Car talk

There is no better place to hear involved discussions about America’s dominant mode of transportation (other than a NASCAR race or a singles’ bar, that is) than the bus. Bus riders love to talk cars. They talk about car problems: squeaky breaks and worn-out clutches and dragging mufflers; cars previously owned and then lost or sold; cars that will be purchased when there’s enough money; cars that idle next to the bus at lights–especially those that aren’t being properly driven or maintained.

Mostly, though, they talk about cars that are waiting–in parking lots and parents’ garages and mechanics’ shops and impound lots, just until the end of the week, or month, or year–to be driven again. (They would be driven now, except that the paycheck doesn’t come until Friday, or the ex-wife needs it until she starts her vacation, or the license is suspended until January.) These cars have butter seats and whitewall tires, V8 engines and big wheels. They are mint-condition, powder-blue 60-something Impalas (which, by the way, can turn the head of even the most committed bus chick–or at least, this committed bus chick) and black-on-black 500 Benzes. They are Corvettes and Caddies and Beamers and Lincolns.

They are never, ever Toyota Solaras.

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