About that picture of a Studebaker over my desk

When a young friend saw a photo of a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk on the wall near my desk, she asked if that was the car Abraham Lincoln used to drive.

She was kidding, of course. She knows that driver’s licenses weren’t being issued in the mid-19th Century. But as far as she’s concerned, the car I so admire belongs in the same dustbin of history as the Civil War and, for that matter, most anything that occurred before, say Lady Gaga and Justin Whatisname.

Is she wrong to think I’m so traumatized by modern times that I need to hide in “fuddyduddydom” by clinging to reminders of my youth?

Hey I’m on the Internet every day using my broadband connection. I own, and sometimes wear, a shirt made of organic recycled material (old Beef Jerky wrappers I think). I’ve been known to text message on my BlackBerry (though it’s the ancient version that won’t play videos, snap photos  in 3-D, or double as a remote control for the BlueRay player.)

Indeed I know how to live, even operate–more or less–like a functioning human being, in the present. I get along all right.

Still, there’s something about that classic car, its styling, and memories it brings up, that I find comforting. Particularly when I’m stymied in attempts to complete my work. The phone? It yields plenty of robo-calls but no responses to my recorded messages asking for information. The email application is no better, as it serves up only arguments from colleagues (“the dog ate my homework”) when I ask for progress reports on over-due projects. Some technical tools give me a particularly hard time: (“Error Message #329-847. The operation requested cannot be performed at this time. Visit our website, www.thejokeisonyou.com, to learn about special offers for application upgrades which might solve your problem.”)

At times like that, I could kick the cat–if Boscoe hadn’t left home (and maybe that was why)–or I can stare at the photo of the Studie and remember how the scooped chrome moldings on the dash, curving around the speedometer and the gauges, somehow had me believing that the car could go a million miles an hour, and attract someone beautiful who would love me–or at least make out a little. I sat in a Golden Hawk once, and for a moment or two, found myself believing it could transport me to a better place.

No, I don’t want to pretend it’s 1957, I just want a moment of pure joy to creep into my experience of 2011.

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