Forget the season's solstice; there are two key events that truly, officially mark the beginning of Fall:
- My biz partner Garner wears shoes instead of sandals to the office
- I finally acquiesce and put my beloved Corvette convertible away for the winter
I can't speak for Garner, but I know I try to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible. But over the past week or so, the increasingly chilly weather made it hard to drive the 'Vette at night and morning, and even on sunny afternoon, there's a substantial bite in the open air. The end is near for '07.
Now, people who know me can't believe I can be so attached to a piece of metal (well, fiberglass in my case), 'cuz I am not one of those obsessive creatures known as a "car guy."
I'm an aesthetic guy, a surprise guy.
And that's what makes my convertible such a great companion.
You see, it's more than a mere automobile. It's a Magic Car. Really.
No matter where I go with it, it brightens people's moods. It inspires upbeatness. Everyone smiles.
From burly, menacing Hell's Angels to curious Chassidic Rabbis. From little old ladies to major babes. From gearheads to eggheads. Kids ask to pose for pictures with it ("It's a superhero car!" one kid cried), and producers have asked to use it in movies (Yeah, right! Like I'm gonna let you drive it...). I can't tell you how many times people have asked to buy it.
And no matter where I go, people stop me, roll down their windows, shout from balconies and ask me the same three questions:
"What year is it?"
"How big is the engine?"
(Answer: No clue...whatever you say)
"Is it the original paint?"
(This one kills me....I just say "Yeah")
What's more, the Vette inspires no envy. People tend to adopt it and treat it like it's their own. Once, outside a restaurant, my son and I watched as some guy admired the car, then reached inside to pick out some of the early autumn leaves that had fallen on my seats. Another time, outside a chi-chi designer's store, a girl ripped into a guy who just so happened to park his Ferrari behind my car. "If you wanna impress someone, park behind a Chrysler mini van," she screamed for some bizarre reason. "This car beats your car's ass!" Thank God he didn't beat hers...or mine.
As hot as this car is, it's a simple piece of work. No power anything. Roll-down windows that don't roll down all the way. Steering that's a better workout than my gym regime. All powered by an engine, while big and roaring, that's positively Flinstonian compared to its modern-day brethren.
Still, this car turns heads whiplash fast. And there's a lesson to be learned from all this. But I've rambled on way too long today. I'll learn ya the lesson tomorrow.
Until then, parked outside Montreal's fabled summer hot rod hangout The Orange Julep, here is my Vette (with my son Hayes in the driver's seat) in all its glory.