Friday, June 12, 2009

On The Subject of Automobiles...

No, no, this time I made it to Tampa Airport with the same four tires with which I started. There was the one hour traffic jam on the H-F Bridge with the attendant "Are the newlyweds going to miss their flight?" excitement, which in turn was further heightened by the phone call to American Airlines during which the customer service rep informed the young bride that her reservation was cancelled because of a "do not honor the credit card" from the online provider which turned out to be untrue, but not until a few crying jags later. Anyway, all was well that ended well.

No, I was thinking of PJ O'Rourke's recent post-mortem on the death of the love affair with the car. If I've got it right, his premise is that familiarity bred contempt. As for me, I have never been able to fathom why the clunky boxlike Japanese cars of recent years have been so popular. It's not like they are particularly cheap. So says the proud owner of a Hyundai, Tiburon that is. At least it's not shapeless.

O'Rourke's piece reminded of the grandaddy of all automobile valedictions, EB White's essay, "Farewell, My Lovely." While White's effort was about the Model T, the passion he associates with the automobile is the one O'Rourke maintains has cooled. We are the more diminished by it. After all, can you picture the Dukes in a Nissan Altima?

No comments: