People love their cars in LA, but I don’t have feelings for automobiles. I am barely capable of having emotions for humans! Alright, I do love cats, but that’s as far as it goes. No way I can manage to love a car. It’s just metal.
My husband, Mike, gets rhapsodic about cars. “They’re amazing things that human beings created!” Yawn. My Mom told me just before she died how much she enjoyed the year Mike drove her to all her doctor’s appointments.
“I learned so much about cars from him,” she whispered, smiling softly. Story of my life, everyone likes my husband more than they like me. Even my own Mom! I don’t think that would change even if I could love. A car. But I digress.
In my last blog post, I mentioned working on a couple of films. In a fit of agreeableness (don’t know what came over me) I said “yes” when the director of one of them asked me to drive a 1965 Mustang from LAX to the movie location and back. Besides the fact you can now tell EXACTLY how low budget the movies I’m getting are, the problems with my rash decision were:
A: I don’t know anything about cars
B: I didn’t realize the journey would be 130 miles each direction
C: I forgot how shitty cars were back in 1965
When I got to the rental agency, the guy asked me “Have you ever driven a classic car?” Smiling I quipped, “Drive one, I am one!” He didn’t laugh. He reminded me about the brakes (they’re not anti-lock), the steering (no power steering) and the airbags (there are none). What he forgot to mention was lack of fuel injection meant the car would die every time I tromped on the gas. Ha, ha, ha, good one.
The drive out took four hours in 95-degree heat, following the Waze app down 75 different freeways, re-starting the car every time it died. I prayed the lap belt would prevent disfigurement of my face if I got hit. Time slowed down until it seemed like all I had ever done was drive and perspire in this ancient 8-cylinder convertible Mustang with non-functional AC and the top up.
Why didn’t I put the top down? I guess I feared I would arrive in on set as a dried up husk of a former human, just a skeleton covered with dry skin riddled with cancer. I DON’T GO OUT IN THE SUN. On the plus side, I managed to lose a few pounds from 4 hours of sweating in a hot car, so win-win!
The ride out was torture, but the way home was magic. It was just getting dark, so I left the top down. I drove this two-lane road from Joshua Tree, looking at the sun set behind the mountains and listening to the throaty roar of my ride. I confess I opened her up to 70 mph on a couple of stretches. She seemed to love it. The freeways were clear all the way back, I made great time and I felt like part of the road, part of the car even. I could hear everything! I felt at one with the landscape. Far from being scary, it felt wild and liberating. I guess I kind of fell in love. I hope I see my 1965 baby again someday.