For the last few days our righteous de-rusting mission has been on hold, as Tara and I spent the weekend (and a couple of days before the weekend) up at this car meet thing in New York. And no, we didn't go to sell anything; this was just for fun. Now, I will admit that I'm not generally all that keen on cars myself. Oh, they're good for getting around town in, or for hauling stuff or groceries or what-have-you, but I'm not particularly interested in them as objects on their own, especially if the damned things are of a 'vintage' type. I just have too many nasty memories of those old air-cooled Volkswagens, which besides never having any heat in them, or often, precious little floor in the back (I can recall watching the road go by through the holes) were perpetually unreliable.
Though, come to think of it, when I have talked to other people about old VWs, they almost always say something about how they just don't stop running; the engines are supposedly very good (if simple), and not actually prone to break down. And yet funny enough my father's cars, the cars of my father the professional Volkswagen mechanic, were always held to be very unreliable—we, well, my mother, really, weren't supposed to go too far in them because they might break down. Which makes me wonder what exactly was going on, you know? I can think of a few possibilities, from innocent to not-so. Was it that my father always had the cars that were truly on their last legs (wheels, I guess), since he was a mechanic and could coax the things along? Was it simply a case of the shoemaker's children going barefoot? Was it just more of my father's relentlessly negative thinking, that the worst possibility must always come true, so oh my God never, ever, risk anything? Or was having (or pretending to have) a perpetually unreliable series of cars just one more way of having control over the rest of us? I have always assumed old VWs were just piece-of-shit undependable cars, but if it comes down to the rest of the world's opinion vs. my father's, well, I know whose I'd consider reliable.
But despite all that I do find the kind of cars at this meet actually amusing, perhaps because they were not a part of my childhood. Or because they are French. That's right, we went to a Citroën car meet.
Tara has a 2CV. That's French for Deux Chevaux ('two horses,' yes, two horsepower, though supposedly that's some kind of tax designation and not actually indicative of their power. Sure sure), and the first time I saw one (on a visit to England, actually), I thought it was a VW bug that got squashed between two snowplows.
Here's a picture of one I found on the internet (Wikipedia, I believe):
It looks like something some French guy suffering from an excess of patriotism and a shortage of sleep Frankensteined together during the hard times of World War Two; he wasn't going to let minor things like, oh, a scarcity of metal stop him from telling Hitler casse-toi! you know? Mais bien sûr! the chicken coop does not really need a roof, non? For a hood it would be excellent! Eh bien, look at this box of buttons and switches! They do not all need to match! Voilà, these lawn chairs would make fine seats!
Seriously, every time I get in it I am amazed that as passenger it is not actually my job to turn the windshield wiper knob by hand. They are beyond basic, they are beyond ridiculous, they are beyond anything any reasonable or sane culture would come up with.
I did say they were French.
So, in this case I will—begrudgingly, mind you—admit to a bit of fondness for the things. They're just so damned weird.
So at any rate we went up and had some fun, among all the other Citroën-loving weirdos, though it must be admitted I followed Tara all the way there (and back) in her new Beetle, as the 2CV was being a little testy shall we say (as usual), though it did make it. So though I missed the fun of riding in the thing I did get to actually listen to music, which is a lost cause in a 2CV as you'll never hear it over the engine. Ha! Like they have radios.
So after a day of recovery back it was to the old day in day out; and there Tara was today with the Bus, which she had handily filled with (yet) another load of scrap, mostly some more car doors and this old lawnmower, with some aluminum thrown in. Ah, old lawnmowers. I don't myself recall how many we used to have, but Tara would probably know. I do know they were one of my father's very favorite things to hoard. I mean, as if my father was capable of picking a favorite. That was the problem, now wasn't it.
Alors, the pictures. First, the side view:
And from the back (pictures by Tara):
Surprisingly enough this load came to more than we would have thought: 1260 pounds of iron, plus another seventy-one pounds of combined aluminum and stainless steel. Which brings our total of iron removed from the property since we've been keeping track to 29,820 pounds, or 14.91 tons, and marks our thirty-fourth trip to the scrapyard.
Et oui, il y a toujours plus.
And yes! The translation for 'junkyard' (well, at least according to the usual online translation places) means cemetery of cars. Now that's a satisfying phrase!