drive myself home.”
We let her use a cell phone to call her son, who arrived about ten minutes later as I was changing the tire. He looked twenty-five or so. “You guys can go,” he said. “Bein’ from New York and all you’re probably in a hurry.” Well, we were now.
So we went on, slightly more awake, slightly more aware of the world around us, hoping that this kid had it in him to escort his mother to Thanksgiving dinner.