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.


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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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

No Cupholders: 1961 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight & Supersized America

It's funny how the overabundance of food plays out in contemporary American life. Most obviously in the obesity epidemic. It's dispiriting, to arrive back in the US or Canada from a less voluminous country like The Netherlands, say, or Italy, where the population is relatively slender. Another aspect that I've noticed: people seem to expect  food and drink to be provided almost everywhere these days, in every setting involving more than a one-on-one meeting. Parent meetings at school, for example: there is always someone deputized to provide "snacks." Like we can't do without food for an hour.  At many business meetings there is the tray of gigantic muffins--often studded with chocolate--- and the box of Starbucks coffee. 
Cupholders proliferate in cars, and people are feasting or gobbling on their way to work. It's Food, 24/7. The current cultural mania about cooking and baking and restaurants is part of the larger story of overabundance...
I've noticed that when classic cars and trucks--any vehicle made before the 1980s--are being test-driven in the old car magazines  the writers, knowing their audience of super-sized guys, will usually make some reference to the difficulty of fitting in behind the steering wheel. The older the car/truck, the narrower and tighter the fit. Trucks from the 1930s? Fuggedaboudit.
And don't get me started on the bottled-water thing. I see this supposed need to constantly "hydrate" as faux-science perpetrated by corporate giants of the bottled water biz.
Anyway, no ungainly cupholders in this Olds. It was a sleek machine. Though maybe not quite so sleek in real life as in the advertisements. GM art of the era really pancaked the cars.

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