Thursday, June 25, 2009

car day

In the course of an ordinary day, I do not come even close to the inside of a car. Today, therefore, was most extraordinary, in an ordinary sort of way.

Ed’s 93 Geo finally required mechanical intervention. I think Ed believes this little clump of rusted metal is like an old person – crinkled and tattered on the outside but full of vim and spark once you poke around a little. So, the mechanic poked and aligned and pronounced it ready for the next spell.

I motorbiked with Ed to pick it up. (Looking around the garage, I could understand why the mechanic does well with Ed's aging cars.)


Ed then roared home (all motorcycles, in my mind are loud; even his tiny Honda -- which is so small, that his knees poke up when he’s on it, as if this was merely a toy, leftover from boyhood), while I drove the Geo back to the condo to pick up my bicycle. From there, I drove on to the farmette where Ed and I spent time spiffing up and making adjustments to my daughters’ 93 Corolla (daughters are coming for a brief week-end visit) and cleaning out the 93 Geo as well. Two wrecks to work with. Fun.

When it was time to bike, Ed remembered that he had left his bike at the condo. And so I drove the Corolla home.

I write this because I felt so depleted zipping from one place to another by car. And I wondered why this was the case.

Indeed, I asked myself -- if I had a car and loved it (say a Smart or a Mini C), would I feel differently about driving? I don’t know. The only car I ever loved was my first – an old Volvo that I purchased when I was a student. That car spelled freedom from the city (I lived in Chicago then). I drove it to Wisconsin, many times. And to New York. And to Canada. I drove it until it dropped oil at the speed of a salad dressing pouring out of a bottle. All subsequent cars were modestly priced and terribly functional. Nothing to love, nothing to pamper.

And now? I find city driving boring. I find highway driving even more boring. Even if I had cash spilling out of my pocket at the speed of that very same salad dressing, why would I spend it on moving along corridors of boredom?

Wait. Was this my day? A drive from one corner of Madison to the next and back again, twice over?

No no. In between, Ed and I put up more photos at my favorite café. (Ancora in Fitchburg, if you are curious. I love their space, their patio and their enthusiasm; the coffee’s wonderful as well.) And now we’re done with that. The photos will be there for three months. Don’t rush to see them – most have made an appearance on Ocean at one time or another. But I have to say, it is beyond cool to sit at one’s favorite café and look up at a photo of sheep from the Isle of Skye. Hi sheep! Here you are now. In Fitchburg, Wisconsin.