I had such adventures yesterday. I found old friends and new ones. But, those wonders have to wait for an adventure I had in the early morning hours before daylight today. That adventure reminded me of the Southerner’s love affair with cars.
Often, I drive to my McDonald’s for the iced coffee turned into its hot version. The kids are not allowed to make special drinks, but they make one for me when nobody is around. Nobody is around on the streets at that time of morning. Except this morning. At a stoplight, there was what I think is called a “cube car” in front of me. It’s a little toy of a car that is really a tricycle with a cartoon body laid down on top of it. I swung over to the next lane. I have encountered cube cars before, and they frighten me because they belong to a new age that I don’t understand.
I come from a generation of muscle cars…big and small. They all shared one essential characteristic. They would get up and go. It is becoming nearly impossible to find one now. We even owned a restored 1955 Thunderbird with buttery seats and a removable top. She was a beauty. And another brand new one for The-Boy-Who-Grew-Too-Tall. Pops bought that one for his grandson on the day the baby was born. We drove Ford cars from the first Mustangs down through time to the big cars when we grew up. We bought big Fords, Broncos, Lincolns, a Cadillac. We gave our cars names. “Come on, Lucy!”, as if she were real. And I think they were real. An extension of ourselves. A reflection of our personalities. Those cars were never just a “ride” as the kids say.
Now I am old. Too old perhaps for a big muscle car with “Street Racing Technology” built in. I took her for a trial run around the block while my husband chatted with the dealership owner. A young man rode with me. He looked half amused and half terrified. As we waited for the traffic to clear, he suggested that this car had a “lot of power”. His not too subtle warning to an old lady about the fishtailing she’d do if I stomped on the pedal. And, boy, would she get up an go. He was right and I was sold on old SRT8…even if I do still feel a little guilty for abandoning Henry.
You can even turn off the anti-skid feature if you really want to play. I have to confess that I have played a little in her. When I discovered that every kid in town knew what she was and wanted to race her at every opportunity, I took up a few of the louder challenges. Mostly, their souped-up cars were more revved-up bravado than anything close to zero-to-sixty bragging rights. I never took the free trip to the Penske Driving School that came with the SRT8. I wondered if anybody else took Penske up on the offer.
Just so you know the truth about me, I’m throwing in a snapshot of the brake dust on SRT8’s wheels. She’s lovely when her wheels are shiny, but that requires not a wash job, but what they call a full “detailing”. Somewhere inside this old woman the same reckless, impatient girl is alive still.