Thursday, June 24, 2021

Vignettes Vol 4

 2001 Infiniti Q45:

It's 9:45 and yet another tow ordered through AAA is yanking the Q onto the flatbed in front of a Circle K somewhere in Huntersville. I'm late to work which doesn't really mean anything because I work at Classic Nissan of Statesville. The store was a desperate mark on my resume made up of a mix of necessity and the appearance of a certain position on my CV. I was following the path I had seen some of my young white counterparts fast track their way up the ladder. See, this isn't a play on privilege, at least not the way you'd assume. See, what the shiny young white guys figured out is having the audacity to apply for management at a low-tier store. That's the really where the difference in culture and effects of slavery and discrimination present themselves, because as a young black guy all I could see was every terrible thing that could happen just by me having the audacity to ask for a position. That level of conditioning is not bred from fear, but rather just purely existing in a society that doesn't want you there. But I didn't care, I knew I was more valuable than my counterparts and ended up with the same results they did. But that was very far in the back of my brain as the Ram 5500 with the long ass sedan on its frame pulled off of Garner Bagnal Blvd. I sat up in the passenger seat after 30 minutes of watching my Q45 bounce up and down in the rear view mirror and trying to sell the driver a new Altima. The morning meetings had passed by the time I waved off the tow truck and made my way to the sales tower. I straightened my collar and got right to work and quickly realised I didn't have to have the audacity to show up to work late in a tow truck. I made it to where I didn't have to answer to a soul about my actions. I had three cars, mostly broken, sitting on the back line and I didn't have to hear a word about it. I made it further up the layer cake, but my poor decision-making was still apparent. Plus, what the fuck was I driving home?

1997 Acura 2.2CL:

A week ago I got a ticket in this stupid thing. Just driving back to the dealership from KFC with lunch. There was no tag on the car but that didn’t really matter to me because I was driving a mile down the street. What I didn’t see was the state trooper hiding behind the railway bridge on my way back. Traffic stops always make me nervous as hell for reasons I don’t think I actually need to say. But, the most positive law enforcement interactions I’ve ever had involved the NCSHP, so I at least was able to wipe the terror from my face before I spoke to the trooper. He was in a good mood and told me he pulled me over for the seat belt, but inquired about the missing license plate. I pointed up the street to the dealership and told him I worked 500 ft away and had just bought the car from a coworker and was taking it for a quick test drive before I arranged to get it home. This was really 95% the truth minus the fact I bought the car 6 weeks ago and haven’t received the title from my coworker yet. But that was the least important thing at the time, me getting back to the dealership with lunch and no handcuffs or bullets being involved was the goal. I got my wish and I parked the ratchet Acura back behind the shop as soon as I pulled into the lot. In the weeks that followed I took a Honda Accord someone gave me in exchange for a debt owed and traded my friend Malcolm for the Q45. The Accord was his type of easy sale, and the Q45 was my type of destructive. It was truly meant to be until the Infiniti broke every time it moved. Now that the Q was sitting in the back of the dealership with coolant running out of its orifices, I’m here in the Acura. I jacked a 30 day plate off a car that got returned earlier that week, and took off towards Charlotte. It was dark, and in 5th gear with the cruise control engaged, the all-black Honda product blended into everything around it. Traffic was sparse heading south on I-77 this time of the night. The toll lanes were still 15 minutes away and I had to keep my head on a swivel viewing the random patches of grass along the median, where the Iredell County Sheriff’s Deputies would perch to collect money from the uninitiated. I wasn’t planning on the F22B1 generating high numbers on the speedometer. This was an Accord EX-L Coupe with a nicer looking interior, but it still felt different somehow. Even though the Acura wasn’t a powerful, silken companion made for endless cruising, it felt safe. I never felt like pieces were going to fall off as I drove or the cooling system would fail catastrophically. It was an extra layer of stability I didn’t know how bad I needed at the time. I made it to a place in life and now I needed life to lead me to a place I didn’t yet understand. She looked ratchet as hell but she was ready, that Acura was the best companion I could have on the journey.   

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