The middle of Nebraska in 1969
by Regis Boff
My first car was a used Buick Electra convertible.
At the time, it was the longest car ever manufactured in the United States. I abandoned it, sandwiched between endless cornfields on a summer Nebraskan evening in 1969.
It continues to this day to be the only car, at least in the Midwest, acknowledged by a mailing address. Two families have lived in it since I dumped it. They still send our agreed rent. I tear up their small checks.
We headed to San Francisco. I was a hippy and she an Isreali. She was a gulpingly lovely girl who never fully embraced my car. She felt the car misrepresented her worth.
She dumped me and my broken ride in the roadside gravel and hitchhiked back east. I stole some raw corn and went in the other direction.
From then on I sought vengeance on all of them. Not on the corn, on the women. It was great fun.
It did not occur to me until decades later that the only reason I worked at all was to buy expensive cars. Precision machines are potent symbols of compatibility to a woman.
Truly beautiful women, many of which can barely sneeze without advice, know the price of any car on the road.
After I married, the dynamic of seduction had to be re-calibrated. We moved to a small town that new couples want for their children. They buy Volvo station wagons, as did we.
The Volvo is the most deceitful machine ever marketed. It is breathtakingly fast, drawing in the skeptical and continuously half-erect male. The woman, however, knows that crash test dummies play Scrabble in it, during collision tests.
My current car and I are growing old together. Both of us entering into a more predictable repair schedule. It takes me to doctors and I take it to our mechanic on Main St.
I sense a certain smugness from this car as if it thinks it might outlast me.
Then that old hardness in me shows itself and I suggest to it might like Nebraska.