Opals, Tsunamis, Floods and Earthquakes.

Published November 14, 2011 by rlmcdermott

I had a yellow Opal when I was young.  It was my first car (at least the first car that I brought with my own money).  Needless to say; it was a terrible car!  It cost me more money in repairs than anything I’ve ever owned!  It would die in the driveway of my house, on the road to the store, in the parking lot at work, and in the parking lots of every  bar and disco in Manhattan and Long Island.  Indeed, it surely had been pushed, towed, kicked,  and cursed more than any car ever made or driven.  Still, I loved it!  To me nothing was cooler than pulling into Uncle Sam’s or Copperfield’s in that yellow abomination.  Oh, yes, and the late night excursions into Manhattan, me in the driver’s seat, my Big-Haired Buddies packed into the passenger seats,  disco pounding out of the car’s radio, the Opal’s engine throbbing in response to the heavy disco beat!  We danced more in that car than we ever danced at those over-priced Manhattan discos.  I knew then that it wasn’t normal for a car’s engine to  shimmy like that but I would bump and grind that little yellow car over the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge irregardless!  What gold-chained,  slick-haired, dressed-to-the-teeth bad boy could steal me away from my Yellow Opal?   No one compared to my cars.  I’d sit in those bars/clubs watching my friends dance until their  lofty hair-do’s were as flat as the beer  I was sipping.   Clutching the car keys in my sweaty hand, I’d spend the entire night wondering if the Opal would start, and if it started, would it drive, and if it drove, would it go the distance?   The Opal like a cat had nine lives but my wallet had only one or two and, and, sad to say, I just got tired of repairing the darn thing.    It  died for the final time in my  driveway and my mother, my sister and I pushed it to the gas station across the street.  It didn’t take long for the final diagnosis to be given–the Opal was a lemon!   My God!, I’d owned a lemon– like I didn’t know that from the first week of proud  Opal ownership!  You didn’t have to tell me that the car was bad; I had the invoices from every gas station in New York to prove it!  What I learned, however, from  that final consultation was why it was bad!  The darn thing had the wrong- sized engine!  Yes, the engine didn’t fit the car–it wasn’t an Opal engine.  Unfortunately I never found out whose engine it was, perhaps, it belonged to Ford (Found On The Road Dead) or Fiat (Fix It Again Tony)–we weren’t politically correct in the 80’s.   So I gave the ghost up that day, when I realized I’d been taken by Opal and by every mechanic that had ever fixed the darn car.  Now you may ask yourself what the Opal has to do with the picture embedded in this post?  Well, everything and, perhaps, nothing.  I’ve been off kilter myself  lately and I know it has something to do with my engine.  I’ve got a bad engine too!   I don’t know whether my body’s too big and my heart is too small, or my heart is too big and my body’s too small.  You tell me because you probably have the same problem.  All around us people are suffering–tsunami’s, earthquakes, floods!  Something’s not right with the earth and we’re not doing anything about it!  Sure we recycle our cans, we have those strange lightbulbs in our kitchen and bathroom, we turn off the computer when we’re not using it but is that enough?  I know I’m not doing enough.  I still love bad cars and I cheat on my recycling!   Oh, yes, and then there’s the paper thing!  My carbon footprint is enormous like my ass (I didn’t say that)!   The picture is the beginning of a series–sure I’m going to use paper–a series about the 2011 Tsunami in Japan.   I don’t know why but I feel drawn to the event and I want to do something besides giving money.  Maybe  I was wrong not to fix the Opal’s engine?  Maybe I should have made an effort to right-size that beloved yellow beast?  Maybe I need to get out of my head and try to fix the earth, the world, and, perhaps, in the effort learn how to fix myself!

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