Published Oct 1, 2006

Dating California girls, I’ve really had the opportunity to appreciate how important car culture is in this state. It seems like all Califorians have a serious opinion of what their dream car is and a knack for spotting their favorite cars on the road. Myself, I grew up in what is a somewhat less car-oriented town, and I’ve never had the relentless California drive to have the greatest, best-driving, best-looking car of all.

Part of this is just that the two cities draw from different cultures. For starters, most of the people who could afford cars moved out of Baltimore; those who are left are apt to prefer either American muscle cars with big turbo intakes on the hood, or big American trucks with raised suspensions and even bigger tires (perhaps the Chevy plant that used to be in town encouraged the preference for domestic automobiles). I have no memories whatsoever of people with lowered cars, although I may just be revealing my whiteness here. The expensive customizations, the whining turbos, the ubiquitous tricked-out Asian rides… I just didn’t see them back home.

So what car did I dream of? I only had a fantasy involving a (non-flying) car once, when I was in second grade, when my father got a new car. At first, I loved that car; I imagined that it was the perfect ride for a gritty private investigator, and, of course, I imagined myself as that gritty private investigator. Clad in a brown fedora and trenchcoat, I’d travel the city solving crimes. Fortunately, I wouldn’t need air conditioning, because my father’s car didn’t have that, or an FM radio, because it didn’t have that either. This car’s light-brown exterior would match perfectly with my bearded face, and I’d drive it purposefully and aggressively around town as I crouched in its vinyl seats. Yes, that car was the only car I ever imagined myself owning, the only one I ever pretended I’d drive when I sat alone. It was great, the car of my dreams, that…

1983 Ford Escort L Hatchback?

That’s right, the only car I’ve ever dreamed of was an entry-level econobox with a 69 horsepower engine and absolutely no added options of any kind. And it was tan. No, clearly I don’t share the same car culture as my Californian compatriots.

Although I did have a bit of geek lust for that second-generation Prius. Cleverness just turns me on.


Hello. I really enjoyed your story. I love you.

I really don’t have time for this but I can’t help but write to you and love you and comment and respond with another embarassing car story. Who took that picture of your car? Is that a family photo of your car? I wish I could show you my Dad’s old, navy 1980 Dasher Diesel VW, 4 spd, with choke and all. I learned how to drive stick with it, on canyon roads. It’s license plate read, D ORGEL. It got 45 mi p/gln. He loved that car. I had to drive it often in highschool. When I parked at a slant, my Dad eventually figured out, that air would clog the fuel line and cause the car not to start. It was a horrible car for me, and I don’t understand how my Dad could feel good and that I was safe in it, but it was absolutely gas efficient.
What the hell is the married women monogamy monotny thing on your site? Are you interested in monogamy eternally or polygamy? I want you to know I would never be with or marry anyone who is interested in polygamous relationships.

That’s a great car story, “Vivian”, if that’s your real name, but I’m not sure I get the license plate (unless your name is “Vivan Orgel”).

The car photo is just something I found on the Web; I think our car was actually a lighter color than that.

I suspect the polygamy thing was an ad, since I don’t currently have any front-page entries on that topic, unless you count the disturbing true story of Screech’s videotaped sex romps.

Wow. I’ve gotten some odd comments in my blog, but never strangers making declarations of love and interrogating me about about my preferred relationship structure… If there wasn’t a real, topical, and fairly human-sounding story about a car in there, I’d suspect a bot…

I have determined through research that the source of the comment is not, in fact, a bot. The rest, well, we’ll see later.