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March 31, 2009

The Cortina Principle, revisited

Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:51 am

You know, it’s interesting how the contexts of our relationships are intimately interconnected with the relationships themselves. At the start of a relationship, objects take on talismanic powers — “She wrote me a note! On this crumpled Stickie!” —  and during a relationship they become, in many ways, the terrain of those intertwined lives (that apartment with the crazy radiator; the key on a long string; the first whatever-it-was you bought together).

Then, of course, in the end, objects become painful reminders; simple things take on whole complicated psychic dimensions — a picture frame never  filled, a gift never bestowed. In this way, the power of connection  is the central defining dimension of our lives: it writes our histories on the world around us. An old watch, an unmailed envelope, a Ford Cortina — on their own, they’re simply things. But through the lens of human love they become magical artifacts — not always good magic, but still — and as we move through life they become a jumbled, flea-markety record of who we were in those passed moments.

It’s no wonder they hold such power, that some of us accumulate them compulsively and others of us walk away. Sometimes they even take over the story — as in the one we offer you after the jump — which we recently received in response to Evany Thomas‘s classic Big To Do column on “The Cortina Principle.”  Which is to say: We’re still wondering if Fairly Honest Bill ever got married! Stay tuned. — Team BG

I couldn’t figure a way to get this off point story about Ford Cortinas.

In 1981 I met & fell in love with this Lawyer having dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Vancouver BC , Ms Suzanne [REDACTED] & her friend Laura . I was very drunk but some how got her phone number. I was the food service Manager at the Vancouver Youth Hostel . We dated & lived together for a couple of years but I was illegally living & working in Canada . Any way she had a 4 door Red Ford Cortina that I thought was a 1974 but I guess it could have been a 1970 . Now I can barely change a air filter by myself but on a trip to Victoria to visit her Mother & Father , the master cylinder gave out . A trip to the auto parts store , a book & a cheap tool kit & 8 hours later it was fixed .When it came time for BC safety check It failed every where . As I had to return to the States for us to be legally married & me to live in Canada . She gave the car to me.

I then proceeded to destroy the Cortina  . I took out the back seat & the passenger seat , remounted the passenger seat behind the driver seat & bench of the back seat I mounted to the passenger front & back seat for a bed to sleep on .I took the Spare tire out of the trunk & mounted it to the  trunk lid . But I didn’t mount it centered so it looked like I had just changed my tire & forgot to put it back in the trunk .I must have gotten pulled over a dozen time for it but never a ticket.My bed allowed my 6 ft frame to extend into the trunk. I sewed curtains , white on one side for summer & black on the other side for winter with little magnets  sewed into the edge  so it was like painting all the windows to keep the lite out & for privacy . I most likely put 20,000 miles on it in 6 months .

Now this all leads up to the real story I have to tell.

Now it was very hard to get simple tune up parts for me & to find someone to even work on her. So East of San Diego is the desert . I mean hot & dry . I was driving around it & my Radiator started leaking . The had barrels of water every 1/2 mile or so  on the hi way for folks like me , 100 foot high sand dunes all around. I limped into a super small town called Glamis. It had a bar that opened after dark , a gas station & garage , a 7/11 type store & 4 trailers for the people who lived there. Now I have been using stop leak , pepper & raw eggs to stop the leak to no avail . I was trying to figure out how I could afford to tow it to San Diego when the old man said there was a dead one of these around the back . As we walked to the back I figured he a had a dotsun & maybe I could make it work . I looked up & there was this Ford Cortina on blocks. The old man said his son put a ton of money into it , over sized Brakes, Carb, suspension & more. At his very first race a fuel line gave way & burnt the car to the ground , interior  , rubber & paint . He told me I could take as much as I wanted parts wise for $10.00.He helped me swap out Radiators for free. For $25.00 I could have it all . My father said noway I could store it as it was too ugly for his yard. So I never bought it. Someone stole mine in Portland Or & I never saw it again .

Well thats my story & I don’t even know why I ‘m sending to you But I just felt like sharing.

Fairly Honest Bill

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