Friday, April 29, 2016

7ToF: You got a fast car, is it fast enough so we can fly away?

1. Years ago Tracy Chapman recorded "Fast Car," one of my all-time favorite songs, about driving off to a better life. Chapman grew up in the projects, and she said once in an interview that the fast car in the song was something like a Dodge Dart --in her mind at that age, any car that would run was a fast car, a vehicle for escape. (My original plan was just to explain the post title, but I started watching this video and was mesmerized, so I'm sharing-- we'll see if youtube lets me do this.)

2. We have motley crew of cars. The newest one is a 2011. My favorite, and the one I'm driving at the moment, is a 2005 Honda Pilot, and looky what happened this week (you'll ignore the dust, I'm sure):

190,000! This is the car I drove back and forth to Missoula for nearly three years while I was working on my master's, and I bonded with it in a major way. It's the old body style, more like a Jeep Cherokee than the huge Pilots they're making now. There were definitely days when it felt like I was in a fast car, escaping. Of course, there were also days when it felt like I was driving into the maw of hell. Either way, when I found out last week that its trade-in value was less than $3K, I decided I might as well drive it till it dies.

3. We're each firmly attached to our favorite elderly car-- my Pilot, Dean's 2000 pickup, MadMax's 2001 pickup, PellMel's tiny 2009 sedan-- and the advantages are obvious: they're paid off. Insurance is cheap. We know them well. And this cannot be overstated: you don't have to deal with buying a new car. But when you drive older cars, anything can go wrong at any time. It might be nice to have at least one car that is reliable for road trips, and since we're about to have a kid in college five hours away, many road trips loom. We're reluctantly considering our options. A pox on car shopping.

4. Remember awhile back when I told you about my clumsy experiments with finally, in my fifties, starting to wear makeup? Well, yeah. My need for full coverage has only grown. Now if I forget to leave time to put it on before I go out, I catch sight of myself somewhere and am horrified. Good God, I'm old. But as someone who is new to the world of makeup, there are all kinds of things I am still figuring out. Like--I swear I'm not making this up-- some people have two different shades, one for summer, when they're tan, and one for winter, when they're pale. Who knew? And how do you know when to switch?

5. We're throwing a party for our neighborhood seniors on the night before graduation. We're decorating with photos of the kids at all ages, which means I've spent several hours--and will doubtless spend several more--combing through old photos. *sniff* Good lord, these are some cute kids. Since I used up all my extra time in the rabbit warren known as YouTube looking for that Tracy Chapman video, I can't post any this week, but maybe next time. (How to win friends: force them to look at old pictures of your offspring.) How in the world did they grow up so fast? Except on the days when they're being so obstinately awful you can't wait to ship them off.

6. You know I've written at least half a dozen posts over the years defending romance novels (here's one). I will still defend to my last breath anybody's right to read whatever the heck they want to read whenever they want to read it, but I have to say I have not read a good romance novel in a couple of years now--the kind I used to put down with a sigh of pure satisfaction thinking that was a great story. I've pretty much given up. Other than my continuing intermittent fascination with Betty Neels (the most recent of which was published in 2001), I haven't read a romance novel in a long time. Maybe it's just me and I've moved on past the moment when they worked for me. But I want to blame it on the romance novel industry (the word industry used deliberately). The ones I read last year felt cranked out in a way they didn't five or six years ago, as if they were written based on what sells rather than what works as a story. But I do have three recently-published romance novels from favorite authors waiting for the beach in June, so maybe there is hope.

7. Since I'm running out of things to talk about, here is my Corny Thought For The Week, also filed under "Life Lessons I've Learned From Betty Neels." Don't smirk. She has one heroine after another who spends an entire book unable to believe the hero is interested in her, irritatingly lost in "He Can't Love Little Ol' Me" Land. But it occurred to me not long ago that I spend lots of time feeling unlovable, too. And if you can't believe you're lovable, you miss out on a lot of love, you know? And another thing that happens: it leaves her heroines (and me) open to bad advice. If you don't believe the people who clearly love and care about you, you end up believing the wrong person-- in Betty Neels, it's the cruel ex-girlfriend, the interfering busybody, the mean stepmother, the the people who are telling her he'd never love a little nobody like you. So there you go. Wisdom from romance novels. So, if the snippy ex-girlfriend tells you the ice on the pond is plenty thick enough to skate on, don't believe her. Just saying.

Have a nice weekend. Bonus video: Prince and Lenny Kravitz performing "American Woman," which is blatantly misogynist in a delicious sort of way, but somehow exactly right.


KarenB said...

Tracy Chapman sat behind me in my Child Psych class in college. She was terribly shy, but I think some of that was from finding herself in a northeastern liberal arts college full of well-to-do students. She must have felt terribly fish out of water. But I first heard her sing in our school's tiny pub and she was astonishingly good. I love that song.

And I'm day by day, even minute by minute rocketing back and forth between how did he grow up so fast and dear lord I can't wait until he's gone.

BarbN said...

Wow! that is so cool!

Laurel said...

Karen B! That's cool! TRACY CHAPMAN was the first CD I bought (remember when they were sold in those big, long plastic things, and then finally some artists INSISTED to reduce the packaging down to just the cd itself inside the plastic case...then eventually, they lost the plastic case, until now.. it's all digital? Old timer here!). I was living in Maine at the time, and we had a mutual friend from Boston, but I never met her. I have no doubt that she is shy, I was lucky to see her perform several times, and she often had her eyes closed---with very little fanfare between songs. Fast forward to a few years ago in San Francisco, where I was dining in one of those restaurants where the 2-tops are all squished together so that you have to stick your butt in someone's face to sit down. Well, Ms. Chapman came in and sat next to me! She waited for a long time for someone to join her, but that person didn't appear while I was there. I recognized her when she was walking toward our table, but I never looked at her again---which took all my self control. I wanted to open my iPhone to iTunes and show her the 11 TC discs I own, but refrained.

Barb---190,000 miles is no small feat. Drive on, Girl. Drive on.