Friday, June 6, 2008

An open letter to my Buick



I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, Buick. It was August 2006 in E's yard in Portland. You were square and maroon and very unsexy - not at all what I had in mind. "No way," was my reaction. "My grandfather owned that car."

It was a hard sell, I admit. What I really wanted was that cute little Cabrio - a zippy little number with the top down - but in the end I came back to you, Buick. I told myself there was something poignant about cruising you into this next, uncertain, suburban phase of my life. The truer truth was, I liked your $900 price tag.

I didn't think I'd have you very long, anyway, judging from the deep growl you unfurled whenever you were asked to do anything. I crossed my fingers that you would even get me and my two suitcases down the coast and past the feeble fountain at the Tracy offramp.

But you got me there, in a glorious, sun-filled, music-blaring drive - I was on my way to love, after all. To the California border, where the fog split and the sun poured down with such immediacy that I had to laugh aloud, and on, southward, into the state's concrete belly.

You got me there. And then you got me through county flats, time and time again, past farms and smokestacks to a newspaper job that I did not know I could do; you got me through random, winding, developer-named streets on going-nowhere drives in some of the saddest, lostest moments of my life; you got me home on dark, twisting highways after late nights in San Francisco when I should have stayed the night. You got me where I had to be, every time.

If you had any luster to begin with, Buick, I've worn it out of you for sure. Your blinker was the hardest to stomach, seeing it dangling out of its socket like an eye. I gouged you on a dumpster next, with that embarrassed woman looking on - we just laughed and waved. Finally the mean Central Valley sun sizzled your rear view mirror clean off, leaving just a square of old epoxy in its place. Along the way, your grumbling got grumblier. Your rattling got rattlier. You've become quite the sight to behold, but still you go on, and I thank you for it.

The truth is, I think we might not have been friends a few years ago. I can't say exactly how I've changed, but I suspect you were as much the cause as the effect.

I say all this, Buick, because we've got another journey coming up. In a couple weeks I'll pack you full of everything you'll hold. Bailey will ride shotgun, we'll plug my iPod in your tape deck, and we'll drive north this time. I know you're tired, but I hope you'll stick with me through another trip. And I hope, this time, we reach that border and the fog closes up around us like a zipper.

2 comments:

Eden From Sweden said...

Oh! The memories! If G'ma could speak over her rattle I'm sure she'd thank you for taking her to places she'd never thought she'd see in her advanced age. Tracy, Manteca, Sacramento, even - oh my - San Francisco. Just a modest little fifth-hand burgundy colored four door from eastern Washington...

Fart Face said...

Check the trunk for those hay bales.