LUCY BURDETTE: I "met" Kathleen George when I read her wonderful novel, THE ODDS, which was nominated for an Edgar for best novel. Her sixth novel, SIMPLE, is out now. And she's visiting JRW today to talk about how characters sometimes appear...in real life. Welcome Kathy!
I love a hunk.
I have a new car, a Honda CRV, both taller and wider than my old Accord. The sightlines are different, too. I’m still getting used to it. The other day I drove it into my parking garage at Pitt. And I found a space but there were big cars all around not to mention a wall to my left and a fence to my right, making for an awkward turning angle.
I’ve been aware that over the years cars keep getting bigger and bigger but the parking spaces have not been expanded.
This parking challenge would be nothing to a person living in France. Those French drivers steer SUVs into postage-stamp-sized spots. But I was game, unfortunately. I swung in and heard a stomach-sickening crunch. I turned to my left to find the driver side back door was attached to the wall. All I knew was that my new car and the wall were meeting.
I thought, if I go forward or backward I will rip the whole side of the car.
I walked to the Grounds office located in the garage where only one man was working. T-shirt, tattoos. I said, “I’ve driven into a wall. I think I need a wonderful driver to help me figure out how to minimize damage.”
He didn’t hesitate. He followed me out to my car. I believe he clapped his hands to his head when he saw the problem.
I said, “If we had eight or ten strong people, we could maybe lift the car away . . . “
He shook his head. There was no one else around.
“Let me get a jack,” he said.
I paced. I was due at a meeting. But he came back in seconds. He jacked up the rear end of the car and then he stood and pushed hard several times, heaving and grunting until he’d moved the car a foot away from the wall. I handed him the keys and without a word, he started it up and adjusted the car in the parking place.
He could have made me feel dumb but he didn’t. I offered him money, but he refused. I saw that my only damage was a zigzagged scratch on the rear door—nothing compared with what would have happened without my hunk.
I went back the other day to look for the guy. I asked his name. I figured he shouldn’t be nameless. I said to him, “I’ve told everybody how great you were and that you could have made me feel stupid but you didn’t.”
He said, “It could have happened to anybody.”
Lowly? Not in my book.
Well, maybe in a future book—as a character the reader will love.
And she's here to talk with us today!