Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two-Season Automobile

Breakfast of champions: Lean Cuisine Chicken Marsala with a side of … nothing. Followed by several handfuls of Lays Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, a touch of self-loathing, and some hard reflections on this ruinous diet. Most importantly, no coffee, as the gut rot from banging down two nacho platters and a sensible variety of alcohol the night before was maddening. Ah, the slippery slope. Some might consider a glad-handed visit to the local brewery after an evening laced with shenanigans to be idiocy. Not boastful, drooling, horn-dog idiocy of the kind I witnessed on the 1:53am rolling drunk tank from Grand Central, but a serious lapse of judgment nonetheless. And as much as I appreciate a well crafted Smoked Porter (as much as the next guy, I suppose), the drive to the house of hops is forever seared in my memory.

You see, my friend’s car is, at best, a two-season automobile. The vehicle comes unequipped with functional heat or air conditioning, a hallmark of the sub-economy option. The squeal of the brakes, another low-cost feature for the man looking to careen wildly into intersections and tanker trucks, would give any passenger “Deliverance” type fears (or flashbacks, in the worst cases). Thankfully, the good folks at General Motors offered him windows, doors, and AM radio inclusive of the sticker price. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I don’t mean to sound elitist, but the cheapest Toyota Yaris assumes its target customers expect some degree of basic climate control as a standard option (along with the FM band and a steering wheel). In any case, I’m sure the car runs like a dream in late May, but in eleven degree weather you can feel the brain start to become unglued, as tinges of madness ricochet happily from synapse to synapse.

Remarkably, the back seat doubles as a yawning graveyard for 20 ounce Diet Pepsi bottles, tossed haphazardly from the captain’s chair without warning or logic. Empty, full, leaking, there is NO discretion when bridging the divide between sanity and filth, separated meagerly by the always awkward center console. Imagine a six-pack of this poison drained ferociously on each hourly work commute, 120 ounces coating the stomach like caffeine cancer. A surly trucker might snort through a brick of cocaine while smacking the crap out of a hooker in a Travel Center of America restroom to achieve a similar degree of mental acuity. For me, a medium dark coffee is all it takes to clear the sleep from my head. I don’t need to run through concrete each morning to know I’m alive.

As for the recycling factor, it’s “drive at your own risk” when entering my hometown without blacked-out windows. After all, the “can man,” residing king of the dumpster dive, would snap necks for that kind of jackpot on four wheels. My buddy might as well be cruising around with the Hope Diamond dangling off his rear-view mirror and a ROBME vanity plate.


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