So. The dogs and I spent last Saturday night over to some friends house in Albuquerque so that we could watch the big Balloon Festival. They live high on a hill in Corrales that is maybe four miles from the Balloon Park. As the ABQ is perfectly located for hot air balloon flying—what with its daily “box wind” phenomenon—the largest city in New Mexico draws people worldwide to attend the annual Balloon Festival.
The box wind dealio is because of the mountains around ABQ and the fact that the wind blows every which a direction as you ascend to different heights. So, basically, you can fly in circles by moving to higher and lower elevations. In spite of the rough landings that broke legs, and the one balloon that hit high power lines and burst into flames, it was fun to watch.
Before we left Santa Fe Saturday afternoon, we winterized the GTO—parked and covered and got it ready for a few months’ nap. The grand old girl is heady fun when it’s warm, but Winter’s cold and slick roads are anything but fun. Which is what sparked me to write today.
The other car previously holding the second slot in the fleet here to La Casita de Santa Fe was a rather large Chevy SUV. Big enough to carry 4′X8′ sheets of plywood, the oversize SUV was a menace on my adoptive hometown’s narrow streets and skinny parking slots. It was likewise a little clumsy in the mountains in spite of its four-wheel drive system.
The big Chevy met its demise two weeks ago when we drove it to get veggies from the Farmers’ Market. We were later in the morning leaving than usual and all the prime parking spots were already filled. I finally found a target space on Guadalupe Street, but some asshole in an Audi had parked over the back line of my assigned spot. The driver had not only parked over the line, but had done so quite crookedly. As I cursed started to drive off, Squirt said to me, she said, “You can fit it in, Mooner, I’ll guide you.”
I unhooked the diminutive brown ball of piss and vinegar from her harness and she jumped from front seat to back, and then over to the rear deck. I watched in the mirror as she surveyed the situation, pacing front-to-back and mumbling to herself, as she laid her backup plans. “OK, shithead, pull up at an angle and start backing up. Slowly.”
I started backing, slowly, and after we traveled maybe ten feet I heard, “Hard left!” and I did, and then, “Straighten her out,” and I did again.
“Slowly, slowly… slowly” Squirt cautioned me as she guided me with her muzzle pressed to the rear window. Her tiny face was squished to the glass as she gauged the distances between curb and Audi bumper. “OK, cut it hard right! No, shithead, the other right!”
After maybe fifteen minutes, the two of us managed to wedge the rear tire of the Chevy tight against the curb, and our ass-end to the Audi in a way that made it impossible for the Audi to move without dragging against the back of my car by snagging his bumper against the sharp, truck-like edge of mine.
The Squirt had the goat dog take a pee on his driver’s side door, and we left the two cars to defend for themselves.
“You need to send that monstrosity back to Austin and get us a proper New Mexico winter car, Bwana Mooner. Yoda and I plan to spend way plenty time exploring this snow season, and we want a fun car for it.”
“What do you have in mind, little lady? I haven’t car shopped for years now and I don’t even know what’s available.”
She and Yoda conferred for a bit. “Well, I want a Porsche and that silly shit wants a horse. He said that would be the historically correct choice of transportation.”
I’ve been reading Santa Fe histories to the dogs to help them get a feel for our magical hometown. The original roads in town were built to be only two horses wide, an effort to make invasion a quite difficult task.
“No Porsche and no horses. Too expensive, too much trouble, and uncomfortable for three to boot.”
We were walking along the railroad tracks that meander from Santa Fe to the ABQ like an umbilical cord sprung from my new hometown’s belly button, the Rail Yard. Squirt stopped at one of the many benches where she and Yoda jumped up to perch. “Sit down, Mooner, and let’s get serious. This can’t be a knee-jerk decision. Cars cost a lot of money these days and you need to take your time. The goat dog and I have a wish list—all wheel drive, roomy, dependable, panoramic sun roof, stain resistant interior all around, and a really great sound system. You can’t just be buying the first thing that catches your eye.”
She was right, you know. I can’t choose new cars with the same impulsive decision making process as I have with the wives. I keep cars for twenty years or longer.
We did our market shopping without too many distractions and returned to Guadalupe Street to find the Chevy SUV sitting on four flat tires and a full dozen Daisy’s Farm Fresh Free Range eggs dripping and sun-drying on the finish. I’m pretty sure they were Large, and I knew they were Daisy’s because of the color of the yolks. We buy a couple dozen of Daisy’s finest Large each trip to the market.
Anyway, the Audi was gone and I got pissed and after getting the car cleaned and tires inflated, we went car shopping. The three of us drove through every fucking car lot in town as we window shopped. The kids would “Oooo,” and “Ahhhh,” at all sorts of shit, and the Squirt was a running string of car commercials as we passed her favored models.
“What’s the matter, asshole, you haven’t stopped to see a single thing. What could possibly be wrong with the Acura MDX? It’s been totally redesigned and made for mankind! You don’t seem very excited about any of this.”
She was right. I just couldn’t get into it. “Let’s go down to the ABQ and get some hot dogs at Der Weinerschnitzel.” We love Der Schnitzel dogs, the three of us do.
So we did, and we exited at the wrong street and were forced to drive the access road to get back on the freeway. “Oh look, asshole, it’s the Mini store! Let’s check them out,” Squirt exclaimed.
So we did. Bought the first thing we saw—a Mini Countryman S All-4 with six speed manual transmission, no panoramic sunroof and a basic stereo system. It’s the ugliest thing you ever saw, and we love it.
Which reminds me. Has anybody thought to say that the reason the Affordable Health computer systems crashed from overuse is because the silly fucking Repubbies spent so much time promoting Obamacare? Planning for the best from a soft opening, Government computer systems planners felt that as many as 50,000 people would be logged on at any given time. Since all the systems were new, no real advertising program was planned and when you give the great American populace three months to do anything, the great bulk of us do it on the next-to-last day. Plan was, get the glitches worked out in early October, fix those glitches, and then be ready for the rush with a proven system.
But—thanks to those silly boys and girls who wish to take affordable health care away from the rest of us—the months of heavily vitriolic anti-Obamacare rhetoric spurred huge numbers of visitors to the site. More than 250,000 at a time, or five times as many as expected in the wildest dreams of the planners.
And guess what. When people take the time to look at the actual data, they like it. Even the bigoted and greedy, close-minded assholes like it. It’s like that old cereal commercial. “They like it!”
Thanks, shitheads, for selling a great product. Manana, y’all.