Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Boy toys


The first car I owned was a 1957 Hillman. It was brown and boxy and not at all “cool.” I looked very odd in it. I looked like a fifteen year-old kid wearing his grandpa’s shoes.

I got my first car when I was still a sophomore in high school. Actually, I wasn’t even old enough to drive legally and, trusting that the statute of limitations has passed, I will now confide that my mother sometimes let me drive my car – illegally – to the store to pick up some milk or get her a pack of cigarettes. (Back then, in the sixties, she had to give me a note for the cigarettes or they wouldn’t have sold them to me. No way.)

I loved driving that car so much I would actually try to split one trip to the store into two or three trips. You know, buy the cigarettes so she would be happy and relaxed and then admit I had forgotten the milk so I would have to go back.

Sometimes my mom would let me drive to 7-11 to get an Icee and a package of Hostess Sno-Balls or something. She was a great mom and still is. (Nowadays I go to the store and get her the odd box of wine without her even asking or having to give me a note.)

By the way, the price of gas at the time was around 25 or 30 cents a gallon. I’ll pause for a moment to let you absorb that.

From the Hillman I graduated into my dad’s 1966 Corvair Monza and after that I can’t remember all the vehicles I’ve owned in the ensuing forty-two years. I can probably remember most of them but who cares, really? I never did much care what I was driving. To me, it was always just transportation.

And now, for some reason I am at an absolute loss to explain, as Carolann and I are talking about downsizing, reducing our stash of stuff and retiring in a nice, manageable mobile home or something – now I own three vehicles and today placed a deposit on a fourth! I’m not kidding and look, I don’t intend to sell any of them!

I will literally have more cars than I have pairs of shoes!

We now have a pickup truck to carry my camper, a 33-foot motorhome and Carolann’s van which cost more than my first house.

Gas, for all intents and purposes, is $4.00 a gallon.

And that’s why today I made a refundable deposit on one of these.

Yes, I'm quite serious. It’s an electric-gas hybrid called an Aptera that will allegedly get 300 miles per gallon of gas.

But boy, am I ever going to look odd driving it.

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