Sunday, November 12, 2006


This afternoon, I'm going to head down to Orange County to attend a concert. A friend is performing, and I'm anxious to hear what he's going to do.

But first, a trip to the coin-op car wash. Since the ride I was supposed to have is languishing in a car hospital somewhere -- reportedly with a missing headlight and severely wrinkled fender -- I borrowed a car from another friend, and it has not, to my knowledge, been washed once in this century.

This guy's a bit strange, Jim. He owns cars (nine, or maybe ten) that many of us would love to own, yet each one of them is in one way or another a junker. One is totally immobile, and has been for years; another is in pieces in his garage, and will probably stay that way for all eternity.

I vividly recall taking one of them to a classic-car event for him. I was stopped on a hillside waiting for the light to change when I felt the brake pedal begin to move toward the floor and we began to roll least the handbrake still worked. Sort of. I'm amazed that I noticed, as I was half in the bag from breathing gas fumes (a small but significant leak in the tank) anyway.

He spends thousands of dollars annually with a specialist mechanic to keep his menagerie running. I know; I help him shuttle cars up to the shop on average twice a month. For all that money and time, most are still barely roadworthy.

Take this one (please!), which is one of his "daily driver" cars. Not only is it dustier than Tut's Tomb, but it needs, at minimum, new shock absorbers, some major suspension repairs, a new exhaust system (I drive it with the windows down) and hours spent with an oil can and various screwdrivers and wrenches de-squeaking and tightening loose bits that rattle like crazy.

It's too bad, really. I like the car, and wouldn't mind owning it if I had the time and money to basically rip it apart and reassemble it correctly. It wouldn't even take that much money. But for a guy like him, who loves cars and yet is mechanically insensitive and clueless, it's just fine.

I don't understand people like him. He hangs out, as I do, with people who lavish more-than-average care on their wheels, belongs to a club devoted to his particular favorite brand, regularly sees vehicles just like his that actually start, run, stop and ride like Real Cars. The lessons never sink in.

But I know I'll get to the concert and back. I can drive anything. And I'm proving it today.


lowandslow said...

I wish I had the mechanical talent to restore a classic old car. Nothing extreme...not even a true classic. Maybe just an old Mustang or Camaro or Chevy Nomad, dare I wish for an old Triumph or MG TC?. Unfortunately, I'm just a casual driver, not a fixer-upper.

likeisaid said...

LOL, this sounds just like Paul's car. :)

HarpO'Fly said...

Take a walk on the wild side---se how the other half lives.

I'm trying to picture this scenario. No matter how I look at it, this is funny.

I can picture you parking on a hill with a brick in front of the wheel for a brake. Push start and brick stop.