Friday, September 18, 2009

Burn Out

"I love it when guys peel out." - Debbie Dunham in "American Graffiti"
Most guys love it too, at some point in their lives. Making your tires squeal and leaving great big skid marks behind your car is a virility rite that is uniquely American. The sound and the smell lingers for a time after the burst of acceleration. There is more than a trace of dogs markig their territory implicit in this act. I know because I was once one of them.
In my youth, I tore around Boulder, Colorado in my 1972 Vega hatchback as if I were Mario Andretti. Most, if not all, of the trips that I took were five miles or less. It never occurred to me that I could be saving money, fuel and rubber by driving in a less vigorous manner. I was a victim of too much Van Halen, Boston, and Led Zeppelin. I could not simply pull away from the curb while "Black Dog" was pouring out of my Jensen tiraxials. I suppose all that squealing of tires was an attempt to hear my driving over the music.
My poor neighbors suffered the most. My brothers and parents could anticipate my comings and goings. The people who lived at the end of our cul de sac were subject to my entrances and exits and their attendant pollution whenever I saw fit to blow in or out. I am certain, because as I grew past my need to make such a show many of them took the time to tell me so, that I ruined many good nights' sleep and frightened small children who were playing in the street. It was that peculiar form of arrogance that teenage boys seem to cultivate, and now that I live near a brand new crop of young men who perform displays of their own, I wince in the memory of the patches I once laid.
Forgive me father, for I have skid.

1 comment:

Mrs. Id said...

And now you ride a bicycle to work every day. Maybe there's hope for the world.