The long drive home

Touch wood, the car I now drive (a Lincoln Aviator) is exceedingly gratifying! The engine just hums; everything works as it should. There are no conspicuous faults or rarities. I have no tolerance for mechanical difficulties or fitting abuses.  I am no stranger to the possibility of lemons in the automotive industry. On occasion I have been obliged to confront the dilemma with less than auspicious result. The baseless anxiety is however destined to be short-lived for two reasons. One, we only have to make it home (which I don’t anticipate for any reason to be an issue); two, this year’s replacement model was ordered months ago and will no doubt  await upon our return.

While the little I drive the car here on Key Largo is a sore deprivation, on balance I prefer to engage myself on my tricycle instead for its improving though moderate exercise. Otherwise the rest of my time during the long daylight hours is devoted to sunbathing and swimming (often in the sea) as indeed it should be in this singular sub-tropical climate. But as I say, I am nonetheless already anticipating with exuberance taking possession of my new Lincoln Corsair hybrid in May when we return home.

It isn’t just the electric feature of the new car that excites me.  It is its diminished size. I intend to adapt to the new smaller environment which hopefully will draw me closer to the mechanical excitement of the vehicle and its metaphorical extension of my presence along the ribbon of highways through the pastoral scenes to which I am accustomed chez moi. By any calculation the Corsair is still just a Lincoln; that is, it primarily boasts comfort and design over power and handling.  It is not meant to compete with the gutsier BMWs and Mercedes of any description.  As far as I know the Corsair has only a 4-cylinder engine but I understand it performs reliably and well, even with a bit of gusto on the grand touring model that we’re getting.  This modification from the now traditional 6-cylinder engine is for me an improvement. I never had any inclination for racing; that is, other than to get onto the freeways without unnecessary accommodation of the inevitably eager and impolite imports in the rear view mirror.

On average I travel 35,000 kilometres (22,000 miles) per year. This statistic evidently boasts my amusement with driving. The 100 Km/day average is succeeded by no greater effort than going to nearby Stittsville to have the car washed and then motoring back by way of Renfrew County through the Village of Appleton home to Almonte in the Town of Mississippi Mills. It is entirely a bucolic drive on a predominantly quiet and well constructed route.

The smaller character of the vehicle attracts me because so often I view the larger models as preposterous (especially for those of us like I who seldom have anyone in the second row much less the third). The diminished tenor of the Corsair draws me to its perceived integrity.

Although I value my bit of daily bicycling exercise on my Electra, I am easily convinced of my entitlement to regular driving and concurrent inactivity by virtue of my advanced age and commensurate decomposition. These are but some of the inescapable details of aging. I see no value whatsoever pretending to defeat or ignore the declension. Plus it conveniently succeeds to strengthen my logic and rationale, the absence of which is no more usefully preserved for the funeral than any other specious prolongation.  How’s that, Milord!

The simple truth is that cars represent for me an unparalleled pleasure and occupation, as vulgar and trite as it may be by admittedly hundreds of standards of intelligence. I blame my father.  He too (and his father as well) were captured by the allure of the modern passenger vehicle. Besides, if I’ve said it once I’ll say it again, I am a hopeless and shameless materialist. This, I am quick to assert, has no connection whatsoever with the more popular debate of hoi polloi surrounding capitalism (of which for example Senator Bernie Sanders is the most notable current advocate). My materialism springs not from an overwhelming desire for production but rather consumption (in which I am of necessity guided and circumnavigated by my paucity more than any other ingredient apart from the appreciation of artistic accomplishment inherent in the objects of my desire). To equate this my expressive focus with anything as tangible and vulgar as mere consumption is an inductive leap. Mine is a creative appetitive which I have in the interest of limitation confined to one of my many material temptations among them hardwood furnishings, Lalique crystal, Persian rugs, solid brass ornaments, bronze sculpture, etc. Vehicles at least fulfill a pragmatic purpose in addition to the artistic enrichment.