Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Tracks: "This Is Me In Grade 11!"

A "light" day, so the track list is short (BTW, I'm serious about "light" -- the bar has 12 1/2 pounds on it):

"Burnin' For You" -- Blue Öyster Cult
"Photograph" -- Def Leppard
"Directory Assistance" -- Barnabas
"Roll With The Changes" -- REO Speedwagon

The randomizer was in a nostalgic mood, it seems. Just looking at this list is enough to bring out a rash of facial acne. The Def Lep was the most difficult track to endure, but BÖC and Barnabas were genuine delights. "Burnin' For You" in particular stirred an olfactory memory: the smell of my buddy's Plymouth Duster, an old but reliable slant-six he drove for five or six years. That car had a dusty smell that actually seemed to get worse when the weather was rainy. I recall spending a weekend with him and his cousin, and driving that car through a prairie storm of apocalyptic proportions that brought out all the frogs. Just cruising from Winnipeg to Headingley we must have mowed down 1000 frogs. It just seemed of a piece with the panoply of weirdness that constituted our late adolescence in the early 80s.

Later that night the three of us sat on the front porch, sipping "Pic-a-Pop" as we watched the lightning roll southwest. We didn't have a clue about anything, which was just as well for all concerned. What little knowledge we did possess only got us into trouble.


DarkoV said...

Ah, the Plymouth Duster.
Truly one of the ugliest cars to come out of Detroit.
My mom had one; it was a teenage embarassment to drive to school with it. I borrowed it once and then went back to walking or bike-riding in.
It was the chassis-body-tires combo. Or mis-combo. Body too big for the chassis so it hung over on all sides. Standard tires on the car were so skinny in comparison to the body they seemed to have fallen off a bicycle.
Now, if you put up some money for wide slicks and a monster motor, things improved dramatically, but sans the additions? Well, it was a reverse polarized chick magnet back in the ol' school yard.

Whisky Prajer said...

That was indeed a "mom's car." In fact, my friend took it off his mother when his crappy Toyota (I could start a blog on car stories) finally seized up and died. The Duster must have been built for moms: it was compact by 70s standards -- easy to wheel in and out of parking spaces -- but had more oomph and protective surface than those new-fangled Japanese cars. My friend's had an 8-track cassette player installed beneath the dash. Of course, all the cassettes were, like the car, cast-offs from his mother: the only one we could bear to hear was The Carpenters' Greatest Hits. "I'm at the top of the world," alright.

And those skinny tires you mention were perfect for spinning out around corners. One winter we took the corner of a frozen country road and spun right into a massive snowbank. When we opened the trunk to see what we might dig ourselves out with, we found a pair of snowshoes! It took the better part of an hour, but they did the trick.

DarkoV said...

Well, WP, I think you don't have to start a car story blog. But, I do think you should be posting car stories on this blog.
Whisky & Wheels sounds like a broad enough name to encompass all matters of transportation involving wheels.
Motorcycle stories
Train stories
Truck stories (like that fabulous story of the truckdriver in your short story collection)
Car stories
And, oh yeah, bicycle stories.
All stories involving forward motion would be a good fit in this blog, I think.

Whisky Prajer said...

A-ha! Sometimes I need someone else to turn on the light for me -- thank you for that, DV. Right you are, and "wheeled" stories will be forthcoming.