Monday, May 13, 2013

Glorious Noise Going Nowhere

     My broken Toyota pickup truck has been sitting in our yard for over half a year. I see it each day and think, my poor truck. It’s not my truck that’s feeling bad at all through. It’s just a motor vehicle with no feelings. Pathetically sitting there, covered with cobwebs and leaves that shows blatant age and stagnation, it’s going no-where and has no reason to go anywhere anyway. When I think how sad the truck looks, I might be thinking of myself. I feel like I’m just sitting still doing little more than whining.
     I haven’t exactly had a stagnant past 7 months. It’s only lately that I’ve felt burned out, like a car running on vapors sputtering and coasting. It has started to show in my blog. If you read last week’s lame entry, you know.
     And I just think, if only my truck was working… if I could just get out on the road in it, everything would be alright. I’ve been feeling bugged, burned out and bilious for awhile now, not all the time, but more frequently and for no apparent reason. I keep thinking that it’s because I need a sabbatical. That’s when I wish my truck was working. If only…
     I reminds me of a story where the prevailing thought was “If only the car was working” and “I just can’t wait until that car is done and then…”
     Back in 1985 my good friend Eddie had a car in the works. Works, meaning it was having a lot of restoration and body work done. It was supposed to be a stock 1967 Mustang Fastback. But the bored out 302 motor replaced the stock 289. It was rumored to have a limited slip differential too, not stock. Eddie and I dreamed of the day the car would finally be done. What frustrated us was how the shops doing bodywork and paint seemed to be taking their time.
Eddie had a road nemesis named Martin with a blue Dodge Dart. Martin provoked Eddie with his own souped-up hot rod acting like he was king of the road. We knew the Mustang would blow the doors off of anything existing on the road. Whenever I saw Martin in his Dodge all I could do was think, if only that car was working. And the months went by.
The summer of ’85 was young. The whole summer was. I was at the beach with a group of friends one morning. Then one friend’s eyes widened and he pointed. Pulling up in the parking lot was a dark metallic red 1967 Mustang Fastback. The engine sounded like artillery. Eddie was usually as cool as the other side of the pillow. Today was no exception as he casually stepped out.
We all were at the car in moments. The car’s vanity place said: 1Trick. Eddie drove me around the parking lot playing George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone. The inside of the car was clean and white. There were turn signal indicators in the reverse-facing hood scoops. Built in a year before they were the law, it had no seat belts.
Eddie let me out and took two girls for a ride. I followed in my dad’s Mazda sedan. At a shopping center parking lot, Eddie got out and I saw one of the girls bounce into the driver’s seat. They tooled around the parking lot and then headed out toward the avenue.
The universe, time, and space did a magic twitch of the hand at that moment and things came together. Looking right at the stop sign, I saw Martin in his blue Dodge. My first thought came automatically. I wish Eddie had his Mustang… Then like a hard dope-slap to the back of my head, the next thought came. Eddie does have his Mustang.
Eddie saw Martin too. His head was out the passenger window and he was calling Martin’s name in a long noise like a roaring volcano. Martin gunned the Dodge engine, answering the challenge.
No-one got out of Eddie’s car. The girls both tumbled backwards into the rear seat and Eddie dove into the driver’s seat. The One Trick vanished after him in a cloud of tire smoke. I figured they were headed to an empty stretch of highway to officially have it out. I didn’t bother to try to follow.
The center of our universe back then was the Ihop, so we waited there. Eddie pulled up in the Mustang a little later. The girls were quiet and dazed and went to the ladies room. Eddie sat and filled his coffee cup.
“Did you win?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Eddie didn’t sound that thrilled. He wasn’t being his usual cool self either. He looked a little disappointed.
I asked for details. In the cool of the restaurant, Eddie said that he had beat Martin in the race, but probably not in a quarter-mile. He had burned out for too long and the Dodge had gotten ahead. Posi-Track or not, he must have floored it right away and just sat there making smoke. Eddie eventually moved forward and got past the Dodge, but if it had been on a regulation track, it probably wouldn’t have been soon enough.
The excitement leading up the events may have been better than the actual thing. The best part of it all for me was the slap of realization that Eddie did in fact have the Mustang.  And in the years following, it made a great story to tell. I can still hear the sound of Martin revving the Mopar motor being drowned out by Eddie’s battle call. 
The bored 302 with chrome accessories

My lower half posing at the rear of the 1 Trick 

So here I am today, thinking that all could be made right if only this little pickup truck would move. I still don’t know if it’s the differential or a U-joint. One of the tough things about this is that the truck is not an essential in my life. I can’t justify an expensive repair for it if I can take the family van places.
But even broken, the truck has helped me a least this time to recall an awesome story to share and a truth to reflect upon. If I spin my wheels in exhibition and noise, I won’t move forward. Time to quit whining about the truck being broken and move on.

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