Category Archives: Stories

For Love of Moxie

See if you can figure out the writing assignment that made me produce this ridiculous piece.

Moxie: her country side

Acceleration is not Moxie’s strong suit. Bodaciously blue, she is a baby butch. Ceding genuine butch to my friend Ruth’s larger Subaru Crosstrek, I steadfastly maintain that my Impreza Sport, tricked out with extra trim and interior delights, is cuter. Dykiness aside, Moxie’s driver’s seat fits me, which is important given my height impediment. Ergonomically, she hugs me tight, and her seat warmer soothes my muscles after I play soccer.

Furtively, I admit that she doesn’t have enough space in the back to accommodate coaching. Groceries are squeezed out by soccer balls, cones, spare uniforms, and other gear. Having the back neat and tidy is important me, but just not possible. Ice packs run loose, stuffed into tiny voids. Jumper cables worm around the spare tire that hides under the cargo area.

Kayaks, however, they could go onto the roof–I added racks to make her look like a junior version of the  jumbo-sized Outback Subaru now makes. Light sparkles off the metallic paint, adding to the contrast created by those racks, the dark rain cloaks over the windows, and a rim that protects the tip of the hood from being chipped by the gravel that flies when you storm down a country road. Moxie is what I built her to display: “courage, force of character; ingenuity, wit.” Never would I have thought I’d love a car so much. Overhead she has a moon roof. Power ports in various places mean I can charge my laptop in a standard electrical outlet, my iPad through its lightening cable, and the GPS in the cigarette lighter, all while playing music from my phone over Bluetooth.

Moxie: her city side

Quandaries remain. Reverie aside, dare I ask how long Moxie will have my heart? Standard shifting is what I prefer, but I bought an automatic to make it easier for my son to learn to drive, something he still hasn’t done. There will come a time when I’ll need another Lesbaru. Unfortunately, I won’t have the luxury of trading in two cars as I did to buy Moxie. von Salis’s death: it was trading in her car that enabled me to justify that extra trim, spoiler, roof racks, window cloaks, and electrical outlet. Without Susan, bereft of my partner of almost 24 years, my consolation prize was Moxie. Xena-like, I sit in my car, without my Gabrielle. Yes, it can be melancholy, particularly if I think of Moxie’s mortality: that I will someday lose the car I created by melding our old station wagon and Susan’s no-frills Yaris.

Zephyr-Moxie: don’t worry about what is to come; let’s enjoy our time together, car and driver, gadgets too, courageously facing the hills before us, and looking good.

Moxie’s Progenitors
Our old Outback: a perfect size.
Susan’s Yaris: suitable for one

Grinding Down Memory Lane

It was best to get a running start. Push the yellow faux-motorcycle handles until the fixed blue pedals on the big front wheel were moving just quickly enough that you could jump on, get your feet on them, push your butt against the yellow seat back, and crank even faster. Then, careen at full speed down the driveway. Half way down, force your feet against the turning pedals and pull the brake handle against the right back wheel so that you skid hard left and come to a rest in the two feet of cement before the asphalt of the street, ending up parallel to the road, or even with your back facing it, having made a 180. Though it was really just a molded plastic, low-riding tricycle, our Big Wheels felt like a machine built for speed, even on the flats. Continue reading Grinding Down Memory Lane

Mental Instability: on the T

Here is an attempt at writing something short on my blog, in one sitting, and posting it immediately.

The seriously mentally ill are all around us, more so since states closed their mental institutions. My encounters with crazy people have almost all been on the Boston area’s transportation system: the T.

Let’s get two things out of the way. First, I know that “crazy,” “lunatic,” and even “mad,” are seen by some as pejorative. I appreciate knowing that. To me they’re descriptive. Second, read Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, by Peter Earley. What a sobering book.  It’s a biographical account of Reporter Earley’s son’s mental illness. Simultaneously, it’s an overview, with vivid examples, of how America’s institutions are unprepared for, and overwhelmed by, the needs of people with mental illnesses.

I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to say that cell phones were the best invention ever made for crazy people. For years, it was easy to identify who was “talking to himself,” on the T or the street. Now, I assume it’s someone have a telephone conversation, until Continue reading Mental Instability: on the T