Kage Baker loved our PT Cruiser. She bought it for me – since she herself couldn’t drive – and carefully added goodies to it to make it just perfect. Chrome, mostly; chrome trim on the outside and wood trim on the inside. A pewter pirate figurine on the dashboard, to point the way forward. A bobble head zombie pirate – decked with Mardi Gras beads – in the back window, since California wouldn’t let her install stern cannons …
Today I drove North to Santa Rosa, in Kage’s – and my – beloved Pirate Cruiser. I’ve a convention to attend; and friends to see and friends to mourn with the friends I see. Rituals await me, and they matter very much.
In the course of finding my way from I-5 to Highway 101, I chose to traverse Highway 37. The old Blackpoint Faire site was on 37, just off Atherton Drive. Now it’s a posh housing development. I sneer every time I drive by.
So, this afternoon, I passed. I sneered. I headed for the western end of the 37, where you basically can do one of three things: go to San Francisco, go to Eureka, or drive into a ditch.
At this point, a branch from the gardener’s truck driving in front of me leaped out onto the highway and under the front bumper of my car. It broke almost at once – but as it did so, it pulled my front bumper out like a loose tooth, and levered my chromed grill right off the front of the Cruiser. Spang! The grill flew off into traffic and was promptly run over by some lumpy little green hybrid.
Ascertaining with much profanity that at least my bumper (also chrome) was still attached, I managed the turn on to the North bound 101. I ended up in the parking lot of the Safeway in Novato, where I spent many Faire Saturday nights weeping with exhaustion in the produce section … I crawled under my car to make sure the branch was gone and nothing was leaking or on fire. I crawled back out from under my car (a lot more slowly and creakily) and lay there a moment mourning my vanished grille and loose bumper.
No one looked at me twice; Novato is in Marin County, but only 30 miles North of San Francisco. A woman weeping under a car – as long as it’s a nice car – doesn’t make anyone even blink.
I eventually got up and went into the Safeway, and bought Rouge et Noir Triple Cream Cheese and red apricots. Then I drove on to Santa Rosa, where my dear good friends the Skolds are kind of used to me arriving in a cloud of dust and a narrowly-avoided disaster … they are very patient people. Probably saints.
I’m gonna eat cheese and red apricots for breakfast, and take my car – OUR car – to the dealer to get the bumper fixed. Then I’ll order a new chromed grill. Kage’s tricked-out pirate car will not be diminished! I will not lose anything else I love this week!
Fuck you, Death. And Death of Chrome, too.