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There is always a contingent of
people who will pleasantly say
“Hello” but will not engage you in
conversation. Sometimes this is a
good thing. Some of my coworkers
see me as a wimpy hippy. I am
guilty of the “hippy” tag. True, I
don’t have the deepest of voice, I
cannot recite any sports statistics,
and I did not enjoy the movie
“Dumb and Dumber.” But does that

make me a wimp? Apparently it does enough to keep some guys at a distance.

I drive an old Chevy Blazer that has seen better days and straighter bumpers. A few mild dents and 160,000 miles on the odometer announce that I am not a very car-image individual. The Blazer doesn’t like to be driven on the highway at high speeds; in fact, it refuses to go over 60, even downhill. It’s a senior citizen and just as irascible, but it gets me there and back. I respect that.

One week my Blazer was being repaired, so I had to borrow my son’s car: a Chevy Camaro I-Roc — a real muscle car. In fact, you have to be strong just to close the door. The car is so low to the ground that it hurts my arthritic knees to climb in and out of it. I couldn’t see where the front of the car ended beyond the hood. There was this vast horizon that I kept staring at and driving toward without ever reaching the Promised Land.

The first day that I drove the I-Roc to work, I was afraid to go over my routine 35 miles per hour. By the third day, I couldn’t do under 35. The thing just wouldn’t go slow!

Seeing my new ride in the parking lot at work, a few of the guys who’d had minimal contact with me in the past began to ask questions.

“Is it a 5.7 liter, 350 cubic inch, tune port injected engine? Does it handle well? You got low profile, wide tread tires on polished aluminum sport wheels? A 323:1 gear ratio, 4-speed over-drive tranny with a posi-traction rear end?”

Fearing I would have to explain what the car did have (and not having a clue what that might be!), I answered enthusiastically, “Oh yeah, man. She’s got some gitty-up!!” As it turns out, it does have all the things they described. They related to me personal incidents with their Porsches and Corvettes. I had become an unspoken member of their elite club, welcomed into their fold, but I was never very comfortable. The values they ascribed to their machines just didn’t matter to me.

By the end of the week, my Blazer was repaired, and I was back to driving it to work. After experiencing the youth of my son’s car, the Blazer felt like the senior citizen that it is, and I was back to my normal 35 miles per hour routine. Gradually my newfound friends returned to the distance of our earlier silence. First, just a nod and a “How ya doin’?” rapidly deteriorated to “humph” as we passed each other in the halls. Finally, we were back to avoiding eye contact, and things had returned to normal. Sometimes this is a good thing.

Copyright 2002
Timshel Literature