Sunday, March 16, 2014

Custom Cars & Power Animals

All I did on a good day was dream up cars. Air cars, one person buggies, customized vans, dragsters, hot rods, choppers. I'd drive these around in my head, I'd memorize the makes of the day, banalities like Saabs or Pontiacs. The occasional Triumph or Jaguar would set me tingling. I would draw their logos, collect their brochures. An uncle was a mechanic so there was an inside line to some of this stuff.
    I wanted to customize cars as a job, cut them down, jack them up, mag wheels, pinstripes and flames, chrome engine, crushed velvet interiors, wall to wall carpeting, white wall tires, gull wing doors, teardrop bubble windows, side exhaust pipes, severe blowers ripping through the hood, spoilers, and on it goes.
    I drew the dream car from the musical Grease for a bunch of classmates. Pencil on manila paper, lightning bolts on the side. I got several requests. I wonder if any of these drawings made it past another grade.
    Cars gave way to speeders and airships. Let these things fly around the school yard, impressing my friends. Surely now I could win the affections of the brown haired girl with the Brooke Shields eyebrows. One air car even got carved in wood. An errant seat from a model kit fit perfectly inside. An old plastic spool from a roll of paper was the perfect engine out back. It was never finished, an elegant design but my scratch building chops weren't as good as my imagination. I still have the model. I'm still quite impressed with it. It won't take much to finish it. Maybe I'll wait until I'm sixty or submit it as is to some group show, a suitably obscure text to accompany it. The unassembled components of memory.
    Airships needed to dock somewhere so a mothership was designed. It hovered high up in the sky between my house and the park next door. It had a lush jungle room, a library and several other vehicles that flew out of it, one for every occasion. I'd bring friends up there. My sabre toothed tiger companion lived there. I rescued it from a glacier as a kitten. It always walked by my side, from grade four everyday until I was nearing twenty years old. It's always a good idea to have a powerful ally at your side.
    I'm almost 46 now. The tiger is a shadow of its former self but I have a plastic smilodon on my dresser to remind me of the powerful friends I used to have as a kid. That power animals shadow me if I recognize them.
    I still don't have my drivers licence.