When I was a little kid I loved cars. My toy car collection included hotwheels, matchbox and my favorite corgis. A corgi car was bigger had more detail and in my mind was the shizzle. I also dug the cars we drove as a family. The '59 Volkswagon Bug that my Dad had to jump start most mornings to get to work. In fact one morning while jump starting it he jumped in only to have the rust underneath the drivers side give way essentially catapulting him into the backseat. Herbie rides again! We also drove a '68 Chevy Nova. Greenish gold with black interior. Never wear shorts in the summer when riding in a car with black interior. My Dad was notorious in our neighborhood for driving cars until they could go no further. Bondo, sheet metal, whatever it took to get a few more thousand miles out of car, our Dad would do it.
Another thing I loved doing as a youngster was going to Catamount Stadium with Dad to watch the stock car races. It was the late '60's and early '70's so the cars were big and loud. As a 4 and 5 year old I was awe struck by these gods among men. Men from towns like Milton and Colchester who drove 200 laps around a 1/2 mile oval. I collected the 8x10 photos and would get their autographs after the race.
As I grew older my obsession with cars faded. At the age of 11 I started playing the guitar and almost immediately I decided that being a musician was what I wanted to do with my life. I'm not the most mechanically minded person either (ask Lorraine and Andrea) so being a mechanic was way way way out of the question. At 16 I got my license and around 18 my parents bought the neighbors car for $200 for me to drive. It was more like a boat than a car. A 1971 Buick LeSabre. The car went from 0 - 90 in about 2 seconds. It was one of those "floater" cars. You know the type you see driving on the highway and they seem to float over little dips.
It was also around this time that I inherited my Grandfather Godfrey's bad car karma. Apparently it skips a generation. I started going through cars like crazy. Maybe it was because I refused to spend any kind of significant money on a car. That and the fact I didn't have significant money didn't help. The Buick lasted maybe a year. Next up was a Chevy something. That car lasted about a year. The gas gauge didn't work - that was fun. After the chevy something came a Plymouth Horizon. I think the Plymouth actually lasted about 2 or 3 years which is surprising because of all the trips down to NYC to play gigs. Then another Chevy which I drove across the country. It also survived being backed into outside of Denver and the '89 earthquake in San Francisco. Maybe things were looking up for me and cars.
When Winnie and I got together our car karma mutated and formed into one big blob of bad car karma. In the 12 years that we've been together we've gone through 8 cars. That's like a car every 1/1/2 years right? Yesterday I was driving through town and at a stop sign I heard this real loud "CLUNK". The car wouldn't go forward or backward. So I had to push it out of the intersection, call a tow truck and then figure out how I was going to get to where I was going on a day that was 10 degrees. It turned out to be a broken axle shaft. Not as bad as I originally thought, but according to the mechanic it was rare. Maybe only 1 or 2 a year. Leave it up to me to bring in a car with a "rare" problem.
Sometimes I hope we run out of oil so everyone will have to ride bikes or drive those little electric cars. But then it is nice to have a car like on a day like today when it's 7 degrees below zero...