Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 8:44 p.m.
If you go visit a drive-through, and the bill is $10.68, and you hand the cute girl in the window $21, absolutely anything can then happen.
Just an observation.
I own two pickups, a 1995 Ford F-150 and a 2018 Chevy Colorado Z-71. They are as different as a prop plane and a jet. I love them both. I feel more upright when I sit in the Ford. It’s a five-speed. The Colorado is six-speed automatic.
As a general rule, when I’m off on a local assignment, I take the one with the most gas.
In the Ford, I listen to old homemade cassettes. In the Chevy, I listen to satellite radio. The Ford’s windows roll up and down. Its doors require a button to be punched. The Chevy has automatic windows, and occasionally I push the right button. It doesn’t have a gas cap. I now know why so many people who drive trucks back into parking spots. It’s that rear camera. I am also a parallel-parking fool now.
When I’m in the Ford, I feel like I’m really driving. I’m shifting the gears, feathering the throttle. I feel more like I’m just operating the Chevy, monitoring the systems. In the Chevy, with diagnostics at my disposal, I try to maximize mileage, which is much better than the Ford and also the Dodge Dakota (it was built the final year their trucks all became Rams) that preceded the Chevy. The Chevy has lots more power and yet still gets about five miles more to the gallon than the Dodge, which I gave to my sister, who seems to be delighted with it. The original plan was to buy a small sport-utility vehicle, but the Colorado was considerably more fun to drive than the SUVs I test-drove. It has a handy bed cover. I bought the Colorado with 12,000 miles on it. The term “pre-owned” makes a small amount of sense. It’s less used than other vehicles I’ve owned.
When I write about local news, I’m a stickler for writing out acronyms or initialisms on first usage. “SUV” is an initialism because it is not pronounced as a word. It’s “S-U-V.” If it was “Suv,” then it would be an acronym.
I hate to read articles that use acronyms and initialisms I don’t understand. “County Council announced it would submit a new BAGO grant application for work on the new STARE plant near the AGRICO project outside Mandrake Falls.”
A distressing number of times, when I ask what something stands for, the person in charge doesn’t know.
Then I search the web, only to find there are eight different acronyms of those letters. Not long ago I tried to look up what a PFDR (initialism) program was, and I’m fairly sure it wasn’t for Paint Free Dent Repair.
Sigh. Getting back to the trucks, I’ve had the Chevy for over a month now, and I’ve mostly figured out how everything works. The bells and whistles are useful, I guess. I just wish I could pick and choose whether or not I want all those features that make it much harder for me to mess up behind the wheel.
A part of me thinks that’s why I learned to drive by my ownself.
I guess it’s a good mix. My first pickup truck was the one we used on the farm. It was probably about a ’68, when Fords were F-100s instead of 150s. If I’d bought that ’95 new, I’d have probably thought it had too many gimmicks, too.
Yes. I will resist driverless cars. I think the first thing that will increase will be drinking behind the useless wheel. They’ll all have names. “Bessie, find a place for me to get a 12-pack, and then you can take me to Atlanta. Find a place for me to piss every 50 miles or so. Got it?”
Meanwhile, Bessie will be tipping off the cops.
Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.
The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.