Friday, June 20, 2008

So that's what Sirius means? You dog!

I drive a reasonable amount--tied to my being a Child of the Sixties when gas was cheap (Getty actually sold only one grade of fuel, premium, and it cost 35 cents a gallon (umm, when did they do away with the cents key on the computer keyboard? I can't find it-the dollar, $, I got it-right above the 4, but the cents is gone. Are gone. Am gone. Sic transit keyboard symbol.)) and was regarded by many of us of that era as a birthright. Look at the hot cars of that era, Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, GTO, Malibu SS, Charger, Wildcat, 442 and Barracuda....'good mileage' NEVER appeared in the advertising copy. Trust me on this one. Two certainties in the Sixties-stay away from the brown acid and don't fear the pump.

Bad habits, especially old, bad habits, are hard to break. So I still drive a lot. I have a better stereo now than I had back in the day when 8-Track players ruled the dashboard. All I can say about them thirty-five years on is that they seemed like a good idea at the time. I still have a player and recorder in a box in my basement (a Panasonic brand, as I recall-a multi-voltage model able to accommodate 110 volts at 60 cycles and, by swapping out the capstan, also 220 volts at 50 cycles. Right after hallucinogenic drugs are legalized, I'll make some nice money on e-bay, or not-especially looking at the price of shipping 45 eight track cartridges to some lucky owner, 30 bucks, ow!). And little then, or now, is better than getting your Drive on and cranking the sounds--assuming it's more Springsteen than Manilow and more AC/DC than Air Supply. But to each his own, I suppose (except in my car).

I spend a large amount of time behind the wheel talking to other drivers--technically, it's probably called swearing or muttering imprecations in their direction. I am, like most auto-Americans an obliviot once my right hand turns the ignition key. The only one in my universe is me, I and everyone else is cautioned. I scan my sector constantly and don't drive too fast or too slow (Goldilocks' Driving Academy closed before I was born), check my mirrors on a regular basis and watch the following distances.

As I mentioned, I'm not especially generous in my interactions with others behind their wheels and find myself asking aloud often, far too often suggests my wife over the tunes, what was he thinking? I don't really expect an answer and since I am at least half the time responsible in some way for the other driver's actions, it's just as well I never get an answer--but, at least in theory, I could ask and receive.

Yesterday on 395 South, I saw a husky dog, maybe a malamute or perhaps a small pony, I'm not sure exactly what, with her/his (?) head out the passenger's side window of a white Toyota Solara convertible (with the top up)--wind whistling through her/his umm, fur, its snout pitched forward and the sides of her/his mouth rippling slightly as the air rushed through her/his partially opened mouth. Why do dogs not merely like to stick their heads out of car windows, they LOVE doing it? All the 'fetch' in the world, all the belly rubs, all the 'who's a good boy?' in that stupid cartoon-voice humans use when speaking to a dog, all of that aside--I don't care how carefully trained the animal is, or the history and pedigree of breeding that resulted in its existence. Doberman, Dalmatian, Dachshund or Great Dane--open a car door and your dog calls shotgun.

I'd love to know what is going through their heads but suspect it's more towards 'damn! This is why I chase em! as opposed to 'Clay Aiken! Crank it!'
-bill kenny

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