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Dear Garrison, You don't seem

October 5, 2004 |

Dear Garrison,
You don't seem to be much of a car guy, I don't ever hear you say much about them. My dad is a car guy, he can tell you more about which car he was driving which year than he can tell you about anything any of us kids were doing in that same year. But I don't hold that against him. I just bought the sexiest sports car ever. It makes you want to put on a classy business suit with a really short skirt, high heels and maybe some pearls. Well, if you're a woman, that is.

What was your favorite car ever, and what do you drive now? Does Guy Noir have a car? I see him as a kind of Plymouth type. Sedan.

Your faithful listener,
Nancy

Nancy, youíre right, Iím not a car guy, though I do love driving. Last November, I got to do a lecture tour in northern California and got to drive around through the redwoods and the almond ranches and along U.S. 1 on the coast, the greatest drive in the country, and one morning, loading up the trunk at a motel in Davis, I thought to myself how much my dad wouldíve loved that trip. He was a Ford man, though, and I was driving a rental Buick. My favorite car was a red Mustang I owned through the late Sixties. I was newly married, twentysomething, living in south Minneapolis, and my wife and I liked to drive down along the Mississippi from Prescott, Wisconsin, south to Lake Pepin. I had longish hair and wore jeans and white shirts and tweed sportcoats and drove with the window open, smoking, listening to the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Stones. Weíd eat at a roadhouse in Stockholm or Wabasha and come home. These days, I drive a Saab station wagon, but I donít go anywhere in it. I work at home a lot, I buy my clothes from Landsend.com, my wife and I go out to eat at restaurants in the neighborhood, and I really miss driving. I have a friend in Duluth and another in Minneota and another in northern Wisconsin and I keep meaning to get in the car and drive and see them, and I donít do it. But I will. For sure I will when my daughter gets big enough to sit in the front seat with me and read a map. The summer after she turns twelve, Iíd love to take her on a long car trip out west and down the California coast to L.A. and take Route 66 to the Grand Canyon and take that great drive up through Durango, Colorado, and over the Rockies, and then head home through Nebraska and Iowa. I look forward to that. Guy Noir drives a late-model Plymouth sedan. (How did you know?) Itís a loaner, given him by a guy named Rocky who had to leave town and who has never returned. The passenger seat is full of debris, hamburger pods, empty Dr. Pepper cans, old Racing Forms, and cigarette butts with lipstick smears on the filters.

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