A 1977 Chevrolet Nova, red four door with an inline six cylinder engine was the first car I ever had. I bought it for about five hundred dollars from a friend's sister, and if I hadn't been stupid, I may still have that car today. Like most vehicles from the mid to late 1970s, this thing was built with good old fashioned steel. This particular model had an automatic transmission, AM/FM radio and air conditioning. I, of course, added my own touches to the car to complete it, and I then proceeded to systematically shorten its lifespan, or so I thought, anyway.

I was seventeen at the time, and thought I could do just about anything I wanted to. My friends and I saw a bridge with a rather steep incline, so of course we thought it would be a fun idea to see how fast we could get the car going before crossing the bridge. Well, needless to say, the car hit the incline and went airborne, landing hard down on the road and in the process almost knocking me unconscious. I stopped the car and watched as one of the hubcaps came rolling around the front of the car. I looked underneath to make sure nothing was hanging down or leaking, and we were on our way. Surprisingly, I didn't do anything to the car.

The following year, I took my car to pick up my prom date at her grandparents' place. Keep in mind that this was 1995, and the car was showing a bit of age, but it was still mechanically sound. I arrive and pick her up, but not without her grandfather taking one look at the car and asking me if I was sure it was going to make it. He made it sound as though I had the car taped back together, when in reality all it had was a spot or two of rust. Regardless, we headed off and picked up a couple other friends and headed to the host hotel for the evening's festivities. We arrived without issue, had a great time, and then headed off to the bowling alley for a few frames of late night fun. While en route, I miscalculated a turn and ended up in the wrong lane. The only way back was crossing over the median divider, so after a deep breath, I crossed over, scraping the bottom of the car on the concrete. Once we made it to our destination, I took a look and again, there was no damage.

Some other minor things occurred over the course of my high school tenure, but the worst was the night that I nodded off at the wheel and found a mailbox. The mailbox was on a concrete-filled post, obviously the victim of many a baseball bat attack. The windshield of the car was no match, having a nice gaping hole where the post entered the car. The next morning I assessed the damages and found that I also received a dent. I was truly lucky nothing else happened that evening, and the car just kept right on going. The only other accident I had in it was not my fault. I was driving it home from work one night, and while stopped in traffic, I got rear-ended. I pull off to the side and get out, checking on the others involved. A truck had hit a car, which had then hit me. I looked at my car, fearing the worst, but I again found no damage. The car that hit me, a 1994 Ford Taurus, I believe, had some bodywork to be done on the front end. Thankfully, everyone was ok, and I was on my way again.

The end of line for this car came when it was closing in on time for inspection. Unfortunately, time had taken its toll, and the rust was rampant throughout the body. Without a lot of time and money, there was no way I'd be able to keep driving it. In the previous years, I had tried to stop the rust with some pop rivets and aluminum, thanks to the help of a friend. That temporary fix did work for a while, but at this point, there was not much else to do. Rather than sink a ton of money into it, I opted to get something else and move on. To this day, though, I wish I had that car. It was a solid piece of machinery, and they definitely don't build cars like they used to.

Notes from the Surf

http://neravt.com/left/newslinks.html finally got an update. Strange news in Colombia: their conservative president seems to be developing closer ties to Hugo Chavez (http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN18207417).

It seems you can get a court order to prevent a union organizer from speaking with strikers (http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20071023043132180). Maybe I just don't know all the details, but I didn't think that you could do that.

Is microcredit the best tool to fight poverty (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/23/4750/)? If you can't change capitalism, maybe. Granted it can probably do a better job than the neoliberal idealogues at the World Bank, but it still assumes you have to work within the system.

If you're looking for a potential mate, research indicates you should be going to Miami and San Diego instead of Philadelphia (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071022/od_nm/philadelphia_unattractive1_dc). Poor Philadelphians...

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