There is a certain pleasure that comes from living a predictable life - to know your slippers will always be near the bed or the morning paper will arrive at just the right time. This contentment of continuity is a buffer from other less predictable events we have little control over. I’ve often noticed this quality in older people, which may come from a lifetime of simply staying the course.
A simple pleasure for me is the knowledge that every morning I can get in my car and it will start. I then proceed to the next part of the day and after that I get in the car and it starts again, and every time thereafter.
One such car was a 1979 Dodge Aspen, hands down the best car I ever owned. Not top of the line or new, the utilitarian Dodge served me well for a dozen years before seizing up. Its knack for going and going for well over 200,000 miles earned it the name Energizer Aspen.
The answer, according to auto mechanics, lay under the hood- a slant-6 cylinder engine, stout and enduring enough to become one of the best out of Detroit. In an industry known for planned obsolescence, the slant-6 was so successful it eventually had to be terminated.
My rusty beast earned its reputation hauling art work and the removable back seat gave more room for oversize pieces. For years, the largest size art I could do measured 36” by 60”, just the right size to slide in the back.
Toward the end, the transmission started making strange sounds and age related problems finally rendered the Dodge undrivable. By then, my large paintings would only fit in a cargo van. The time had come for the Aspen to go on over.
My present car, a Ford van, gets the job done and carries much more, but does not bring a smile when I crank it up.