The Color Red


I am seeing red this morning. Mostly because I am looking out the window at my car in the driveway.

I’ve parked it in the worry spot: the place where I regularly execute three-point turns to ensure its safe passage from the edge of my driveway onto the busy street. The same place where I cracked its rear bumper just two weeks after I purchased it, just two days after I received the registration and license plate in the mail.

According to Jewish folk religion, thresholds are dangerous places because demons can cross them, entering the world inhabited by humans and causing misfortune.

Standing in a doorway or under a huppah (marriage canopy) makes you vulnerable, unless you take certain precautions. It is also a well-known tenet of folk religion that loud noises and bright colors scare away demons.

My dad taught me many of these folk traditions—which some people disparagingly call superstitions—in my childhood, and I dutifully observe their attendant rituals as an adult, transmitting them to my own children. Every new car gets a red ribbon, either tied to the steering wheel or placed in the console. But I didn’t have one handy on the day I purchased the car.

I emailed a photo to my dad before I drove it out of the dealer’s parking lot.

“Nice color, isn’t it?” I asked. “It’s called Barcelona Red.”

His response included a quip about the vehicle parked next to it.

I thought I would be protected without the red ribbon. After all, the whole car is red.

Two weeks later, as I affixed my new license plate, I made a mental note to stop at Target for a red ribbon. But the demons had already infiltrated my home through the open garage door. I ran many errands that day, but forgot about the ribbon. Perhaps I should have tied a string around my finger.

The next morning, the demons would deliver a more permanent reminder:

Ignore their presence in your life at your own peril.


Comments (4)

i’m sorry to read about your car’s boo-boo but had to laugh about forgetting to buy a ribbon to protect it! i find myself forgetting more than i remember these days – one of the unintended consequences (see my blog post today, lol!) of getting older!

Oh, Lisa, I could have just as easily blogged about how my distractibility–surely an unintended consequence of my age– led to the boo-boo. I guess that’s another blog post… I loved your post this a.m. & will share it on FB.

Oy, oy, oy. So sorry, my co-superstitionist. I do hope for brighter, red-ribboned days ahead for you and Barcelona Red.

Oh, I’ve gotten used to the “no-longer-new” look of the bumper. I think it gives the car “character.” Did I mention that the friend whose car got the matching bruise parks down the street now? I have to be grateful for his reaction when he saw it, though. He suggested that I ask Mr. Ellison at the body shop whether he could apply Frankenstein stitches to the gash!

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