Monday, March 24, 2014

3.24 Monday (Dinah Shore Day)

An epic drive today, from the middle of Colorado across half of Kansas on Interstate 70 and south into Oklahoma. In a word, halfway across the romantic purlieus of the Great Dust Bowl. If there were, aside from amendments to our agricultural practice, any existential lesson to be learned from that grand meteorological chastisement, it seems we have been put on permanent notice that one cannot take it with one, wherever one happens to be going.

Nonetheless, historical memory is short, our acquisitive hubris is long. The Joads are still afoot along every highway in America: double-axle pickups loaded with all manner of essential household detritus under madly flailing tarps - cast-iron Chinese bicycles, garish plastic lawn furniture, childrens' toys, hot tubs, euthanized sofas and BarcaLoungers, plywood china closets - everything en route to a new and presumably worse abode. Not that I blame them for wanting to keep what they have in this downward national spiral.

The prize haul was a big yellow Ryder truck towing a trailer with a rusted, disfigured and partly dismembered cadaver of a '57 Chevrolet Bel Air ("a classic!") aboard. I'd guess (considering the size of the cargo hold) they were moving house with their worldly possessions stowed, perhaps looking for a start somewhere ( let's be charitable enough to suppose they weren't going back to live with parents), but fundamentally unable to disencumber themselves of what in essence is a boat anchor - the obligation to restore a bit of automotive design which someone has probably dragged about with them now for a considerable amount of time, long enough for this peculiar weight of history to become insensible, a part of the family's own history of acquisition and prestige.

The happy injunction of our late lamented American Epoch was always, "See the USA in your Chevrolet." Not with your Chevrolet.

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