To make a long story short, I saw a pretty old car on the way back from class and it made my day.
If only I had turned my phone on a minute or two earlier, having turned it off for class I could’ve snapped a picture. It was a 1962 Chevrolet, a big four door. Glossy black paint with red pinstriping running along the side, but not along the hood. The chrome front gleamed under the city lights. It was night, you see, I’d hardly seen the car rushing home in the cold and it just burst out at me. I love the front of 1962 Chevrolets – they’re wide, but not too wide. they’re tall, but not too tall. They have a solid look to them, lacking the kind of Castle America thinness of years before, not yet so sculpted as they would be in years after. The 1965 is my favorite, but that is such a minute, infinitesimal part of how I thought of this car. The ’65 never blipped into my mind as I was overcome by the shape, the gleam, the sound of the Chevrolet.
That, that’s beauty. Yes it had a red leather interior and the shape was just right and the paint was just right and the sound and the exoticism. That was so secondary. Removed from the context, taken and put into a car show and I’d have hardly given it a glance, I’d see it on some car blog and I’d let it flash on my screen for less than a second, a new tab opened, closed.
I remember turning to see it and the badge on the front imprinted itself into my memory, seen in a blur, my head lifting up. The whole experience was like that. I was walking home from class in a rush. The badge I saw in a moment. The whole experience was like that. The car was a brief and overwhelming mass of input, a gorgeous old car pulls up to the light and I get to plunge into another world for only a brief spell, immersed in contemplation and analysis.
I saw the Chevrolet and my mind whirred and fizzed, I had to identify it in a split second, I tried to turn my phone on to take a picture, I thought of what picture to take, so many stored pieces of history and information rushed into my head. What kind of engine does it have? What kind of Chevrolet is it? What is so interesting about the 1962? What is the shape of its C-pillar? Who is driving it? What can I ask them about this car? What is interesting about it? It ran me over, it sucked me into its radiator, compressed me, burned me in its engine, washed me all over its sheetmetal and along its glittering metal dash, had me race back along its frame and out those pipes to hear that burbling sound and watch those glowing red lights fade fast into the night.
There is something about the night that makes things feel otherworldly. there is something about being in motion and at speed that makes things feel otherworldly. I did not have time to take the whole car in, it was forever withholding some mystery and in its first pull of good looks and in its secret beauties, I was lovestruck.