My knuckles are cut up. My back is sore. My fingernails are scrubbed. It’s been a while since I’ve wrenched on my car, and now I don’t want to stop.
I realize now that the Volkswagen I bought under an oak tree in Sacramento has been here to New York City for a few months now and I haven’t written anything about it. Let me tell you, it is an incomparable joy.
I don’t know how long I’ve had this stupid fascination with putting a wood deck into the back of my clunky old Volkswagen, like some enclosed truck, or the world’s smallest ‘70s van. Finally, my car now has one, and I’m surprised at how easy it was to build.
When you stall a 1974 Volkswagen at an intersection, any intersection, even ones on the far side of Memphis in the middle of the night, somebody always materializes to help push it to safety. This time it was a volunteer firefighter about to leave a nearby drug store, and a disheveled guy hanging out by the lotto…
A year ago, I blew the motor in my 1974 Volkswagen while trying to make it from Sacramento to New York City. I made it as far as Arkansas, where my car has sat ever since. Now, finally, I am flying down to retrieve it and finish the cross-country journey I started.
It had somehow narrowed down to hours, how I was measuring time. It wasn’t a question of days or weeks anymore. I was doing hour and mile calculations to see if I’d make it back in New York by the time I needed to be back for work. And stuck on the side of the road again, New Mexico heat all around, it felt like I’d…
I glanced down at my phone to double check the directions Google was giving me and I looked up, at highway speed, and the road in front of me disappeared. I didn’t even have time to shit myself.