The Purpose

You lock the door after you leave and try the knob again to be safe, wondering who invented locks in the first place and the purpose for having one on a door nobody opens or tries to open but you.  Now, what if at your car the keypad on the door failed to take the numbers in correctly and would not open, would you bash in the window or unlock your front door and call the Ford Dealership garage and ask for Eddie who changes your oil every three months to see about what could be done?  But the combination does work and you glide into the seat and slide into reverse and float back out of the drive to the iron gates on wheels into your private community.

            How about now if you had clipped on your sun visor the wrong remote control?

            Then when you pressed the button the door on your garage, the one that rolls up now instead of swinging out, the one with three tinted windows across the top and craftsman style trims, that door would roll up instead of the gated community’s gate rolling open.

            You study the remote on the visor, try to decide if to press it will leave your house open to intruders or open your way to take to the boulevard.  “If the gate doesn’t open,” you tell yourself, “then the garage surely has, and, in any event, if the gate doesn’t open, I should have to turn the Escape around and return for the right remote so that the gate will open then.”

            It’s true, the remote on the visor is the wrong remote for the gate doesn’t budge.

            Then it does.

            What if you hadn’t pressed that button a second time, given it that one extra try, gone back to find the garage door still closed, found that it would not open at all with the damned stupid remote?

            But you did.  And now the gated community gate has finished its retreat to the right and you have changed gears out of reverse to roll through.

            “There is a whole wide world waiting for us,” you say to no one in particular, unsure about what you mean by “us” but unwilling to correct yourself.  At least not out loud with the car windows down when cruising out on the boulevard.  There would be no good purpose in that.  None at all.  But you do wish you’d brought the list to remind you where you were going.  Was it the store?  And if so, what exactly was it you needed to pick up?

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[after W.S. Merwin, “The Answer” from The Book of Fables]

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