a sense of hummer

My heart flooded with optimism at the sight of its gleaming blue-gray flanks—the color of the early morning sky over the Rockies. The word “Independence,” emblazoned on the passenger-side door, glinted even in the dim afternoon. The mass of it overwhelmed me; its ingenuity awed me. These rhino bars, this trailer hitch, those massive wheels rolling impassively over the pavement—surely here stood the glittering epitome of America’s technological success; surely this was the worthy capstone of the past century’s automotive progress.

And how could this vehicle—which neither mountain crags, nor gulches, nor barren dunes can constrain—how could it allow itself to be bullied by bureaucrats, planners, construction workers, and parking enforcement officers who saw fit to delineate the frontier—to pave it and draw lines on it, and thereby circumscribe that freedom that our forefathers fought so hard to protect—the freedom that this very vehicle celebrates? The answer is: It could not. It did not. In parking it—in posing it on the street corner to impress the world—she placed it in not one parking space, but two.

She! That icon of womanhood! That princess of automotive freedom! When she immerged from her metal steed, it became clear to me that she represented not the dowdy, downtrodden driveresses that populate our tattered byways, but some higher ideal—some butter-haired icon of driverly beauty—some all-American vision of the freedom of the roads!

Imagine my surprise at her entrance to my humble place of business. Imagine the joy I felt at upon realizing that hers was no paltry natural beauty, no improbable exception of age and physique, but a shrine to the triumph of science! Her hair golden long past its natural ability; her skin suntanned and smoothed in no way even nature could devise; her figure girlish years—decades—beyond any deservance on her own part to be called so: I marveled at these, even blessed myself that I should live in an age, in a nation, where such miracles transpire.

That the first words to flit from her lips should ask, “Do you buy old frames?” transported my delight to ecstasy. Here, embodied before me, stood the American Spirit in toto. Not content in her evident riches—not content in her mighty wheels and meticulous bod—she yet felt within her the American yearning to achieve wealth—nay, glory!—to market, to barter, to dicker, yea—to vend!

“My family used to own an antique shop,” quoth she—but how she spoke! With a disinterested nasality that murmured a frustration with the present, suserrated a desire to run free, to seek the future, whatever be its forms. So overcome was I, nary a word could I speak, not even in the interest of the frames, for verily they seemed hideous.

My eye watched her with patriotic zeal
As she walked out and climbed behind the wheel;
And I looked on from stodgy world of art
As she and Hummer boldy did depart!

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6 Responses to “a sense of hummer”


  1. 1 jenlinnan June 29, 2006 at 4:23 am

    Wonderful portrayal. Seems like she not only has a sense of hummer, but is also a great (t)wit.

  2. 2 Joseph Shoer June 30, 2006 at 1:48 am

    I hope she reads this.

  3. 3 jenlinnan June 30, 2006 at 2:10 am

    Also, the last part has “controversial children’s lit!” written all over it.

    I can see the NYTimes headlines now:

    Social Satire for Kids Inspires ANGER ANGER RAGE From Rich Parents

    Author Forced to Use Alias to Avoid Litigation from Waldenbooks

    Cruddy Frame Vendor Reads Son’s Book, Reconsiders Botox

  4. 4 Joseph Shoer July 5, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    By the way, Alden, your image header reminds me of this: http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-06/rd/toys/

  5. 5 sister October 10, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    alden- you misspelled “emerge.” quite egregiously, in fact. that’s a point on your license.

    i’m keeping track.


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