May 22, 2009

Three Automotive Tales

1. The downtown library is on 9th Street. Should I take the 10th-11th Street exit or the 3rd-8th? I try the 10th-11th and am pleased with the results.

2. The guy ahead of me is a red Crown Victoria with a Police Interceptor decal, the paint job glossy except for matte patches on the trunk. He cruises fast and smooth, then slows unnaturally as he comes up beside an elderly Buick driven by a black man. The Police Interceptor takes his time giving the black man a once-over; I can see the bill of his baseball cap turn right, then forward, then right again. Then he speeds up, smooth and silent down the highway.

He’s not a cop. He bought the car at auction from the Department of Public Safety. He’s impersonating a Police Interceptor.

3. There was a fatal one-car accident on the thoroughfare where I make the left turn into my neighborhood several times a day. Within a week the city had lowered the speed limit and put up a long row of black-on-yellow arrow signs to warn of the curve. I’d long expected that one day when I slowed for that exit, which is not visible till about fifty yards before you reach it, I’d be rammed from behind by a speeder who didn’t see to switch lanes in time.

The silver SUV sitting upside-down on the cordoned-off, glass-spattered street. The cross, gilt with wrapping paper and pinned with cloth flowers, that the homeowner immediately erected on the sidewalk.

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