All this talk of building cars and vans got me thinking back to the old neighbourhood when I was a kid. For the record, I can’t even change a fucking light bulb I’m so inept with the tools. It’s a bit embarrassing, as my father-in-law is a master carpenter and master electrician, and really gives me the stink-eye when it’s obvious I’m an idiot with the toolbox. He continues to buy his daughter, my wife, tools as gifts. Something will break in our house, and I think we need to call a repairman or at least head to the hardware store to get a tool of some sort, but nope; she’s got every fucking tool we would ever need. I just didn’t have the dad who taught me to fix anything. The closest thing I got to learning how to fix stuff was watching the “Gary’s” and “Randy’s” in my neighbourhood try to put cars together.
At any given point of the year, there would be at least one car up on blocks in the parking lot of our housing project. This usually occurred when the weather was nicer, but it did happen in the winter on occasion. Old shitty cars up on blocks with a few dudes either hovering over it or lurking underneath it. I don’t know if it was project code or anything, but there seemed to be a theme song for fixing your car back then. It was usually on a shitty ghetto blaster, but on occasion these guys would run extra long speaker wire and have their home speakers right out on the asphalt, but there was only one anthem for fixing your car; Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas. Those greasy mustache monkeys would blast that fucking song on repeat all day long; ALL DAY LONG.
I’d get up on Saturday mornings at 7AM to head out for football, and not long after the first rendition of the rifftastic Kansas anthem would ring through the neighbourhood. What came next was what sent most of us over the edge.
Because the men were all out in the parking lot either helping or hanging out, usually drinking beer, the woman would get together and smoke and talk shit about their men. Where as Kansas was an anthem for fixing beat up old cars, Cher was blasted by the ladies to keep some sort of rotten balance to whole mess. So, now you have Kansas competing with Cher for project noise supremacy. There were a few times when my father would lose his mind, put his very loud speakers into our windows facing outside, and blast Mozart back at them. No one was happy. After awhile, not unlike living near a train yard, the noise just seemed to melt into the background. To this day though, when I see a car up on blocks being fixed by some long-hair mustache king, I hear the buttery riffs of Kansas with all their bouncy fuzznastics and operatic faa-laa-laa’s. It still makes me cringe.