She was Big Dog's old 1975 Volvo that he kept in the garage here in Arcata for the last 15 years. It was a bomb of a car, but ran well and when he had it in LA, was the perfect Urban Camouflage Vehicle. It was originally a maroon color, but I've only known it to be a tri-colored monstrosity, with exploded seats and an actual working eight track. Friends laughed at first. Then, when their nice Mercedes and Beemers kept getting stolen right from their driveways, they began to make offers on La Bamba.
When people panhandled Big Dog, he'd tell them, "Yeah, I've got a quarter. And it's going into a piggybank when I get home. See that car over there? When I've saved enough money, I'm going to get a paint job." Sometimes, the panhandlers would actually give him some change "for the cause." That's how crazy people are about their cars in LA!
We thought she'd eventually come to The Ranch. It would have been the perfect place for her to spend the twilight of her days. But this year, Big Dog finally got sick of her taking up so much space -- excruciatingly valuable space -- in the garage and even after he was able to start her up by dropping in a new battery, he put her up for adoption (i.e., he tried to give her away to a Charitable Cause.) After too many hours of negotiating with towing companies and red tape, he gave up and called a local tow operation.
A giant ramped truck arrived (their motto, "We don't want an arm and a leg; just your tows" painted on the cab in beautiful script) and in no time at all, La Bamba was pushed onto the truck. Big Dog only had the Volvo hood ornament and an old, sun-bleached Sensoji amulet that had been hanging inside. The amulet's already inside our Tacoma. Maybe I'll weld the Volvo ornament onto my bike.
People have relationships with their cars the way they don't with, say, their washing machine. I've never owned a car, so I can only imagine, but it was still sad to see her rolling away from us. Big Dog didn't appear to be too torn up about it, though. There is certainly something new and different in the air. Not only did BD off La Bamba, he's been in the process of trying to sell the first piece of property he bought, when he was still in university.
I might have written about it before, but Big Dog collects real estate the way others collect cars. He's not into real estate the way many people are -- he doesn't buy anything to "flip" and these are not really investments. It's like the guy who loves fine art and pays a bundle for a Picasso and justifies it by telling people about its investment value even though he has no intention of ever selling it. So this new move is a Big Deal. What is going on here?
"I'm finally moving on," he says, but he's usually way more tied to the past than I am. So why now?
When you start letting go, interesting things can happen. We might be coming upon some exciting times...