In 2008, nearly a year after weaning off my drug of choice, Cadillacs, I wrote Parking the Beast, Overcoming My Gas-Guzzling Addiction for Emagazine.com. Although an arduous, cumbersome affair this thing called recovery, I remain grateful for remaining clean from my peculiar addiction over the last decade. Still, occasional yearnings to cruise around in the luxuriousness of a leather-seated ride still titillated me, and once I nearly relapsed. However, my larger want for clean air saved the day.
Parking the Beast told how I went from a weekend user to a full-blown Caddy Addict, and how I eventually weaned down to the family car, our 2002 Mercury Sable named Bob. Then, we traded him in for another 6-cylindered heap, a 2004 Ford Explorer simply referred to as The Truck.
Came the day when it rusted and peeled and corroded and spewed copious, spiraling projectiles of itself onto the streets, roads, and highways of Massachusetts. Eventually, The Truck was towed and traded in to a car dealership at the far edges of a nearby marshlands. Set onto the muck of the lot, one of four wheels faltered and bounded off into the weeds and littered debris of a State Park.
A few dozen cars, trucks, trailers, and a rat-eaten boat filled the place known as Anonymous G’s Auto Palace.
“…but you can call me friend,” said the proprietor-salesman named G. Later, I found him to be an all-around, nice guy.
But, after decades of auto sales, G. had honed himself a smooth sales shtick. Additionally, was his ability to chat up any subject. Talk of autos? He raced. Bread? He kneaded and baked. Art? He painted. And, so forth.
Yet, beyond his ever-moving mug, there sat a pair of smashed up, Ford pickup trucks, and sandwiched between them was a glistening-white, twenty-year-old Caddy. My mind fogged as G.’s words turned into mush. I got that rush a man gets when leaving the in-laws house after the holidays. I was jacked.
Soon, I found myself on the phone with the bank chatting loans. On the other side of the room, G.’s silver tooth shined spectacular. Then, I peered out the window while on hold with Mr. Saperstein. Far beyond the glistening-white Caddy there rose from the earth three smoke stacks up from the mire of a century-old manufacturing plant. Mid-afternoon, dark clouds spat against the blue-sky backdrop.
I heard Saperstein mumbling from the floor as I had dropped the phone receiver. Snapped into the moment, the glistening-white Caddy and G.’s silver tooth no longer shined.
Today, I drive a 4-cylindered, 2011 Nissan Sentra named Gnat for its less than explosive honk.