The ominous truth of the matter is that the last 45 days or so have been the worst of my life. I’ve tried to write that sentence differently for over an hour now. I’ve tried to polish it into some kind of less dramatic or more smoothly ingested statement, but it’s just not happening.
So fuck it. The last 45 days of my life has been a fine shot to the liver. So accurate a hit that for the first time that I can remember, I haven’t thought a whole lot about hot rods or writing or much of anything that tickles any kind of a joyous passion. For all intents and purposes, I’ve been a walking and talking corpse void of any kind of emotion or feeling. I’ve been no fun. No fun at all.
This morning, however, I welcomed some guilt. It’s ridiculous really… Amongst all of the sorrow around me and all of the real world shit that has been dumped upon my family, I finally feel guilt. Which would be a natural feeling given the circumstances, but my guilt was over something entirely trivial to the matter at hand.
I had not driven my hot rod in over a month.
This morning when I got to the office, I warmed up the Tardel/Cochran coupe, slowly creeped it down the gravel road that leads to Atomic HQ, and then hammered it harder than I’ve ever hammered it before. I revved her high and dumped the clutch. The tires gave way to smoke and I tortured the ’39 box with a power shift from first to second. The stock model-a speedometer seemingly spun like a top as I kept the throttle buried. Third gear now. I have no idea how fast I went, but certainly faster than the coupe has ever seen.
I was determined to break something. Anything. As if breakage would present a problem that I could actually fix. Somehow, things would be simpler. I’d have a problem and an obvious solution in front of me. Nothing a little time and money couldn’t fix.
I’m not sure if it’s a testament to the cruelty of life or the craftsmanship of my brother Keith, but nothing broke. I drove like a mad man through the countryside and never had so much as a hiccup. The old car just took my misguided anger and emotion and shrugged it off dutifully. Eventually, it was me that broke.
And as determination gave way to pity, I let up and drove the coupe back to the office at more reasonable speeds. For the first time in a month or so, I could feel myself breathing and my heart pumping. It’s oddly surprising to feel alive when you’ve felt dead for so long.
As I sit here now, I realize that I’m actually writing again… Not that it’s any good, but I am writing… And I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a meaningful drive in an old car before this morning. As cliche as it might sound, It was therapeutic on a level that some head shrink could never reach. I mean, I feel alright. I feel like everything is gonna be ok. That’s something. That’s progress.
God damnit fellas… I love old cars.