Tuesday, August 16, 2005


As coffee spills from a distressed disposable cup, the newspaper sections under your arm crackle and fall to the floor behind you ("She'll get it"). In the hurried pace assumed as you dash toward the garage, your Nextel deebeedeeps to life. "What do they want NOW???" The car alarm chirps, locks clunk. Access. The aluminum door shudders open, too slow it seems. Regardless, the tv commercials had it just right as you welcome daylight to lay its golden rays upon your glorious land jet. Hopping in, ignition braddadumm, brumba-brumba-brumba. Hands grip tightly the bespoke leather wheel. An aging back is comforted early A.M. by the gentle heat and barely audible buzz of hidden away magical fingers.A frantic corporate ladder-climber, you rapidly accelerate, in reverse, past the resting bicycles and soccer balls that litter the front lawn. The All-American, beef-infused raw power of your V8 rumbles on command. You FEEL it, then and there. YES! "But I'm late. Won't this phone SHUT UP? No honey, I CANNOT make it to your play tomorrow. I'm sorry. Your mother will be there. I have a meeting. Ask your brother. Isn't Auntie close by? Love you!" Click.

The scene is typical of modern American suburbia, and now even cities whose newish architecture is sometimes comprised of rowhouses with a first floor converted to parking for the "family car." It's that other member of the family, and deserves its own room as much as the humans.

You catch a glimpse of endearing suavete as your reflection beams off polished mahogany inlays. This is the look of success. "Traffic! What the...? When will they fix these roads!?!"

Now before you accuse me of being some automobile sabotaging greenie, wishing every highway was paved over to make way for wildlife paths and bicycle lanes, I must admit I love cars. The look, the sound, the mobility, the purported...freedom. But this comes at a cost. Being fully aware of that cost, now that's something else. In addition to these almost visceral attributes, there's insurance, parking, maintenance, traffic, and yes, fuel costs. Much of my early driving career was spent filling up with .89, .99 cent gasoline. Times were great. It was the mid-90s, we drove as we pleased. Traffic jams were something for "cityfolk," in Washington or New York or Los Angeles. Petersburg? Not a chance, except for the odd moment when a family of geese tried to cross the road from Wilcox Lake. Where they were headed, who's to know. All that mattered was that it stopped traffic, and I was going to be late.

Fast forward to August 16, 2005...a newspaper headline here in the nation's capital proclaimed "Gas Reaches $3.00 a Gallon" And Hell's Gates creaked from the pressure....

>To Be Continued....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

to be continued, eh?

i like your closing line-- "and Hell's gates creaked from the pressure...."

i'll be stealing that.

3:34 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home