On one hand, I’d like it if B.C. and Alberta, like they used to, reported numbers over the weekend… it’d help keep things up to date… and I like accuracy. On the other hand, if one or both resorted to that, it’d imply things are getting out of hand enough that it’s important to do so… which means, for now, I guess we’re happy to have to wait for Monday. Even today’s U.S. numbers look suspicious (I’ll correct everything later, or tomorrow).
Even so, unraveling the weekend data into component bits isn’t always easy when, sometimes, single clumped numbers are reported on Mondays. “356 new cases and 5 deaths since Friday.” Great… Where? Who? When? This is like the mechanic saying, “Yeah, we fixed everything… that’ll be $4,500” and you asking “What and why!? What did you do? Where’s the breakdown of the parts and labour??” and they say, “Yeah… well, don’t worry about it… it’s kind of technical and very complicated.”
I do worry about it; even if I don’t understand what they’re talking about… even if it’s complete B.S…. “Yeah, see… the muffler bearing was rubbing up against the flywheel bracket… and your car… it’s a model without an exhaust impeller, so we had to machine not only the suspension elbow and rotary pistons, but also replace the fuel pump linkage.” I’d prefer that nonsense to just a single final obscure total.
Speaking of cars… here’s the story of my first car…
I bought it in 1986. I’d been saving up money over the years, and was actually still a couple of thousand short for what I wanted… when, that Summer — and all the racetrack people here will appreciate this – I hit the Sweep Six. This is the wager at the track where you try to pick the winning horse in six consecutive races. It’s obviously hard to do, and very lucrative when you manage it. The few thousand dollars I picked up for that put me over the top.
I paid cash, exactly $9,200 for that new red Ford Mustang LX, and over the next 12 years, put over 280,000km on it. I could write a book on all the memories that car provided me.
By 1998, it was time for a new car… and I’d been so happy with this one, the next one was also a Mustang… a blue 1998 GT.
The old one sat in my parents’ driveway for a while… my intention was to sell it privately, thinking I could get a lot more for it than the trade-in value that I’d been offered. It sat there for weeks… months… my parents over time wondering when I’d remove it, gently asking when I’d sell it, implying in stronger language that it’s time to get rid of it, and finally telling me to get it the hell out of there already.
One summer morning in 1998, I decided it was a good day to do this: I would drive up Kingsway, which is littered with used-car lots, and simply sell it to the first place that would offer me what I was after. I wanted $2,000 for it (yeah, I know, ha ha).
The first place offered me $500 cash. I was offended and laughed at that. The guy laughed back.
The next place didn’t want it. Nor did the place after that. And after that… place after place, not interested, or ridiculous low-ball offers like $100 or $200.
By then, I’d reached the intersection of Kingsway and Victoria. That’s the intersection where the McDonalds is, but kitty-corner to that, there used to be the best Indian food in town, a restaurant called Rubina Tandoori. I had a sudden idea… for sure I was going to spend a bunch of money there in the future; why not trade the car for some Rubina credit?
So I wandered in there and spoke to guy who greeted me, and explained my offer… $1,000 of Indian food credit for the car. He didn’t know what to think, but he went and got his father, the owner of the place.
Then the three of us went outside, where the two hummed and hawed and inspected the car… they popped the hood, literally kicked the tires, scratched their chins, hummed and hawed some more, but ultimately… decided they didn’t want it. I dropped my offer down to $500 worth of credit but they still didn’t want it. And that was that.
I did U-turn, went back to the first place, and told the guy I’d take $500. Nah, he said… I changed my mind. I don’t want it.
So back on the road I went, past Rubina, heading towards Burnaby and New West, and zero luck. I got all the way to the end, and to say I was upset about how this day had turned out… would be an understatement.
Give up or continue? It was now late afternoon… I decided to give it one more shot, and crossed the bridge into Surrey. I stopped at the first lot I found, and while waiting for someone to attend to me, an older lady who was there looking for a car approached me. She offered me $400 for the car. I’ll take it, I said.
“Well, I only have $200 cash with me, but I can give you some post-dated cheques.”
“Sure”, I said… “No problem.” Ha ha.
Conveniently, she had all the necessary papers to sign over the car… so we filled it all out, right there on the hood of the car, signed everything… and that was that. I sold my car for $200 in cash, $200 in cheques, and a ride to the SkyTrain.
But the story doesn’t quite end there.
First of all, the cheques all bounced, and I was unsuccessful in tracking her down… so I guess I actually sold the car for $200. But that’s not all.
About a year later, I got a frantic call from an insurance agent in Surrey. Apparently, this woman was trying to renew the insurance on the car… but couldn’t, because the car was still in my name. Whatever paperwork we’d done didn’t properly transfer the car to her, and she’d somehow been driving my car, with NO insurance, for a year. I hightailed it over there and signed what was needed.
Many great memories with that car… and I still have the license plates, hanging on the wall in my garage: SWEPT 6
Look, I managed to write a whole update without mentioning Trump… and barely mentioning the pandemic. Sometimes, it’s nice to set aside the present day and dig up some good old memories. There are plenty to choose from. And there are also plenty of new ones, waiting to be made.