Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The West Texas Town of El Paso

this from David Branch:
El Paso, Texas
When you are passing through El Paso on the old road, the Alameda,
down the city center, past freightyards and nut trees, along the dried out
husk of the Rio Grande you find yourself wrapped up in a kind of tidal ebb
of the leftover stuff of a city that has moved to higher ground. Driving here
you are so close to the border and the whole nation of Mexico over your
shoulder and you are right in the middle of the layered past of El Paso.

In 1972 this part of town some six blocks from the old Juarez bridge was
at a kind of turning point. The old stores and hotels were looking for a way
to freshen up their image and FoMoCo had done the same thing with their
venerable line of F-series trucks. They introduced their new body style in
1967 and by 1972 when this Sport Custom model hit the pavement they
were at a crucial point. The classic lines of their early / mid sixties trucks
had been squared off and boxed out with this 5th generation of trucks.
By 1973 (just after this truck was built) they had mildly reworked the body
into for me what was the most quintessential F-series (but in no way the
most charming). Growing up in the eighties those trucks were everywhere.
That concave fold in the body line, from sidelight to sidelight, the appar-
ently broader stance, wider radials in place of tall, skinny 7.5x16’s took
the last vestiges of an older, antiquated vehicle that was to me still read-
ily apparent in the 67’-72’ models and pushed them ever deeper into an
historic past.

Like the old Woolworth’s up the street, this Boxwood Green and Tam-
pico Yellow two-tone F-100 Sport Custom still sits here, bearing the days
of its life out in sunbleached, dogged hard work. Surpassed but still at its
business. I never much cared for these trucks, but mostly because I never
really noticed them. Time has been favorable to her lines and her owners
have used her well. It shows and I love the truck for that quality. I love that
part of the city for that that quality. It’s called dignity and it works well,
perhaps even at its best, when un-noticed.  It is what draws me to cars and I think a good many
others. Something beyond obsession, out of reach of the checkbook and
right in the hands of the people who merely keep on using something they

No comments:

Post a Comment