Sunday, August 27, 2006

Summer's Here... and I have a convertible


June 9:

Summer's Here and the Time is Right

I got my new car. Pontiac G6 hard top convertible. Monsoon sound system. Just in time, too. The weather heated up and that roof went down. The kids? "I want the roof down, daddy!" Showing up to school with the roof down, now that's status.

In the morning, it usually isn't warm enough to drop the roof. But that first time going home, that changed everything. It wasn't even that warm. But that roof went down, and the smile just started. Feel the sun on my head. Turn on the XM. It's playing "Going Mobile," by The Who. Beep beep!!

Cory said I needed good driving music for it… maybe '60's surf music. He's right, but still I seek out things to play in the G6. Bruce Springsteen's latest just rocks. At the and of "Jesse James," there's a bass note. It's gotta be under 20 hertz. It just rumbles, loud and clear. The whole album thumps. And the drums! Let there be drums! Listen to those crashes at the end of "O Mary Don't You Weep" or during "John Henry" and weep. But my favorite has to be the washboard. Yes, the washboard. During "Jacob's Ladder," coming through loud and clear.

For eight dollars I picked up the Rhino Wilson Picket Greatest Hits album over at CostCo (so why am I linking to amazon? Convenience, convenience). Saves me from having Picket spread over various other collections, and besides, it between "Midnight Hour" and "Funky Broadway" and "Mustang Sally" it was sure to be good top down music. And it is… though it provides no temptation to speed. Those songs, with Al Jackson Jr. holding down the beat, are struts, not sprints. Fine, fine struts.

I've been working strange hours lately. Starting at 4pm, because we're temporarily in "shift" mode. So I can lounge a little at home, pick strawberries and cherries (yay! Cherries!), take a little dip, and then drive on in with the top down. Today, the rain was due to hold off until 6pm. But… the rain didn't hold off until 6pm. Driving the Lodge Freeway, seeing the blue skies being occluded by dark clouds, with lightning bolts ahead, and knowing that I can't put the roof back up unless I put the car in park. Then it started to rain. But I realized that as long as I kept my speed high enough, it wouldn't rain on me. So I turned the volume up and put my foot down. Watch the police miss me, I'm mobile.

July 21:
The right rear window molding came off while I was putting up the window! It was just hanging there -- what's that??? That was on the 11th. I didn't want to take it in. I just have to drive, drive, drive. Finally, 10 days later, I take it in. But... they don't need the car! Hallelujah! This has been happening with some frequency, and the design's been modified. But it'll take a couple weeks to get the replacement parts... It rained once in the interim, hard rain. Kinda funny seeing the little bit that got through the opening. I can get the molding in there long enough to go through a car wash, that's good enough for me!

August 3:
Being in a convertible is sort of like being in a little private club -- or I imagine it's what it would be like to be in a little private club, only it's not so little and not so private. In a car, a regular car, I'm kinda shut off from the world... except, of course, when someone cuts somebody off. Even with the windows open, I keep to myself.

The convertible with the top down, that's just a different story. Everybody stares. And everybody wants one. And if another convertible comes along, 'ya gotta share the joy. Especially the women. Since I've had this car, it seems that every woman driving a convertible has pulled up to me and chatted. Women not in convertibles come up, too. A couple weeks ago, my friend Karen spotted me on the Lodge while I drove to work, managed to get my attention, and then she wanted to talk, too -- while maintaining speed!

It's at the traffic lights where it gets funniest. One day I saw a white G6, the woman driving it had to pull up, tell me she had bought it earlier in the day, and how much she was in love with it. I like that kind of story. Another time, it was two women giggling at their fortune to be out in the convertible.

This past week, it's been up near 100 degrees every day. So hot that it's sweaty even at high speeds... but leaving the top up just isn't an option. Every song, every rock song, every folk song, every Johnny Cash prison song... every song just sounds better. I pulled up to home one morning as Mitch Ryder's "Sock it to Me" played, and I remembered my first ever Bruce Springsteen concert, 25 years earlier nearly to the day, when he closed out the show with that song.

This morning, I had the radio on, and The Temptations came on with "The Way You Do the Things You Do." That's one of my all-time sing-along songs, it has the best rhymes -- candle/handle, and some really great lines. So I'm singing along, "the way you swept me off my feeeeeeet, you know you could have been a broomstick," and of course there's a danger in doing that with the top down, especially as the light turns red. In the next lane, a young woman in a Saab convertible pulled up and smiled. "Are you going to see them at DTE? They're going to be there Saturday night." She was just impressed that I knew the broomstick line, I'm sure.

August 22:
A dentist's appointment. Not just any appointment, time to put in a big filling... calling it root canal avoidance. In the morning I took the car down to the garage one more time, they said the replacement molding was in... but it didn't work. Going down Northwestern Highway, "Born to Run" comes on. Turn it up way high. Warm day, sun's out, coming up to a stop light -- and for that song, it seems appropriate to be waiting for the light to go to green as the final verse starts. It has heaven on wheels.

So, on the the dentist. The Kinks doing "Apeman." I want to sail away to a distant shore -- how appropriate! But I can't listen to the whole song, it's still going as I part the song to go on and be drilled.

In the afternoon, since I'm home anyway as the novacaine is wearing off, I'm elected to take Elianna to her gymnastics class. Elianna ducks under the wind, as usual. We listen to XM Kids. In the class, she's almost too exuberant, climbing places she shouldn't be. Coming home, sun's still out, one last ride for today. It's the Mindy show on XM Kids, and up comes... The Kinks doing "Apeman"! It's still going as I park at home, but now that I'm on the home shore I let it play through.

August 27
Rain. Heavy rain. The roofs will have to stay up today.
I guess it's time to post.
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