Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Paddle Faster. I Hear Banjo Music.

I saw that on the bumper of a Jeep in front of me at a stop signal at lunch time while I was out on some errands. I'm not sure what it meant, but can probably guess and if I were Ned Beatty I'd keep the windows rolled up and the doors locked at the traffic lights.

The car next to the Jeep was the puzzler. It was a red Hyundai of some kind (my daughter now drives one so I'm trying hard to learn all the flavors of their rainbow only to realize there are scads, believe me) which had a bumper sticker that read 'Buy American.' I looked to my left to see if the driver of that car got the joke, too, but he was alone with his thoughts in his prison on the road and then it occurred to me it might not be a joke.

I drive a vehicle usually thought of as Japanese but it was made, I believe, in an assembly plant in Indiana. I spent the Summer of '75 in Indianapolis and the people there seemed to be as American as, well, as American as you and me or the driver of the Hyundai (for all I know).

When you're approaching Indianapolis via the interstate the trick is to remember (I think; insert obligatory bad memory joke here) that it encircles the entire city so, depending on where you got on it, you can be traveling east in order to go west and vice versa. Don't pay that any mind, that's a mistake I made for a couple of months which got me very lost very quickly and I'd wind up in the corner of the state that periodically switched from Eastern to Central time for reasons I never grasped and without warning ever given.

You do not have to show your passport however, which is one of the ways I figure out where I'm not and when I'm not there. I did have to show my license proving I was over twenty-one to get served a beer in a cocktail lounge at Weir-Cook Airport (no, they didn't name it after Bob, I asked), which Pete F, from New Hampshire (all eighteen years and three months of him) thought was hysterically funny as the waitress had already brought him his beer.

He wasn't laughing quite so hard when I ordered a glass of milk after I put my license back in my wallet and had the waitress give Pete the glass of milk while I drank his beer, a Stroh's fire brewed draft if I remember correctly (and I do). That was the summer I also learned to drink beer fifty/fifty with tomato juice. I was young and the summer was very warm. I was crazy in the heat--that's as close to an explanation as I can offer.

Anyway, I'm not sure if the Hyundai is made on this side of the Pond or not and if it takes you where you need to go I'm not sure we're not talking difference without distinction. I never got the chance to ask the driver what the point of the bumper sticker was supposed to be or even where the bumper sticker was made. Remember that from a couple of years ago, one of those organizations handing out little American flags to 'encourage' patriotism (and discourage what they regarded as dissent) learning their flags were all from some off-shore sweat shop? Talk about a quiet night in the old sleeping bag....
-bill kenny

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