[image swiped from the internet]
I was writing a story for an internal staff newsletter this past week about a colleague who maintains an extraordinary hobby, one that I’ve never heard of: restored fire-truck clubs. Unlike motorcycle rallies or hot rod conventions, his group is one that gets together to show off their 105′ ladders and deafening sirens – and participate in the occasional parade.
While composing the story, I was reminded of an experience that took place in St. Louis a few years ago when I was walking through the streets of Soulard and found myself in the midst of an interminable row of restored Mustangs and Corvettes as well as amped-up antique autos.
It was as disorienting as it was fascinating to see the hordes of people flocking to the street-show, which extended for several blocks and boasted a range of vehicles equally impressive and obnoxious.
While recalling that afternoon, I wrote the following:
Muscle-car mobs are parked up and down city streets
with salivating spectators unfailingly gazing at paint jobs
Stunning and senseless
Girlfriends peer into the chrome to preen their reflections
Admiration is at its deepest under the hood
Smatterings of tire geek-speak spin by every corner
Fuel burns and heat blurs
Incomprehensible chatter about oil and leather buzzes through the choking air
Six-cylinder sickness sets in as the cruisers cough charcoal exhaust
Onlookers gasp for a clean breath
Free from the ferocious, gut-rumbling thunder of engines
Stinging, squinting, weeping and wheezing, it’s an excruciating exhibition
It’s vehicular manslaughter.