Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oben Ohne on the Interstate

We had on Tuesday here across Southeastern New England (I think that means we wash our clam chowdah down with mint juleps or perhaps add Jack Daniels to our coffee milk), the most perfect beginning to a summer you can have. It was bright and sunny but with a light breeze, high clouds for most of the day that thickened up towards evening as the humidity started to climb and we all started to look forward to a little rain to take the edge off. Some of us prefer pharmaceuticals.

As I drove home last Thursday I was behind a 1959 Studebaker Hawk Grand Touring Coupe as we headed over the Pequot Bridge into Uncasville. Tuesday afternoon I had the topless car guy leading the way. That probably requires more explanation-not as much as Paul Reiser for The Onion but close.

Someone in a recent vintage Saab (I love this model but am not wild about this one) with the top down, slid in front of me as the two turning lanes became one when we made the left. I have mellowed in my senility about people who drive like A-holes mostly, I suspect, because until recently I was their king. I've now decided there are two types of drivers on the road surrounding me: morons (the ones who drive slower than I do) and maniacs (the ones who drive faster). It's a torture to be the last sane man on the road but I wear it proudly because I got the Mercury Blues.

This guy should have been so lucky. In addition to having the top down on a model by half of all the car companies based in Scandinavia he was wearing a visor with a side order of burnt to a crisp scalp to go on the side. Carlin is right; half a hat is utterly pointless. And wearing any hat in a vehicle with no roof is not even counter-intuitive; it's like wearing a raincoat in the shower.

Off he zipped over the bridge, driving in a manner that gets you a lot of attention (the voice of experience typing here) even when you cannot understand why, past the cut off to the Mohegan Sun, conveniently located near the banks of the Thames so you can save time and throw your wallet into the river and skip the ambiance and anxiety. On any other day, I would have never seen him again-or to put it another way, I'd have seen him in the next five years as often as I remembered seeing him in the previous half decade (none).

But then a couple of miles later on 395 North just before the first of the Norwich exits (you'd think the Rose City was a megalopolis by the number of exits on 395) I caught up with him. I wasn't the first one; a trooper in a battleship gray Crown Vic with the 'No More Calls Please, We Have a Winner!" with the flashing Gum Ball Lights on the roof probably wanted to ask him how he was going about keeping the hair out of his eyes in that convertible what with only wearing half a hat and all, Cyril Connelly.
-bill kenny

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