Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hi. I’m back. After well over a year, I’ve added a new entry here.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to keep it up, but I’ve been posting more stuff to my SFF Net newsgroup lately, about various subjects, and it occurred to me that some of it should go here, too. Just in general I seem to be writing more, both pay copy and online rambling, lately. I’m not sure why.

From September ’03 to May ’04 I was on medication that made it difficult to write, which would explain part of the slump, and the present revival might just be finally really getting that all out of my system.

Or not. Human biochemistry is insanely complex and finicky; so is creativity.

Whatever the reason, at the very least you can read my love letter to my car.

“I’m in love with my car,
Got a feel for my automobile…”

Thank you, Freddie Mercury, for putting it into words.

For the past couple of weeks we’ve had several rounds of minor car trouble — flat tires, dead batteries, and so on. It seemed as if my car, Ariel, was always either in the shop, or being used by my wife because hers was in the shop. But we finally have everything fixed.

I went out to run some errands today. In my own car. With nothing needing repair.

It was lovely. I’d missed her.

I mean, Julie’s Buick is a perfectly good car, Julian’s old Lincoln gets you where you’re going in reasonable comfort, but Ariel is just more fun to drive. I opened the sunroof and the windows and cranked up the CD player — neither other car has a sunroof or CD — and just enjoyed movin’ down the highway.

One isn’t really supposed to feel this way about a minivan, especially not one that’s six years old. Consider this a love letter to Honda’s engineers for building my baby, and a paean to Isuzu for selling her to me.

I’ve driven a lot of cars since I got my license back in 1971, and the only ones that have come close to suiting me so well, in their very different ways, were Lorraine Wells’ ’64 Mustang and my own ’57 DeSoto Firesweep. (If Julie’s ’71 Toyota Corolla, Harry the Dirty Dog, had been a little roomier it would be a contender. At least, before the engine block cracked.)

There have been other cars I liked (Daphne the ’72 VW bus, or that Kia Sportage I rented in Providence), and cars I hated (Doris McKenna’s horrible little Ford Escort, the Kia Sephia some lying rental agency stuck us with, Neil Harris’ Mitsubishi minivan that gave me a backache just from riding to Baltimore), and cars I was indifferent toward (Julie’s ’86 Chevy Spectrum comes to mind); there have been cars I had a love/hate relationship with (like Pig, the Nissan Altima we rented for a week in California, which was powerful and responsive and comfortable and cornered so badly that Kiri learned some new obscenities when I tried to make a U-turn on a six-lane street on Coronado). I don’t think there’s ever before been a car I got this attached to, though.

I’d been thinking, awhile back, that once the kids are through college it would be time to replace our cars — but the more I think about it, the more I’m unable to think of any car I’d rather have than Ariel. She’s what’s made those twice-a-year drives to Iowa not just tolerable, but enjoyable.

So here’s to you, Ariel, my 1998 Isuzu Oasis LS! My silver-painted baby, with silly blue decals we put on so we could tell it from the other silver minivans.

I love you.