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Ode to Midge

November 22, 2010


Pictured above: My little sister, Ashley, sitting in Midge’s front seat.

O, Midge. You get me where I need to go.

Slowly.

That’s okay. Fear not. When we pull up to a stop sign, remember:

Floridians cannot see you. They are anxiously piloting to the country club,
and they do not have time for four-way intersections.

Road laws? Pish! A Floridian makes up her own road laws
with fly-by-night speeding and random lane changes—
does she remember where she is going? Probably not.
Most Floridians are old and cannot remember
what they ate for dinner last night—
let alone where they are going.
That’s what my dad says. He calls them “q-tips.”

O, Midge. You’re a Pennsylvania Hyundai,
not fit for this six-lane traffic and certainly not fit to reside
in North Palm Beach. Your neighbors have convertibles
they drive Lexus and Mercedes. They shun bumper stickers
because it ruins the paint job, and they gasp at small dents.
They pay hundreds of dollars to have their bumpers replaced
because of a scratch.

When we need to take to the highway, please remember:

Even the right lane is the fast lane.

On I-95, you putter along. But sticking to the side
is not enough for our Floridian neighbors,
who want to speed in all the lanes.

I wish I could tell them that your steering wheel
begins to shake at fifty, and that your engine tries so hard
to breach sixty-five, but alas—

Semis barrel past us at high speeds, and 6-cylinder cars
with Palm Beacher plates threaten to run us off the road.

O, Midge. You look as if you should be parked in Riviera.
I bet everyone expects us to get off at 45th Street.
When they drive past, they assume they will see a little black girl
in the driver’s seat. This teeming metropolis is so segregated
that the local Wal-Mart is known as the place where
“all the black people go.” O, Midge, what have we driven into?

Everyone in South Florida seems to want money and plastic surgery
and cars that go VROOM instead of PUTT-PUTT.

I have noticed that people tend to look like their cars,
and their cars look like them. A floozy blond with fake tits
drives a white Mustang, and lives in Juno.
A fat plumber from Lake Park pilots an old Chevy.
Because there are no inspections here, he gets away with
rust holes, no exhaust, and broken windows.
You can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive.
You can tell when they are rich, or just pretending to be.
You can tell when they are poor, or when they just don’t care.

O, Midge. You and I fit together perfectly.

You get me where I need to go, slowly.

A person could tell a lot about me by looking at you,
if they thought about it.

You’re a Pennsylvania Hyundai in a strange place,
and I’m a strange girl in a rich place.

You PUTT-PUTT and RATTLE and POP sometimes,
but that’s okay. You get me where I need to go.

O, Midge. You may be rusty, but I fix you up,
and all your parts are running smoothly,
and you’re old but that’s okay. We make it work.

You get me where I need to go. . .

At just the perfect speed.


Pictured above: Alyssa and Ashley, car angels!

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