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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

Everything came to a head as I was looking through the Monday morning Craigslist ads.  Browsing for old cars around $1,500: a downsize, a vessel, a hood I could raise and never be reminded of the computer in my cubicle, or my six year old Corolla.

There was a 1976 Datsun 610 station wagon, Tennessee Volunteer orange.  Pure metal on the outside, hot cracked vinyl on the in.  4 speed with a new clutch.  A dashboard of dusty electrical tape.  I called.  It was a man I could trust, a man I wanted to meet.

from the actual craigslist ad

I biked from my office at the University of Tennessee to the library, where Ashley would be between her classes.  Many a sales pitch have I prepared in a similar stance of passion: pedaling furiously and piecing my route.  She would be excited and our lives forever changed.  I wanted grease on my hands.  We would make new fleeting memories, endured by great cost:  of a 1976 Datsun station wagon.  An orange so fluorescent.  Panache of the days unseen since my father was a younger man than I.

Ashley was midway through a masters program in Education.  Her unconventional idealism soared and stunk.  A polarizing pupil, the academics of the university loved her zeal; the public school needed her to manage the classroom.  With her physical stature like an eighth grader, it was difficult.  She was a flower of naivete being ground in the bureaucratic system.  I was waiting and hoping for a compromise that might work for her.  I rested gently, having long ago made mine.

And so we had lived these last three years.  Once before, we had been risky and a little premature.  And still before that, five years before now, young newlyweds drowning in archetypes more similar to the present, although located somewhere in Western Kentucky.

With a new number in my phone and an address in Maryville, I made haste.  Ashley wouldn’t understand what anything had to do with an old Datsun.  I’ll explain it to you like I had to for her.

summer 2008, my 1976 610 Datsun station wagon

 to be continued…

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