Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Worth the Drive

Yesterday the band had a Sunday afternoon gig in a park in Bloomington, IN, which is about 90 minutes from where I live. Temps were not ideal, having hovered in the low 90s all weekend, but the summer has been so rainy I was excited about just being able to see the sun.

I worked on the door lock part of the day, sweated a good deal, and considered driving the Chevelle to the gig. It was hot. The Chevelle has 3.73 gears out back. It hadn’t been driven at all in the past two years save its recent trip to Muncie Dragway.

It was Yes/No, Yes/No right up until the end when I decided, screw it, it’s a car with wheels. I’m driving it.

I got all the gear packed in and took off. My first stop was a gas station, as I only had about a quarter of a tank. I stopped in at the only gas station between my house and the highway. I pull up to one of the pumps and there’s a little sign taped to the grade selection button that says, “Sorry, no mid-grade or premium.” That’s actually the third time this has happened to me this summer, and at two different stations.

Well, I had a quarter tank which would easily get me to the station on the south side of town right where I pick up the state road to Bloomington. No big deal. I pull away from the pump, and as I’m pulling out into the street a station attendant standing next to the tow truck says, “Yeah, man!” I look over and he’s smiling real big at the car. I smiled back and took off. It’s those little things in life that make it worth living.

The drive down to Bloomington was hot, and I had every vent and window on that vehicle cracked wide open. About halfway down there someone in a red Doge Ram pickup eases by my and honks. It’s Smokin’ Dave, the bass player for the band. I spend the rest of the trip trying to keep up with him as he cuts between everybody who impedes his 70-plus speeds. It kept the tach revvin’, but I was worried I’d be late, so I hung with him. Not my favorite scenario.

The gig was hot. It was really, really, really friggin’ hot. I hadn’t grabbed any water before I left, and they didn’t have any for us. The wonderful gal who puts the shows together got us some midway through, however, and that saved the evening.

After the show I loaded up the car and talked with the Brookshire brothers, a sibling rhythm section from town. They were both really diggin’ the Chevelle. It was nice to hear some compliments and to talk cars for a while. It made the drive feel worthwhile, even with the rush and the heat.

After packing up I had dinner with some local friends whom I don’t get to see often enough, and then I headed for home.

The drive home, now that was something special. I was under no time constraints, the heat was gone, and all I had to do was keep the pedal steady and listen to the radio. The soft, faded glow of the dash lights was soothing; the rumble of the dual exhaust just loud enough to let me know it’s there. I was in the middle of a moment that I had idealized since I put the key in the ignition and lit out for Bloomington earlier that day. I was suddenly reaping the rewards of all my efforts for that day, and so I sat there behind the wheel, quietly enjoying the hell out of every second of it all the way home.


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