I’ve been thinking about muscle cars. My wife might start driving again soon, and it might be convenient to have a second car. I grew up in the seventies cruising Main Street in Joplin when gas was 51 cents a gallon. I might have occasionally raced another car or two. So sometimes I like the idea of going fast, or at least the ability to go fast. The Explorer doesn’t give quite the same experience.
Sometimes I like to go fast. It’s that simple.
In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through the mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway nine,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected, and steppin’ out over the line
H-Oh, Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
It’s a nice fantasy. But alas, I am not in the midst of midlife crisis. As my wife said, “YOU are NOT midlife – you are not going to live to 108. Face it, you’re old.” (“Yeah, if I am that old, let me tell you just why,” I said to myself.) Since I typically drive Fords, I sat in a Mustang recently while getting an oil change. Disappointingly small. No room to move with steering wheel between my knees. No visibility either for a tall person. Muscle cars used to have some size as well as power. The specs on the Camaro are even worse. Sigh.
Size matters. I’m a big guy and when I was running ultramarathons, I was generally the largest person out there…way over any Clydesdale division. I was certainly the biggest finisher in those I finished. I was also one of the slowest finishers, if not the slowest finisher. Plodding from start to finish like many hikes and forced marches. Or crawling. I crawled a quarter-mile uphill to finish one race. That sucked.
The first time I ran a marathon, before the race we were waiting in an elementary school to keep warm. A local reporter was working the crowd, looking for personal-interest stories. He saw me and came over.
“Excuse me, sir, may I ask why you are here? You , uh, ahh, don’t really look like the other runners.”
“Do you mean because I’m big?” (Big grin on my face. I did that more often when my face was symmetrical.)
“Yes, but I didn’t want to say that.”
Yeah. Big and slow most of my life. Not always heavy side, but rarely on the skinny side. Always slow. So the idea of going fast sometimes appeals to me.
And then there’s this.
Oddball (Donald Sutherland) in Kelly’s Heroes (1970):
Oddball: This engine’s been modified by our mechanical genius here, Moriarty. Right?
Moriarty: Whatever you say, babe.
Oddball: These engines are the fastest in any tanks in the European Theater of Operations, forwards or backwards. You see, man, we like to feel we can get out of trouble, quicker than we got into it.
Yep. I want to feel like I can get out of trouble quicker than I got into it.In part, it’s my Anasazi heritage. If I ever decide to disappear without a trace, I want to be able to do it quickly.
Finally though, I’m kind of utilitarian. I can’t quite remember seeing a muscle car with a trailer hitch. Or kayak racks. Hmm.