A funny thing happened on the way to the bookstore

Life gave me a present on April 13, in the form of a large, unidentified object that turned my windshield into abstract art. I didn't immediately recognize this as a present. I was going about 50 miles an hour in the center lane of a major highway, so my first reaction was to cope. Keep the car in the lane; look for a place to pull over if needed; but get out of the area, in case someone was deliberately throwing stones at my temporary glass house.

When I realized the windshield wasn't going to crumble immediately, and that the worst damage was on the passenger's side and didn't obscure my view of the road, I kept going. I was on my way to sign You've Got Murder at Mystery Loves Company in Baltimore, and was already short on time due to a huge traffic backup caused by workers sweeping up broken glass in another part of the same highway. (Don't you hate those days that suddenly acquire themes?)

I tried on fear and relief and anger and a dozen other emotions during the remaining half hour of my drive, but by the time I arrived at Mystery Loves Company, I'd settled into blissfully happy. The stone (or whatever it was) could so easily have hit just a little harder, and come through the window, and what if it had hit the driver's side, instead of the passenger's side? I could have spent the rest of Saturday by the side of the highway, or in the hospital, or in the morgue; and instead, I got to spend it in a bookstore, signing books, talking with intelligent people about books and life, and petting an appreciative bookstore cat. And it didn't rain on the way home, so I didn't have to test whether the windshield could survive being wiped. I treated myself to some pages of a favorite author over dinner at a favorite restaurant (within walking distance), and instead of fretting about what's going to be involved in replacing the glass, I just made a note on my to do list for Monday.

I really appreciated the mood change. The week before, between a heavy writing load and the final stages of the annual scavenger hunt for tax documents, I'd been getting just a wee bit grouchy about everything. But after surviving the windshield adventure, I found myself bubbling over with that sappy, isn't-it-glorious-to-still-be-on-the-planet feeling. Which doesn't last forever, but you enjoy it while you can.

And on Monday, I discovered that auto glass repair shops make house calls. Cool! So the spider web is gone, but here's what it looked like. (Click on the small photo if you want to see the full-sized version)