by Jessy Kendall
brown once-leaf skudders shrill over pavement
i half run to get here
and i find three sweaters on chairs
and no one here
i will pull out the paper
i will pull out the paint
and make this day proper.
“My karma ran over my dogma.” Anonymous
by Rick Brown
bought it in 1991 … brand new. A Mazda Miata. The model was introduced
in 1989 and my wife Yvonne and I finally got sick and tired of
pushing … towing … repairing the two early 70’s MGBs we owned.
I reassured our mechanic we’d have him work on our new Miata.
He laughed and replied, “You guys buy a Miata and I’ll never see
you again!” I did see him again … ran into him at a Joan Baez concert a couple years
ago. Somehow I don’t think that’s what he was talking about.
insisted on silver. I wasn’t about to argue. After all, this is
as much a toy as it is an automobile. And that’s what we bought…silver
with black interior. At first we took turns driving our cute little
roadster. One week I drove it. The next it was her turn…which
was okay except it’s one of those cars where, when adjusting the
seat to fit the length of your legs you keep wishing there was
a spot right IN BETWEEN the two that aren’t quite right. No …
wait … too close … no wait … a little too far … now too close
… now too far. This “every other Monday adjusting the seat” ritual
may be why … even though the car is in her
name … for all intents and purposes … it became my
car. Yvonne more than
likely has a way different story concerning this. But I’m the
one writing this … so take my word for it.
babied my Miata. It’s been garaged almost every day of its life.
Okay … so I don’t wash it very often. The thing’s like 3 inches
off the ground!!! Washing and drying off a car that low to the
ground on a regular basis? Hell … I’d be in traction by now …
might even be using a walker!!! If you think I’m kidding watch
me get out of it sometime.
after buying our car I began to think it was jinxed. Within the
first four months I had been hit TWICE. And not by just anybody
either but by two UNINSURED motorists! How’s that for luck? The second accident was the worst. I was sideswiped
by a drunken crack head chick that left the scene when I went
to call the cops. And the saddest part of the whole thing was
she had a baby with her … a tiny baby in a baby carrier. After
the police arrived and I described her … well … they knew exactly
who I was talking about. “Oh yeah, she lives with her ex-con boyfriend
around here somewhere.” Great … just great.
To make a long sordid tale short, the first guy who hit me at
least got his wages garnisheed. The crack head chick and her ex-con
boyfriend skipped town.
for me, Yvonne and the Miata … my luck
changed immediately. I have yet to be in another wreck. Fourteen
years without a mishap involving another driver be they insure
or not. So when I had the car washed and detailed early this past
summer and noticed a small spot of rust by the driver’s side door,
I thought, “surface rust”. Why wouldn’t I? Garaged every day … no accidents …
no dents … the car has been the most dependable thing I’ve ever
driven. With this optimism I took it to a reputable body shop
for an estimate. I’m thinking … 800 bucks … maybe a thousand.
guy came out and introduced himself as Rob. I told Rob about the
surface rust by the driver’s door. He shook his head.
you’re right sir. But you know … rust can be a cancer.”
I replied … thinking he was being overly melodramatic.
Cancer. Your car might LOOK clean. But underneath … where you can’t
see … well … it can be like cancer”
he intoned as he helped visualize by moving his hands over the
My mind raced back to an old Neil Young album, “Rust Never Sleeps”.
His title came from a marketing campaign. Some of the guys who
later formed Devo had worked for a marketing company and that’s
the slogan they came up with for a body shop. But that seemed
friendly compared with, “Hey buddy. Sit down. I gotta tell ya
something. I’m afraid your car … has … cancer. Pretty far along too I’m afraid.”
And ya know what? That ended up being Rob’s diagnosis.
cancer. Spread up here
in the front quarter panel … not to mention some of the back quarter
he brought out the written estimate it was more than twice the
figure I’d imagined. Life is like that … more often than not.
Yvonne and I talked it over … thought about how nice it is without
a car payment … and decided to have Surgeon Rob take care of our
called and we set a date.
long will it be before she’s done?” I inquired before saying goodbye
to my ride.
be sure … until we get in there. Don’t know how bad it
is yet.” Rob said solemnly.
“Wow … cancer.”
a week goes by and both of us naively think maybe our Miata is
almost finished … the paint is drying right now. Then I get a
call at work … from Rob.