Here's My New Ride
Today its just he and I and a country road in my usual ride. I've upgraded since we last met; the Ford Probe in "write me up a ticket officer red" is now a subdued grey Nissan 370-Z. A little silly for the day to day use I employ it in. Traffic light to traffic light stop and go, its a wasteful application of too much power using too much fuel. Reminds me of the day I was following one of our company's senior officers up the main drag into town. With a four cylinder Mazda engine in a Ford chassis, I basically paced a Ferrari 308. It wasn't until he hit open road that he dropped a gear and the base roar of the Ferrari made me pull over, drop trou and consider my shriveled though fuel injected poor excuse for a member. A senior VP, I was never sure what he did until I watched him lean in the CEO's door to wish her a good morning. Aha, that was it, Senior VP in charge of friendly greetings.
So we still aren't in Ferrari class, but its a respectable car. Good enough to get a lowered window thumbs up from a fellow driver in a GTR last winter. We both stepped off into a green light together and the happy burble of all that torque most certainly pissed off a Prius pusher two cars back somewhere.
"Where we off to?" Evan asks as he fires up an unfiltered Camel, my old brand.
"Can't smoke in the car, man." I've quit since 1995 though I miss them dearly.
He puts his smoke out in the driveway and climbs in. I get in, buckle up and push the engine start.
"Nice sound." Three hundred and twenty five horses pulse through the stock exhaust. If you need a GlassPak, you're pushing too tiny an engine.
"North of here is my favorite road. State 82, then left off into horse country. Two lane smooth blacktop with a couple of straightaways and some 15 mph marked curves to test your downshift skills." And indeed, so it is. If you floor Kathleen (I name all my cars and this one is tagged for a former girlfriend. Like the original, the car is exotic, exciting and sexy but treat it just the slightest bit wrong and it will dump you in a ditch) she'll roar to the challenge but she's got oversteer to kill in corners.
Evan hasn't buckled up.
"What's the worst that could happen?"
"You've got a point."
Its a glorious day and a glorious ride and we all perform amazingly well. There isn't a single lane bridge to take Kathleen airborne the way I sent the Probe skyward last time we raced.
Afterwards, we come home to the front porch for a drink and a cigar. Evan used to send me blended Ontario tobacco every few months. In return, I'd package up a few cartons of Camels knowing that his hacking cough had me worried every time we talked on special occasions. My birthday, the fourth of July, Canada day would find us on the phone catching up and hoping we'd see each other in person soon.
"I've got a treat for you. A couple of Cubans I snuck in from Berlin."
"You know that we can get Cubans in Canada, no problem."
"Didn't think of that. Well, take them in the spirit they are offered."
"Geez, when'd we last talk? Oh six?"
"Oh five. I was pretty sick in '06"
"I remember. Well, not you being sick, but I remember the call from Linda that you had died."
There's an uncomfortable silence. I break it.
"You know, if I could have you back for a day, I think I'd even let you smoke in the car."
"Got a little secret for you. We'll ride again. Won't be for a while. But we'll ride again my friend."