Rosemary has been going through the boxes of documents of past years. She has kept, until now, just about everything. As an example she told me how much my equipment was insured for sometime in the mid 90s, it was for $28,000. But there was one piece of information that shocked me; she told me that I had stopped driving my Maserati Biturbo 19 years ago. Until today, Sunday I thought I had parked the car nine years ago and then did my best to forget the folly this car was to my life and finances. In my life with cars I have owned three VW Beetles, two Fiat X-19s and the Maserati. My Rosemary has owned a VW Rabbit (a most terrible car), a four-door Honda Civic (a terrific car that my eldest daughter helped to destruction by not understanding that the water she was putting into the windshield washer receptacle was not going to the radiator. The engine seized up.) After the Honda, Rosemary purchased a big Audi (five cylinder engine) which was such a good car that after that we leased three more Audi A-4s until our finances necessitated we give up the lease when it was up and we bought our present 2007 Malibu which is perhaps the best car we have ever had. Between that VW and our present Malibu I went through all the motions that men have in their relationship with cars. When driving the Maserati, which looked like a Toyota I liked to wait for those idiots with souped up Hondas to pass on the right lane at a light as it turned green. It was fun to see their faces when I gunned the Maser past them. But I soon grew weary of this macho attitude towards cars. I now love the dependability of the Malibu and that the windows go up and down and that the car starts and stops unlike the three Italian cars of my past life. I drive like the grandfather that I am but more likely, still, to be a right around the speed limit. Today the Maser is gone. It was purchased by a “crazy” Spaniard called Siegfried and his son. I did everything to dissuade them but in the end Siegfried, a younger man is still in that stage (or his son surely is) where a car is more than just utility. We all live and learn. He will learn. I am unable to figure out if I should feel sad (there is still some of that male attraction to car left in me, perhaps) or happy that my garage is now empty and my friend the architect Alan James will no longer be able to ride my patience by asking me, “Do you still have that Maser?” Whichever feeling I am supposed to have there is one of relief and a weight being taken off. For 19 years the car occupied a dark garage, like an overdue library book. As long as I did not think about the problem (the car or the overdue book) it did not exist. But the car did offer some comfort to what may have been several generations of mice. They made a nest over the beautiful cast aluminum Weber carburetor cover with the Maserati trident on it. We found it today. It was made of feathers, corn cobs and other stuff from my garden. The mice and this 70 year old man whose Malibu takes him from A to B and back with efficiency, will miss him, her? I can remember the wonderful full throated roar of the exhaust when I would turn left onto Oak from 6th Avenue on Fairview Slopes and then gun the car up the hill. I now get the same thrill starting my Malibu in the winter from my kitchen or as I did two years ago, cruise safely at 85 miles an hour in Utah. Sigfried told me something which I could not deny. “You are an Argentine, you know who Juan Manuel Fangio was and how he drove a Maserati. It’s that simple.” Sigfried is right. Technical Info: The image is a scanned Fujifilm Instant Black & White Film FP-3000B (3200 ISO) in which I scanned the peeled negative. I reversed the image to make it a positive. Normally a negative would still be reversed and Maserati would read backwards. I did not want to offend the memory of my last glimpse of her so I flopped the image so marque (as the English like to write) can be read.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.