Sunday, October 5, 2008

HEY, EARLY AMERICAN: YOUR CAR SMELLS

Some of my most temperamental tempests, by far, is spent in my car driving from point A to point B. I can go through a list of things that will send me on a swift, often filthy, racy rant (with no one to listen except myself, mostly) against my fellow drivers. Whether it be people who block left turn lanes without even getting a hint to move it, don't use turn signals, people who pull out into traffic when I'm gaining speed on the freeway on-ramp, drive 60 in the passing lane on the highway without moving over (what I call activist slow drivers) or go from zero to 40 in 20 seconds after the light turns green...

Phew! Let me take a breath. OK, we're fine now.

One thing in particular that has me wound up is a newfound flaming tire around the neck of despair, is that of an "elite" class of drivers: The Early Americans. You can't find too much info about them on the internet, probably because they haven't a) found it yet or b) they're still dialing-up to get on(to America Online 4.0).


BEWARE: MY CAR IS RICHLY PRESERVED BUT IT STINKS AND I'M SLOW AND YOU CAN'T PASS (MY POOR MS PAINT MOCK UP OF A TYPICAL EARLY AMERICAN PLATE)

I've had a hard time classifying them, with mixed feelings abound. They're like war veterans who deserve your unwavering respect (or you'd be speakin' German, whippersnapper!), except they're really not. Sure these cars and their possible multi-generational owners have seen things, but the fact reeks on high: their cars stink horribly as if you were stuck behind a school bus or one of those loud, stank (typically tan-colored) Diesel-powered Mercedes. They take you to a time when The Ozone layer was nozone, when the clarity of the air we took in was about as relevant as fumes output by gramps' stogie.

Immobily, Early American hobbyists can be found either in the local McDonald's on a Tuesday evening or any other disshelved, vacant parking lot filled with bird poop windows on a Saturday night all standing around, admiring others cars, other people (with accompanied clouds of Old Spice in the air) when not in transit -- which is when they are best experienced.

Upon closer inspection, Early Americans are typically who appear to be...

a) Geriatrics or other card-carrying members of the AARP (before they were hip or broken-hip), so, over 65
b) Driving cars who've outlived their various, generational-spanning owners
c) Those with an excuse to bust out their leather jackets/pants again
d) Experienced or were produced in the aftermath of a World War
e) Knew Strickland when he had hair
f) Had a trunk that once hauled junk from Woolworth's
g) Saw two Darrens on "Bewitched"

Hold it like Seabond.

One thing I know is that being in their wake is not pleasant for a few reasons. For one, their cars hearken back to a time when a gallon of gasoline was cheaper than a pack of gum and the burning pollutants were enough to intoxicate you and stain your upholstery and lungs faster than the Surgeon General can slap a label on a pack of Marlboros. Not withholding, a good portion of their drivers either have cataracts or can't see a speed limit sign enough to follow half of it. I don't blame all of them because, heck, if their car survived the Great Depression, I'm impressed to them still running albeit their inability and sputtering to reach 60 MPH.

But there's a reason I can't bust an aneurysm over the Early Americans.

Respect your elders. Whether they be the car or the driver, they saw a time when vehicles were synonymous in with pride, class and design, often funky color (people not included here, that'd probably be racist), and real distinction -- not just ugly boxes of plastic in three different colors, most made in Mexico. So what if your immigrant great grandpa pulled levers for 12 hours straight, maybe lost an arm only to be later thrown out on the sidewalk after a lifetime of loyal employment. They held a grade of dependability and reliability of the once vital American automobile industry (sorry Ford Pinto, you and your exploding gas tank are FAIL for Early American plates).

Ah, fooey for lousy work conditions. If I have to sit through another grumpy "In my day..." speech, I'll hide the Metamucil and value BenGay vats.


THE "M-22": A TAX-FORM LIKE DOCUMENT YOU'LL BE REQUIRED TO FILL OUT TO GET A EARLY AMERICAN PLATE. OH THE HUMANITY! MY EYES ARE BLEEDING. I CALL DISCRIMINATION, NO OLD FART CAN POSSIBLY READ THIS TAX FORM-INSPIRED MICE TYPE THAT HAS SO MANY As, Bs, Cs AND 1,2,3s, EVEN JACKSON FIVE GIVES UP.

So after being stuck behind a few of these clunkers lately in my travels, I've decided to do some new-age research (a Google search) to find out just how any pion can obtain Early American status. Initially, I had thought you had to have stretching family linage. But after seeing I will have to cross my time with the more-plain-than-Avril Lavigne-without-make-up DMV webpage (a blight; The Drudge Report looks more welcoming), I realized that it only spent a quarter the amount of pain and suffering as opposed to the third-world experience or standing in line at the local DMV.

Below is a pie graph of estimated 30 seconds of my time behind an average Early American driver:

10%: Admiring the rare site of the old car
2%: Checking out the vintage of the driver
3%: Wondering how many flaming tires one had to jump through to get the plate
15%: Strategizing the operation to pass the car before I pass out
70%: Choking from the fossil fuel funk syndrome
It appears with the low, low payment of $92 (pretty sure your social security and/or your AARP card won't cover that) and a (lifetime challenge) longevity of 20+ years, you can have that insipid, monochrome plate to match your dinosaur car which in its prime has suffered through times as harsh as the Red Scare to long lines at the gas station to Taco Bell commercials after they got rid of the dog.

Soon after, I had a dark vision: a neo-Early American for my and near future generations. What will it be like? I think of the hideousness of a possible future with those queer looking Priuses no self-respecting man with all his parts in working order would ever drive. In the year 2052, where ripply gray skies fill my vision as I drive down to the Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart has Earthly stores but also their own planet in my future) with a dinosaur 2003 Honda Civic EX on all four wheels -- while the majority of the population is driving their flying hybrid cars. In that regard, I'd hope auto makers make hybrids look less like fat Skim Milk-drinking sissy cars (even if the demand is high right now...).

Now, it's time to take mah back pills... and then nap. Again. *snore*

Here's to me, who went an entire post on senior citizens without throwing Preparation H or Depends into context...

2 comments:

Yoda said...

Nick, that was the longest most thoroughly enjoyable rant I have read in a long time. And what's more, it's all true. And I like the Strickland hair comment Nick, just wanted to let you know that I got it.

Again, great piece.

Craiggers said...

HA! That is so hilarious and so very true.

P.S. be on the look out for cars with 6 digit license plates. Those registration numbers were registered in the 1950's.