The Truth About Luck: What I Learned on My Road Trip with Grandma

The Truth About Luck: What I Learned on My Road Trip with Grandma by Iain Reid Read Free Book Online

Book: The Truth About Luck: What I Learned on My Road Trip with Grandma by Iain Reid Read Free Book Online
Authors: Iain Reid
more guttural grunt echo­es throughout the car.
    â€œI’m really sorry about this,” says Grandma. “I know I ate a bit too much, but I couldn’t have grown this much from lunch, could I? I shouldn’t have eaten so much. Sometimes I just can’t resist.” She’s starting to laugh now. “It’s from those little dandies.”
    â€œSorry, the what?”
    â€œThose doohickeys.” I’ve got my right arm all the way behind her seat now and am trying to work the belt from underneath. I can’t see her. “Those silly little wontons. I didn’t need them but I can never resist.”
    She’s giggling hard now; I’m fake-laughing harder. Her twitching torso is making this belt brouhaha worse. Another car has pulled up behind me. I’m getting flustered. “Why don’t you just drive, I’ll be fine,” she says.
    â€œWe better get you buckled in, Grandma.” I peer at the person behind me in the rear-view mirror. They don’t look annoyed or angry, more perplexed at what’s happening in the car in front of them to the little old lady with white hair.
    It’s when Grandma’s laughing subsides that I’m able to latch the belt. “There,” she exclaims, “you got it! Way to go, Iain!”
    Still concerned that she can’t breathe with the restrictive belt, I distractedly turn out into traffic. Grandma is still praising me. Instantly, we’re almost struck. I have no idea how I didn’t see the oncoming car, but I didn’t. It was very close. Maybe I was still thinking about the belt, the car behind me, or the wontons. The encroaching car is able to swerve nimbly into the left lane, narrowly missing the left side of my back bumper. Grandma doesn’t notice the near miss. She hears the horn blast, though. My heart is pumping.
    â€œWhat’s their problem? I hate those stupid horns.”
    â€œI know, eh. Just a jerk, Grandma,” I say. “Clearly he has an axe to grind.”
    â€œThose people shouldn’t be driving.”
    â€œYou’ve got that right.”
    Arriving at the next traffic light, I timidly pull up alongside the car I almost hit. I’m still rattled by the near miss. I look through my window and through theirs. The jerk with the axe to grind is a middle-aged woman with a deflated perm. She doesn’t look over at us but stares straight ahead pacifistically. She has a plastic yellow air-freshener in the shape of a foot dangling from her rear-view mirror.
    What a bitch.
    3:19 p.m.
    THIS WASN’T PART of the grand plan. We’ve stopped speaking. Not for any discernible reason. We’re just not talking. Silence isn’t usually bad in itself, but this one is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the heavy lunch. It could be all that greasy food that’s muzzled us. Or the realization that we’ll be spending every minute of every day, for the next five, together. Grandma’s half-whistling, half-humming meekly through her teeth. She’s thinking, Why has my grandson taken me on a trip when he has nothing to say?
    Without the distraction of chatter, my sense of smell has been heightened. I’m holding my nose high like a tentative marsupial. But I can extricate only two smells. My usual car smell: a mix of burning oil and metallic grinding. The second, more unpleasant smell is reminiscent of lunch. I’d been anticipating a third — old lady scent. I have no idea what old lady scent is, but I was legitimately concerned. I feel like most grandmas in their nineties would either smell oddly sour or, if they resorted to perfume, too flowery, too manufactured. Grandma is determinedly scentless.
    â€œHow about a goofball, Grandma? My treat.”
    â€œWhat’s that, dear?”
    While driving, even cruising, my car gives off a tremendous groan. The muffler is long-ago shot. I have to speak up.
    â€œA coffee. Would you like a

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