Today I saw four PT Cruisers on the drive to and from the kids’ daycare. They haven’t been made in so long and they are from an era of Chrysler’s history that kinda means the car is dead within ten years. To see these cars on the road today means the owner is really working on keeping it going. That deserves respect. Like Alan Rickman being overlooked for an Oscar though, what is deserved is not always given.
Today’s tale is titled: Just Cruisin’
The sky is gray and still. Clouds have settled above us and they are not going anywhere fast today. It’s a big ol’ metaphor for today’s traffic. Every red light has been hit. There was one light I thought we would make it through, but it turned yellow at the point where driver’s hem and haw about stopping. I stopped. Kids in the back seat really impact the response to a yellow light.
When the light ran its cycle and we started rolling along once more a PT Cruiser entered the acceleration lane at our right. Like the sky above, it was gray and slow. Paint chipped away from the hood, roof and doors; pock marks of a life well lived. The muffler could be heard for miles around. Having been in this exact same muffler situation, I could only commiserate with the driver. “Loud pipes save lives,” can only justify so much noise though.
The Cruiser is covered in bumper stickers. I see a namaste, a coexist, an Om symbol and a few band stickers dotting the back of the car. Nothing over the top, nothing to boil the blood of other drivers, this is just a relaxed dude driving a dull gray PT Cruiser.
The driver is huge. His upper arms are bigger than my head. This guy spends a ton of time at the gym, just way, way too much time there. The Cruiser is like a clown car to him.
The driver does not spend all his time at the gym though. He’s a frequent flyer in the city’s speed dating scene. His schtick at these things is guessing the other party’s past life. Seriously. He stares deeply into his date’s eyes, peering into the very soul of his lunchmate and tells the story of a life once lived. The partner was always a circus performer, trapeze specifically. It was a family act, and he values family above all things, and he makes sure the date knows this. One night the act did not go so well and in front of hundreds of onlookers the past life came to an abrupt end. Coincidentally, he friggin’ loves the movie Batman and Robin, but has not put the connection together. He just thinks there were a lot of trapeze artists in days gone by.
If the speed date goes well (it did once) he suggests lunch at a chain Italian Bistro in the west end of town. Focaccia dipped in a basil infused olive oil and a small order of the house vegetarian lasagna is the usual order. He thinks this will impress the date (it never has). At some point during the meal he brings up the past life his own soul once lived and then talks about his ex’s past life. This is typically when the date fakes an important phone call and leaves.
He pays the tab and goes back to his reliable PT Cruiser. There’s another speed dating event this weekend that he’ll try his hand at and that’s the point of all things really, trying. Just try, just keep at it and just keep cruisin’.