Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Square Peg - Car Talk

Car Talk
Copyright S. Bradley Stoner

I don't like new cars. There are several very good reasons for this. New cars are "high-tech. They have brains. They talk. That's okay for TV shows, but there's something fundamentally wrong with a vehicle that complains. Dulcet tones or no, I don't like a car that tells me to, "Fasten your seat belt." A dashboard speaker that informs me that, "You're exceeding the speed limit." A tape recorder that gives the alarm, "You're following too close!" A mechanical device that nags, "You're low on fuel." God invented Emily for that, and she does it so much better.

Another thing, have you ever tried to work on a new car? Who makes those things anyway? Better yet, who designs them? The engine compartment is shrink-wrapped. Only a factory trained leprechaun can work on the "power plant." Old cars have "motors" that anyone with half a brain and a socket set can tinker with. You don't tinker with "power plants," you adjust them. You fine tune them.

These new cars aren't cars at all. They're "precision engineered automotive transportation." This is German-Japanese-American double talk which in reality says, "Do-it-yourselfers, touch this and it will self-destruct." These people don't want you to work on your own car anymore. They want you to sit in the waiting room of a "Service Center," stare blankly at the Game of the Week, and smile as some technician parts your hard earned dollars from your worn out wallet.

Not me. I own a dinosaur. A '66 Cad Sedan de Ville. You won't see my passengers sucking their kneecaps. No sir! It understands the loving touch of my old socket wrench set. It has nuts and bolts, not "fasteners." And if one of them is stubborn, a little gentle persuasion with a 26 ounce ball peen hammer won't reduce it to German-Japanese-American-Silicon Valley rubbish.

My Caddy has a MOTOR. A big motor. It can do 120 on the open road without even straining. It smokes sometimes, but then so do I. We both remember when regular was 27.9 cents a gallon. Emily leaned over and looked at the speedometer. "You're going too fast," she said. De Ville and I remember when cars were king and Detroit was a servant, not the other way around. The Toyota on the horizon was getting closer. "Is your seat belt fastened?" Emily asked. We bore down on the sub-compact, an evil gleam in de Ville's headlights and in my eyes. "You're following too close!" Emily screamed. God love ya, Emily... this one's for you Detroit!


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