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Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012: THE DAY AFTER

wayne thiebaud


What a good day it has been getting the car upgraded in the morning with new tires, new plugs, new oil. The Catfish has been a pleasure to drive. Immediately after each one of those improvements the car feels better. All three at once made the drive afterward into some kind of heavenly transport, smooth all the way around. I think of the song by Queen, I'm In Love With My Car. I do love my car. 93 Buick Century with the 3300 v-6, an engine classic as the Nova slant-6 that has outlived the car bodies and continues as water pumps in undeveloped parts of the world. This 3300 I'm driving uses little to no oil, maybe half a quart in 3000 miles. My mechanic, Chuck Billings in Glade Valley, keeps it running smoothly. I told him the engine is running just short of perfectly; the occasional miss and the last time I pushed the gas pedal to the floor to pass somebody, it hesitated. I didn't like that. When he took out the plugs, he found the one that was bad. We replaced them all. I like having new plugs and good wires.

The Catfish is now running perfectly again. It felt so good on the road going home, I patted it on the dash and said, "Thank you, my friend." I love driving a car that runs as good as a brand new car, and making no payments. It's so old that replacement parts don't cost a whole lot. With all the clearcoat on the hood, top and trunklid flaked off, a couple of rust places, a couple of little dents, it is a car nobody would steal. I could leave the keys in it and never have a problem, even in Miami. I don't, but could. It's all go and no show. It would make a good car for a smuggler; it's so plain it's invisible. I love its design. It's one of the more beautiful car designs before they all started looking like they were made for wind tunnels---the F15 and the Stealth look. On the drive to Justin's house, on Little Pine Church Road, I see an Oldsmobile of the same period, a classic car body. The owner, like me, can't afford to doll it up with new paint and new trim, but he keeps it well and I have a strong suspicion he appreciates its style same as I appreciate my Buick's body style. It was a beautiful car design when it was new and it is now. I'd really like to lower the Catfish about 4 inches all the way around, but that would not be practical on mountain roads in snow and mud. For that it needs raised about 4 inches. It tells its age, but it doesn't date. It's what might be called a classic design. In my mind's eye I see it flawless and painted a lacquer gunmetal blue, no trim or words on it, just the design itself with chrome grille and red taillight all the way across the back.

Remembering back when I drove the 78 Toyota pickup I named Zen Zero. I called it a Zero because when I bought it the entire interior was stripped down to the metal structure, and a big hole in the seat where I sat required a cushion in it. It reminded me of the Japanese Zeros, the fighter planes of WW2. And I was playing with the O in Zen ink painting too. The driver's door was bad and I replaced it with a red door. The truck was blue. I found a couple of Nissan bucket seats for it that were easy to install, four bolts each. I had a friend at the time, Anna, who drove a Mercedes. One day when I saw her she said, "You still driving that trap?" I said, "I'll race you on the Parkway from Cherry Lane to Laurel Springs at 2 in the morning if you want to see what a trap can do." She could run away from me on an Interstate, but the Parkway's curves don't allow top end. It's like the difference between Talladega and Martinsville in a nascar race. The Toyota pickup had a good center of gravity and ran like a go-cart. Very light weight. On the Parkway the race would be all about maneuvering, and I knew the road a whole lot better than she did. I knew my truck better than she knew her car, too. I didn't say it, however, as a challenge, just using the light humor of exaggeration to say the Zero ran better than it looked. It was then about 12 years old. I loved that truck. Four on the floor and another classic motor, four-cylinder, that outlived the frame and the body.

The news came on the radio just now. Back to hearing about Boner in Congress. I'd hoped against hope the Dems would take the majority in Congress and shut Boner up, expunge his name from the news. McConnell too. But, no good gets done without opposition, so I welcome their opposition. The part I like best about the election results is that it was a sharp stick in the republican eye. Will they go on obstructing? Sure. They've become the New Dixiecrat Party. McConnell is the new Strom Thurmond and Boner the George Wallace. Keepin' the niggers down. Only difference is: the world is watching in the age of hi-tech. The republicans don't care if they're witnessed. After four years of nothing but divisive and disruptive politics, they didn't lose anything by it. Romney lost because he was a non-candidate like McCain. Republicans put Obama in both times by not offering any real opposition, just a couple of hand-puppet parrots. Now Sarah Palin is aghast that "a majority" of Americans would put the nigger in a second time. Donald Trump is calling for revolution. And Bugs Bunny is calling for Daffy Duck to get married in Massachusetts.

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