I was talking to a coworker about cars and I mentioned my favorite car that I’ve ever owned. His jaw dropped and rightly so. This conversation got me thinking about other favorite things, so I thought I’d do a list of them (or for those countries inordinately fond of sticking extra Us in things that don’t need them: favourite).
The best car I ever owned was a 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455. When I bought her, she was already thirty some years old and not in the best aesthetic condition, but mechanically sound. All I had to do was replace some belts, and give her a tune up and oil change. She ran like a brand new car.
I named her Tank, because that’s just what she was. Tank is now featured in my fictional series The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton.
I don’t have any pictures of her here, but she looked very similar to this one, but my hood and wheels were different:
And this was the drawing I did of her rear end:
I loved the hell out of that car. Even in her primer gray, imperfect state, she was a beauty. She had a massive engine with that low rumbly sound that classic American muscle cars of her era have that set off car alarms.
People always tried to race me at red lights. I’d look over and laugh. Not even trying, Tank was faster off the line than any car I encountered. Off the line, she beat everyone. I didn’t race any farther than that, because red light racing is for people with something to prove and neither Tank nor I had anything to prove.
It pissed off all those dudes in Porsches and Mercedes that tried to race me. They’d catch me up and go roaring past after about five to ten seconds. Whatever, jackhat. I wasn’t even trying to race you, because it wouldn’t be fair to compare the biggest (455 cu. in.) and most powerful (510 pounds per foot of torque at a mere 2800 rpm) big block V8 engine produced during the classic muscle car era to whatever puny thing you’re hiding in your widdle European sports car. Puh-lease. Just the sound of my engine could vibrate your car to pieces.
Yes, mine’s bigger than yours… and I’m a girl. Deal.
For those of you who have no idea what a pound foot of torque means, here are the stats for my current car, a BMW 3 series: 153 cubic inch V6 engine with 175 lb/ft. at 3500 rpm.
And for shits and giggles, the Ferrari 458: 270 cu. in. V8 engine, 398 lb/ft. at 6,000 rpm. My GS engine was 40% bigger with 112 more lb/ft of torque available at less than half of the revolutions per minute than a Ferrari.
The GS is bigger and heavier than a Ferrari or BMW, yes, but also more way powerful. Give me classic American muscle over a tiny European sports car any day. I suppose you could call my current car a widdle European sports car, but I think of it more as a mid-sized European sedan that has enough power to get out of its own way.
Eventually, I sold Tank because she deserved an owner who had more money to sink into her than I could, which was no money. Basically, I sold her because I wanted to give her a better home. Every once in a while, I get an email from the guy I sold her to showing me what improvements he’s done. Fortunately, he loves her as much as I did. He even kept the name Tank.
This honor goes to the house I grew up in. I lived there for the first fifteen years of my life. Even though one of those years involved sexual abuse at the hands of a sadistic pedophile, it wasn’t the house’s fault.
Originally, it was a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom house. When my grandfather died, my parents built a two-story addition on the back with two more bedrooms, another full bath, a full living room and a kitchen.
My parents optimistically thought that my grandmother would live a separate life in her own separate living quarters. It didn’t quite turn out that way. The doors between the two residences were never closed and it just became one massive house with two kitchens, two living rooms, five bedrooms, and two and a half baths.
You could start in one room and go around in a huge circle up and down stairs to make it right back where you started. For a kid, tearing around all that space with all those stairs was absolute heaven. I was very sad when we finally moved.
I’ve been very lucky to have some awesome pets in my life, but the best pet I ever had was my first cat. He was the most chill, laid back cat I’ve ever met. I named him Tigger, because at five years old, I was brilliantly creative and obviously not at all a fan of Winnie The Pooh:
He used to let my sister and me do anything to him. We have pictures of him lying on his back in a baby stroller dressed up in baby clothes complete with a bonnet. What other cat would let you do that? My current cat would maybe tolerate that for all of ten seconds. Good luck having a cat stay like that long enough to take a picture.
Not Tig though. Tig would let us do anything to him. Fortunately, other than dressing him up, my sister and I weren’t maniacal animal torturers, still he was the most patient cat ever. He lived about twenty years. I cried like mad when he died. I still miss that cat.
He ruined me on the concept of cats by making me think they are all as cool as he was.
I don’t necessarily mean best book or my favorite book as in what’s in it, but favorite book as in a physical object that I move from place to place with me.
On or in my bedside table, you will find a dog eared, worn copy of this book:
It lives there. I don’t read it all the time, but every once in a while, when I don’t feel like reading whatever book I’m reading, I’ll pick it up and flip around in it, reading it for the nth time.
It’s my favorite book, not just because I love the words, but also because it’s symbolic. You see, I’ve never been a big fan of poetry, and at one point, I was a book snob, meaning I wouldn’t read anything unless it was about 100 years old or older. I figured that anything that had stuck around that long had to be worth reading.
A boyfriend gave my some Bukowski prose. I fell in love with Bukowski’s style and got all of his other prose, but I still had no interest in the poetry books.
A friend of mine, knowing I’m a Buk fan, gave this book (not this book, but the copy I had before the one I currently have) to me as a housewarming present over ten years ago. I was smitten. Since then, I’ve tracked down a lot of other Buk poetry.
I keep The Last Night of The Earth Poems close to me as a reminder that sometimes your favorite things come in unexpected packages. Also, don’t judge a book by its cover. Also, I happen to love the hell out of this book. It’s my favorite of his poetry.
I’ve written about this in the post Seeing Stars, so I’m just going to quote myself:
Where my parents live, in rural, northern Michigan, it seems as though you can even see into neighboring galaxies. There are so many stars, and they all shine so brightly, that it’s hard to tell one constellation from another. The night sky actually looks three-dimensional; you can almost tell which are closer and which are father away. The stars are so visible that you don’t even have to crane your head upward as they peek right over the horizon. It makes you feel as if you’ve been thrown back in time to an era before science.
I used to spend every summer there at that cottage on the lake. To this day, my favorite place to be in the whole world is lying horizontally on the end of the dock, outstretched over the clear, freshwater lake. If the water level is high enough, you can lie on your back and lazily drag your hand through the tranquil night water as it gently laps beneath you. As you breathe deeply of the clean, summer night air that smacks of pine and cedar, the only sounds you will hear are the distant chirping of crickets and twittering of birds. Overhead, there is a circus of stars, all performing at their twinkling best for your benefit. There is nothing that will make you realize the vastness of the universe and your own irrelevance to it all better than that.
What are your favorites?