I am on the cusp of buying a car, because the old Element is looking at some repair work and new tires. The expenditure might prolong its utility, but it’s 14 years old and it’s not like it will evolve the ability to regenerate parts. Don’t really want the expense right now, what with college looming.

Went to the Ford dealership, because I saw a car the other day that made me stop and take note. This is rare. Most cars bore me. Same, same, same. I don’t know why this one did it, but I made a note: Ford Edge. I’d looked at the Ford Escape last year, but the ads and brochures made it rather clear it was for women - sorry, Ford, but that’s what you wanted, and mission accomplished. It also had a prominent CD player slot on the top of the dash, which is like finding a car that accepts Edison Cylinders, and the display screen was poorly integrated into the dash, sticking up like an iPad instead of flush-mounted. And the resolution was bad.

You may think: what an odd thing on which to base a major purchase. The screen resolution. But there’s no reason it shouldn’t be sharp; if it looks like a VGA monitor from 1996, what else sucks?

So I went to look at the Edge. The salesman was low-key. I suppose that’s the new model. But I mean, really low-key. Friendly enough, but lacking in go-getter enthusiasm. I drove the Edge, and it had nice pick-up and all, but two things bothered me:

No gear shift. It’s a knob. Rather cool, in a way, but I want a gear shift lever, even if it’s a vestigial nod to the days when I drove an automatic.

It had glossy plastic on the interior, which seemed a bit . . . TV Buck Rogers. And it’s going to show fingerprints. And I’ll scratch it.

There are so many small ineffable emotional reactions that go into this decision. It has to do with love. Your heart has to sing when you see the car driven down the ramp for your first drive. If not sing, at least stir - this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I mean, when I first saw the Element - possibly the ugliest car by normal standards - I was enraptured; it was BRIGHT GREEN. It was boxy, F-U boxy, and it had suicide doors. To this day I love that car. The very idea of selling it . . . even thinking about taking out the title before going to the dealership feels like a betrayal, like thinking “I’ll meet my new co-worker for a drink, it’s just a drink” but taking your wedding ring off before you enter the bar.

The main impression I got from the salesman was this: if I didn’t buy the car, that was fine with him. Up to you, dude.

I went to the Honda dealership, and got another young salesman. This was his first car-salesman job. He was knowledgeable and answered all my questions and could explain the trim packages and so on. But again: no passion.

At one point he asked if I wanted the used department to take a look at my car, and summoned a guy in the triage department. Now this guy had the knack. Big grin, strong handshake, a line of patter, and we instantly did that thing where you’re breaking balls because this is what men in the process of arranging an automobile transaction do.

I spilled some coffee on a road trip, don’t knock off a grand.

No problem, did you get more coffee?

Of course.
Gotta have the java for a road trip!

I considered the CR-V, but I don’t need that much car anymore. I’ve no small child to tote around in the back, no daughter-cohort to transport. Plus, the new CR-V has wood-grained trim and you can’t opt out. I hate wood-grained trim.

Then there was . . . that other car.

Tomorrow: the test drive.








Wikipedia says it has 5,000 souls. “Worland is a hub for business in the Big Horn Basin. The economy of Worland is supported by agriculture and oil/ gas drilling. Sugar beets are the top agricultural product of the area. Top employers in Worland include Admiral Beverage, Wyoming Sugar Company, Crown Cork & Seal, and MillerCoors.



The building on the left looks like the original facade has survived, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pressed metal. You can see the seam; it looks as if you could take a crowbar and pry off the entire front.


This is fascinating. Why?


Because it shows that the early “domestic” architectural vernacular of gas stations was so convincing that they actually looked like homes with just the addition of a lawn and a picket fence.


Usually I’d applaud the restoration, but the glue-dots suggest it was made over in an interesting style - modern, machine-age. Even though I took this a long time ago, let’s see if going back to run the google time machine turns up anything. I’ll bet it does.


D’oh, I could have just looked at the next picture.

Creamy beige metal. Linking two buildings. One store? Certainly one owner.

The traveling facade-salesman made a killing when he dropped into Worland with a gladstone full of samples:



Looks like that Photoshop effect where you select and option drag.

OUMB #2:


They either look like bunkers or machines for sacrificing humans. ENTER O CHOSEN TO GIVE YOUR BLOOD FOR THE GLORY OF MOLOCH


Nice clean cream brick. Does the tree really help? Does the tree do anything?


Looks like it was a big renovation project to link several structures. Probably paid off by now, which is a good thing, because it’s not overflowing with commerce at the moment.


This is all dull. Where's the interesting stuff? Why did I do this town?

Ah. You can’t tell me this isn’t what I know it was.



If you know what I mean.

And here’s your proof. Movie poster frame.


Okay, googling . . . Yes, of course. It was the Kerby.


Look at that fantastic space-age metal:



Whoa, what explains this sudden burst of space-age googie wonderfulness?



I wouldn’t say it’s aged well, or matches the rest of the building, or the town, but when it first went up - why, people must have been proud. And then they thought of Sputnik and got a little uneasy.



That'll do - see you tomorrow.





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