Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life with the Trans Am

With the Daytona in the shop (again) I took the '86 Trans Am to work today, tops off, windows down, it was a good drive.  If you've never driven in an American V8 powered GT class sports car with T-tops, you need to add that to your bucket list.

I went to Krystals for lunch and ran into two Harley riders and their girlfriend.  The parking lot striping has long since faded so I tried to line up my TA as best as I could then got out and walked in.  As soon as I walked in the Harley girl turned around in her chair, looked at me and loudly said ...

"Hey!  I really like your Camaro!"

It took every bit of my poker face not to cringe or wince when she said that.  Camaros are for plebes and trailer park trash.  The Firebird was always the higher end choice of the F-body crowd, not the gold chain wearing IROC-Z driving yokels, but the young, the restless and the guys who both graduated high school and went on to college.



I've long since given up on trying to correct (or educate) people so I just thanked her and walked on up to the counter, taking her enthusiastic outburst for what it was ... she liked my car and that's one of the reasons why I drive it; it turns heads and invites comments.  

I was placing my order when I again heard her shout out at me "Firebird!  It's a Firebird!  I'm sorry!"

I smiled, laughed a little and shook my head.  I had no more poker face for that one.

"Well, I didn't know!  I thought it was a Camaro.  Either way, it's fine as hell so kiss my ass." I heard her say in a barely hushed whisper to one of her two male companions.

I sat near the Harley riders and we talked about the TA for a little while.  When they left they all three walked around the TA, gestured and took a good look at the TA before leaving.  

While I was eating, I had to contend with two white guys sitting about two tables from me and every other word out of one of their mouths was some four letter word or other bit of profanity.  Now, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a master of profanity, I like to be creative with it but I try not to use it in public unless I'm with people I know and then never loud enough that someone else might hear it and get offended.  Not so with this guy.  His vocabulary clearly indicated that he was the posterboy for having a GED or some trade school certificate.

I like profanity, it has its use, but using it as a replacement for common adjectives, especially when your voice carries clear across the restaurant, just really both disappoints me and lowers my opinion of you.  This guy was trash and it took a lot to ignore him because I don't think he was trying to get ignored.

Eventually he and his friend left, went outside and walked around my parked TA.  I watched them from my table as he gestured and pointed out features of my TA.  If he knew as much about Trans Ams as he knew about all the things he had been talking about then my guess was half of what he was telling his friend about my TA was being made up on the spot.  Probably something like ... "Yeah, but the 350 with the carburetor on top was faster than that tuned port injection shit that they put on some of them damn motors ..."

Like I said, the guy was a job, pure and simple.

While I was eating lunch, three other people, two older men and an older woman, all walked around the TA, talking, pointing and gesturing.  One of the older guys placed his order and while he was waiting on it he walked outside and strolled around the TA, looking in and all around it.

It's nice to own and drive something that no one else has and something that you hardly ever see again.  It's also nice to keep it factory stock so that everyone can see just what it looked like when it rolled off the assembly line way back in 1986.

Later that night I stopped by Hardee's to get dinner.  The girl at the drive-thru handed me my drink, did a double take, looked my TA slowly over from one end to the other and said ...

"I really like your car!"

I thanked her and took my drink from her.

"Is that a "Smokey and the Bandit" edition?" she asked.

Like I said, I long ago quit trying to correct or educate people about my car (I figured that was kind of an asshole thing to do all the time) so I just nodded to her and told her it was.  It wasn't worth arguing the point for something that really didn't matter to anyone but me and a few other elitist purists.

"I knew it!" she said excitedly and ducked back into the restaurant's drive-thru window.

She was young.  

She had to be all of 18 years old which meant that my TA was already ten years old when she was born and that "Smokey and the Bandit" was in theaters a good 19 years before she was even an itch in her daddy's pants.  Still ... the fact that someone as young as her recognizes both the iconic black and gold color scheme of a Trans Am and (wrongly) puts my model year with the 1977 movie amazes me.  I mean, every now and then you realize just how big of a pop culture phenomenon that "Smokey and the Bandit" really was ... and what long lasting memories it created in patchwork quilt that is both Americana and the American psyche.

Yeah, I'd say it was a pretty good day, all in all.