Gotta hand it to you – you’re dedicated. Got your learners permit, went to every Drivers Ed class all semester – stood in line for hours at the DMV. Finally got your license – worked your ass off and put in overtime being a bagboy at Daylight on La Cienega. Saved every penny – bummed cigarettes off your friends to the point they started asking questions. But you finally got enough cash saved up.
You couldn’t afford a new car so you had to look around for a used one. But you’re connected. You have a friend who has a friend whose dad owns a used car lot on Crenshaw; A&A Quality Used Cars (first one in the Phone book). You are promised a “sweet deal” – lots of Buicks – lots of Oldsmobiles – four-door cabin cruisers. But the prices are right.
The Convertible at the end of the lot is calling to you. It just came off the tow truck from Impound – hasn’t been touched up or tinkered yet to make pretty. It’s kind of lumpy in spots and has dents in the body that look like bullet holes. That really gets your interest. You imagine the car was used in a robbery or some street crime.
So not only would you have a bitchin’ convertible you also qualify for being a badass.
A Hundred and fifty bucks and the cash flies out of your pocket.
The car is sweet, but it drinks gas. The convertible top has holes and the upholstery looks like the seats have been sitting out in the desert for a month. But you see potential – you see possibilities – you see Road Trip.
Summer is a month away and the trip up the coast to the Canadian border is looking sweeter and sweeter.
But this gas thing . . .
You experienced your first line for gas. Twenty feet from a pump and your car up and quits. You get out and push it to the pump with the help of a really annoyed gas station attendant. Everybody is pissed off and grousing. Fistfights have broken out – you can only get ten gallons max – and the price for a gallon has shot up. You can hardly wait for odd-even days; not.
Within weeks all the money you saved buying this car has gone into giving it gas. You now understand why the lot was filled Buicks and Oldsmobiles. The Road Trip is looking dim and distant.
You’re sitting Summer of ’79 out. The Albatross sits in the driveway, while you sit in the driver seat and listen to the radio. And all those closed gas stations and all that rationing and all that money.
Ideas that look good in daydreams.
At least you have Jack Armstrong on 10Q to accompany you – and this is what he sounded like on May 4, 1979.
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