Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (9.) That Guy Next Door Always Revving His Engine

Some people care for their fixer-up vanitymobile by buying parts, then adding said parts to their car or replacing similar ones therein. Others take their ride to a person or establishment who can pimp it by proxy. Then there's the guy in the house across the way, who has hit on the secret of building your dream wheels: just rev the engine a whole bunch.

Which he does like clockwork, all weekend long and weekdays after three. Given his early afternoon start time, I picture him holding some kind of factory job. 'Round about 2:30, he feels the call of the rev. His right ankle starts to twitch. He involuntarily futzes with his watch. "Uh, guys, can we wrap this up? I gotta punch out. There's something at home I really gotta do."

His buddies chortle and make the international fist-up-and-down wanky motion. As he walks out, he chucks his keys from his left hand to his right. He smiles. Even better, my foolish friends. Even better.

VRAAN VRAAN VRAAAAAAAN VRaaaan. Repeat. For hours.

His timing: regular. His technique: tightly honed. Three big revs, die off on the fourth. If it were some big old LTD, It'd almost be powerful and soothing. It's not. The metallic farty sound would seem to peg it as either Twiki's burrito post-mortem or a late-80s Datsun.

Unfortunately, the model can't be verified from our vantage. Mr. Footwrench has constructed a lovely tar-paper carport for the lil' beauty. Also, it never actually leaves the driveway.

Without even laying eyes on it, though, I know one thing. Dollars to donuts, that sweet, sweet ride has got a "Powered by Deez Nuts" window sticker.

... Will Miss: (9.) The Sweet, Sweet Ride I Never Got To Own

On the other hand, why put up with a place that insists on its own nowhere-else-in-the-fucking-world bed size if you don't take advantage of a climate that allows even the oldest cars to totter along until such futuristic day that gasoline is no longer a viable energy source? (Ha, ha. Just kidding. Merely a crazy make-em-up. Go, Dubya!)

Almost hours after moving to LA, I saw the Sweet Sweet Ride destined to be mine. A blue 1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero with sweet-ass round taillights and, more importantly, a "For Sale" sign.

When researching the model, I stumbled across the owner's web site. In loving detail, he catalogs every angle, feature (original and improved) and quirk of the machine. He frankly describes how sometimes the passenger window gets stuck, there's a bit of Bondo here... he even photographed two spots of rust.

I altered my neighborhood route to pass by it regularly, cooing softly to it about the day we'd turn heads as I fanned its steaming radiator on the shoulder of the 105. I hushed its protests as I told it of the lover's errands I'd run, heading up to Big Sur to trade illicit services of passion to a hoary mountain man in return for the ancient, brittle distributor cap resting in his junk heap.

On occasion, the "For Sale" sign would come off for a few weeks. Then, apparently fighting a battle with a partner or even within himself, the sign would reappear.

For months -- nay, years -- this chariot remained for the taking as I passed it nearly every day. As it stayed there, every calendar page that passed was further proof I was the only one to pull this polluting Excalibur from the stone.

Then earlier this year, it was gone. And with it, my everything.

Oh, I still service that mountain man. But only to remember what might have been.

Today's FOCR: "Kickstart My Heart," Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood

No comments: