“You cannot!” No one says that phrase quite the same way my wife does. Certainly no one directs that phrase at me they way she does. Perhaps it’s that way for many couples. I had secured this response by suggesting I was heading over the gym. It’s a five-minute drive from here. “Haven’t you seen? There new are restrictions on driving. Even out here within the sixth ring road, cars can only drive every other day.” I pause and consider the fact that the local traffic “policing” is rarely very present. “Are you sure?” She’s sure. “They’re looking for violators.” I consider this. OK then.
Oddly, it’s a fairly clear winter morning. And, it would seem, I’ve already transgressed the new restrictions. I was over there at 8:30AM. The school guard said that today, they weren’t going to open till 10:00AM. “Really? Are you sure?” “Why would I say it if it weren’t true?” I couldn’t say anything intelligent back to that and drove home, intending to return.
Now it appears I “cannot.” I could bike over in the cold or catch a cab but at this point my resolve is fading. I’ve done my calisthenics. That’ll do. Tomorrow then. Think of all the work I can now do. I suppose I can’t complain that the Mandarins are taking action. The sort of action that would be almost impossible to legislate on short order in a U.S. city without a Chris Christie-like rogue move: traffic is hereby altered by fiat.
My wife has something to do across town and I share a ride with her in a cab that has a proper odd number plate for the day. I have a meeting at the local Starbucks and get off after the first mile. Afterwards I walk back home. It isn’t far and the weather is pleasant. But the DHL man calls. “I’m here.” If I want to get that package sent, I’d better hustle back. He doesn’t want to wait for more than ten minutes and he won’t be able to return tomorrow. “I cannot.” I put on some old Isley Brothers, straighten up my posture and walk swiftly.