Drive Drive Drive

I think we need a “defensive narcissism” category on the blog.

But the truth is, at 57, I still delight in turning the key in my ’07 Mustang Shelby GT and feeling the thunder as its 4.6-liter V-8 engine explodes into life. I relish pointing it toward what little open road is left in this part of Texas and engaging in occasional immature outbursts of, shall we say, joyful exuberance. I revel in its sounds and its power and its mechanical sensations. And I accept its excesses.

I know that my days as an unrepentant gearhead may be numbered. Sky-high gas prices, global warming, urban sprawl, maybe even the “oil war” in Iraq, are all being piled on cars. Yet despite the growing drumbeat against them, the allegations that they’re melting glaciers and maiming thousands, the claim that we’re choking on them, the fear that they’re our worst national addiction, I love them dearly.

They are my “carma.” And I refuse to go on the national guilt trip about them.

The driver of a Saturn who prays each day it will make it through one more winter, I confess to several moments of blind car lust. My older cousin had a vintage Mustang (shove your ’07 version, Terry) and he and my grandfather fixed it up. I watched them, and knew from the way they touched and talked about it that it was a special thing, and thus it became beautiful.

Down the street from the ferret shelter, a guy is selling a kelly-green hotass of a car that could have rolled right out of a 1940s movie. I don’t know what kind it is; I’m scared to get out and look for fear I might end up writing down the number on the windshield and then we’d be off to the races. But the boxy and the green and the fins and the chrome … Mrowr. It probably sucks gas like a Hoover.

And I once saw a silver vintage Mercedes convertible with a red leather interior, driving slowly down the ‘hood’s main street on a warm autumn day. I wanted to rip the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands and run away with that car. Mostly because I was directly behind him and he was going about 6 miles an hour.

I bring all this up as a preface to saying that Terry is missing the point aggressively and often, talking about how loving our cars is something that shouldn’t be “taken away,” conjuring visions of angry bands of vegan environmentalists ready to break into our suburban garages and steal our precious automotive fluids. For fuck’s sake, Terry, nobody cares if you sleep in your car at night and rub it with baby oil and talk dirty to it. I might think it’s a little weird and sad, but you do whatever your inner spark plug tells you to do.

I simply think it might be nice for those who don’t want to drive not to have to, to be able to take a train or a bus. Ride their bikes to work. Why is it that “giving people more options than sitting on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper thinking about ways to kill themselves and everyone else within honking distance” is interpreted by people like this as “you suck for driving AT ALL, you filthy pig!” It’s like the faux-contrarian South Park Republican act: Oooh, you’re so daring for liking your car, quite the courageous person are you! You can almost feel the five-second pause at the end of each paragraph of this column, during which Terry expects gasps of surprise that he’s so brave, telling all those filthy hippies off and defending the honor of his automobile:

They envelop us in slick metal containers that supposedly say a lot about who we are. My Mustang shouts, “Short skinny guy over 50, seeking validation and maybe a couple of inches of height from a white muscle car with silver skunk stripes.” Baptists and senior citizens, meanwhile, drive Buicks. Republicans prefer two trucks in the driveway: an SUV for Mom to use as a soccer bus and a big $40,000 pickup for Dad’s power trips. Democrats favor anything nerdy in gray or white, and plaster their battered back bumpers with pious political stickers.

Right. Democrats are pussies. Got it. This makes me profoundly tired. Maybe I should go for a drive, see if that green thing is still for sale.

Idiocy via Kos.

A.

14 thoughts on “Drive Drive Drive

  1. My Mustang shouts, “Short skinny guy over 50, seeking validation and maybe a couple of inches of height from a white muscle car with silver skunk stripes.”
    Not “of height,” dude.

  2. Michael says:

    You’d think people like this would show just a smidgen of higher brain function…and realize that genuine alternatives to automobiles would clear up some road space and maybe making driving fun again for people like himself. I mean, geez: what’s the use of having a Shelby Cobra if you’re in a never ending traffic jam?
    Personally, the driving bug never really bit me…and several months working for Union Cab in Madison provided further inoculation (as did winter driving generally.)
    I’d happily choose ANY viable alternative at this point…and let road-hogs like Terry Box drive themselves to oblivion if that’s what they want.

  3. joejoejoe says:

    American conservatives enjoy faux outrage more than they enjoy their toys. Germany has $6.50/gallon gas, V-12 supercars, and highways with no speed limit and it’s in…Europe! Whining about the liberals taking away your sports car and driving fun is just so stupid. Why not just enjoy your own shit without attacking people who enjoy different shit or who want to drive a monster car AND support sensible transportation and energy policies at the same time?

  4. virgotex says:

    Democrats favor anything nerdy in gray or white, and plaster their battered back bumpers with pious political stickers
    Democrats are pussies
    Terry’s obv. never immersed his testosterone and gazolina-seeped head into the works of that pussy Dem, Bruce Springsteen, or listened to “Fast Car” by pious Tracy Chapman, or “Metal Firecracker” by that nerd, Lucinda Williams.
    We’d put on ZZ Top
    And turn em up real loud
    I used to think you were strong
    I used to think you were proud
    I used to think nothing could go wrong

    Romance is romance. Adventure is adventure. Speed is speed. And gas is just gas, Terry. Supply and demand isn’t rocket science, dipshit.

  5. joejoejoe says:

    Terry must think Bruce’s 396 was his GPA at Asbury Park High.

  6. Interrobang says:

    I’m probably about as hardcore as they come, realistically, when it comes to being a transit advocate and evenI don’t want to “take people’s cars away.” I would like to see, however, most people able to reserve using their cars for long trips, trips where they’re going to be buying large things, or that kind of thing. I’d really like it if those of us in the Great Unhorsed who didn’t live in a certain major metropolitan Canadian city could choose between two or three or four different modes of public transportation. I think every city of reasonable size, say 100K people and up, should have streetcars, a few buses for those hard-to-reach areas, and relatively high-speed interurban rail (something as fast as, say, the oldSouth Shore Line, that went 100 mph or so) so that the various systems would interline. I’d love to be able to get on a streetcar in Whitebreadville, motor on up to Hamtown, and then transfer to the GO train to get the rest of the way to Toronto. (Greyhound would hate it, though, because it would pretty much eliminate their business from here.)
    If such options were available, people like him might find it a real relief not tohave to drive sometimes. Even if you enjoy driving most of the time, most of the time is not all the time…

  7. pansypoo says:

    can i get a camry with a bench seat with springs? how about a diesel veggie 71 pontiac bonneville? i miss my nixon era delta 88s. i just want the couch and the old steering wheel. ok.

  8. Stormcrow says:

    Damn glad I never caught the car thing. Once it’s got you, it’s pretty much got you for good.
    OTOH, there’s a “computer thing” too and the folks at most risk, oddly are people who are now in their 50s. If somebody wore the paint off a slide rule in the 60s, he’s probably a hopeless computer junkie by now.
    Unrequited lust.
    PCs didn’t exist at all much prior to 1975, and the ones available up until the late 80s were junk for serious number crunching.
    But cars? Iadore my Prius.

  9. Ripley says:

    I worked on cars for a while, back in the day. 4.6? Ooooh, you’re bad, dude! So bad…
    I know that my days as an unrepentant gearhead may be numbered
    No, you’re a fucking pussy who thinks that the shit inside your head is just as bad as your old 4.6. (No offense, ladies.) “Listen to me! I’m talking about the olden days!” Fuck off and die, poser!
    “If I could kill a black or brown person and get away with it, well… Also, I don’t like the hip hop”

  10. BuggyQ says:

    Last night, they had a story on our local teevee news about the obesity epidemic. And all I could think was that the solutions to the gas crisis and the global warming crisis would also help with the obesity crisis.
    Walk more, bike more, get mass transit (which would encourage a little more of both the former), and the world would be a much better place.
    I know I walked far more when I was living in London than I ever have here, and it just seemed perfectly natural. Actually, the driving thing was more alien there than walking. Good subways, good buses, and a city that lends itself to that kind of transportation.
    As for the terrorized gearhead, dude, riding horses didn’t die with the advent of the car. People still do it for fun. What are you so scared of?

  11. virgotex says:

    I thought about this thread this morning- my commute is on a narrow two lane ranch road with only a few passing zones. My entire drive this morning, I was behind a seafoam-green Buick Regal with a ivory vinyl top. And get this: an impeccably preserved Carter/Mondale sticker. I figure the car must have been a 78 or 79.

  12. mdh says:

    Cars are women to the men who can’t get real women to talk to them.

  13. Interrobang says:

    riding horses didn’t die with the advent of the car. People still do it for fun.
    Man, I’d love to be able to ride a horse to work. :D Now there’s a utopian vision forya…

  14. “But the truth is, at 57, I still delight in turning the key in my ’07 Mustang Shelby GT and feeling the thunder as its 4.6-liter V-8 engine explodes into life. I relish pointing it toward what little open road is left in this part of Texas and engaging in occasional immature outbursts of, shall we say, joyful exuberance. I revel in its sounds and its power and its mechanical sensations. And I accept its excesses.”
    Puh-leeze. Me and my ’97 pickup will leave your shiny thing in the dust, boy. And get better gas mileage.

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