The Middle of Nebraska 1969

by Regis Boff

My first car was a used Buick Electra convertible. I bought it to travel across the country with my girlfriend, Edna, in the summer of my sophomore year in Columbia College.
It was the longest car ever manufactured in the United States at the time. I abandoned it, sandwiched between endless cornfields on a locust Nebraskan evening in 1969.
It continues to this day to be the only car in the Midwest acknowledged by a mailing address. Two families have lived in it since I gave it up.
I was a hippy then, and she was a gulping lovely Israeli from Barnard College who never fully embraced my car. She felt the automobile understated her worth.
She dumped me and my axle- broken ride on a turnpike gravel off-ramp 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 or the cars, on the girls.
Most stunning women, many of whom can otherwise barely sneeze without advice, reliably know the sticker price of any car on the road.
Precision machines are potent symbols of compatibility to a woman. I lived for this hunt. It did not occur to me until decades later that the only reason I worked at all was to buy expensive cars.
After I married, my dynamic of seduction had to be re-calibrated.
We moved to a small-town called Irvington in Ny to pretend we were raising our kids as average Americans.
We bought a Volvo station wagon.​ It is the most deceitful machine ever marketed. Breathtakingly fast, it draws in the skeptical​ new father who suspects his life is over while the woman knows that crash test dummies play Scrabble in it, during its collision tests.
My current car and I are growing old together and cooperate nicely with our predictable repair schedules. It takes me to doctors, and I take it to our mechanic on Main St.
Every once in a while, I sense a certain smugness from the car. As if it thinks it might outlast me.
Then that old hardness in me shows itself, and I suggest it might like a trip to Nebraska.


PUBLISHED: February 15, 2017
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds
PUBLISHED: February 15, 2019
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds