Tuesday, July 25, 2006

meet ze monsta

it is a gorgeous creature with lovely appointments. it is a faithful steed that carried me 4,000 miles without harm. it is a legacy of sorts. it is the bane of my motherfuckin' existence. it is the beast.

my father's mustang, now mine, has been a trial these last seven months. some have suggested that i not call it "the beast," as this moniker might hurt its feelings. i don't exactly believe that a car, even a sunshine yellow 1966 convertible v-8 with a boss pony interior, has feelings. but it has a personality, and a part of me believes it has a spirit, one that has been mightily riled and sorely tried by this change of ownership.

i never really name my cars or too often even think of them as male or female. the world is gendered enough; why bring inanimate objects into it? (i know ... the french, among many others, would beg to differ.) but, to satisfy the superstitious i agreed to give the vehicle a "real" name: hence, the beast also goes by butch. a proper name indeed for this monster. it is no ordinary pony. it's the fourth and by far the most frankensteinian mustang i've owned. the others were pretty much stock: a '69 coupe and a '66 convertible that were 6-cylinders, plus the '65 convertible v-8. this one has an electronic ignition box, some kind of '87 carb, a jury-rigged switch below the dash for turning on the backup lights (something my dad worked up so the car could pass inspection), all sorts of tinkerish irregularities resulting from being in my dad's possession for a decade and a half. not to mention, the 302 makes this the heaviest, loudest car i've had.

in addition to its quirks, the beast had/has some real problems -- the power steering, a crazy maze of electrical wires, something vague and so far undetectably weird with the transmission. and then late last month there was a strange and horrible accident with the battery -- long story short, battery acid was sprayed over a fair amount of the vital nearby systems. i had to replace the battery, cables, solenoid, electronic ignition box, sundry wires, all the belts, the radiator and hoses, and probably a couple other things i'm forgetting. it was really hellish, as the decay happened in stages, and i am not quite out of the woods yet, considering that since saturday i've been reduced to starting it with a screwdriver. (my dad taught me how, years ago. haven't used it since ... the last time i had a '66.) but at least i can do that 'til thursday, when it's more convenient for me to take it to my mechanic.

it's easy for me to feel even-tempered toward the beast right now, as all i require to make it go is one hand-held tool. but when it went through its period of randomly stalling in intersections (and this was before the acid damage) and starting and stalling again in the most haphazard of fashions, i wasn't so blase. i had resolved to master it, before it did me in, and i suppose we're both getting used to the relationship. which is a hell of a lot better than that period where we tried to kill each other.

what the beast's personality or spirit is, i am still learning. some of that will be shaped by me. but it was owned by my dad for a long time, and it has his habits imprinted on it. i am a somewhat more ... demanding mistress. still, it has its feral charms. i can see why dad liked it so much and kept it so long (he is singularly unsentimental when it comes to buying/selling vehicles). it's pretty stable; its extra weight can be used effectively without swinging around too much. it moves pretty sweetly when you get the acceleration just right -- it jumps forward with surprising grace for being so unwieldy -- leaving dickheads in SUVs in the dust, ha-ha! -- and gives you that momentary thrill of flying ... and that sense of possibility, that you could jam the pedal and break the sound barrier without too much effort. plus, it has a raw power that's weirdly reassuring. and the beast rumbles like a lion's purr. the power feels good. it amuses me to no end that the vibration sets off a few car alarms as i thunder in slow motion up to the 7th floor of the parking garage.

anyway, i call it butch sometimes, but i don't think it minds "the beast." wtf, there's nothing wrong with being a beast. i mean, that's what it is. and after all, in the fairy tale, the beast turned out to be a prince.

1 comment:

MW said...

keep that beast humming! its a bitching load!!
mw