Day 580: Back in Hackensack

Laetitia’s selected destination for this day was Hackensack, in the most urban part of New Jersey, opposite New York City. Between Red Lion and Hackensack were Newark and Jersey City, and Laetitia decided to avoid the traffic snarls that those high-population areas were likely to have and skirt around them to the east. They made an intermediate stop at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge before proceeding on to Hackensack.

At the table next to Laetitia’s barstool during happy hour in Hackensack, there were several men who seemed to be into car restoration. Their talk ranged from details about their cars to the latest excursion that their club had made to upstate New York. Then the conversation shifted to Marge, who owned a local shop that restored old cars. In keeping with the antique car theme, her shop was decorated in the style of the garages of fifty years ago, and when she and her mechanics worked under a car, they jacked up one end or the other and slid underneath on a creeper.

Laetitia smiled. The phrase “works on her back” isn’t used very often today. When Laetitia was a child, she had heard some of the elder members of the extended family use the terminology to describe women who offered love for sale. The phrase has gone the way of the Model T Ford, like “grass widow,” the term James M. Cain used to describe Mildred Pierce, his married female protagonist with an absent husband. Today, though, the phrase and Marge’s old-fashioned style of auto mechanics gave Laetitia her required limerick.

Word soon got around Hackensack
That Marge mostly works on her back
But she doesn’t cruise bars
She just rebuilds old cars
At her car shop that lacks a grease rack.

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