I'd Rather Cry in a JaguarMonday, November 20, 2017
“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.”
According to the date inside the book that has one of my favourite jacket covers ever I purchased it in 1989. I particularly liked the essay called Speed in which Sagan writes of the pleasures of driving fast. But it was not only until today that I understood the significance of the cover which was photographed by Thomas McAvoy for Life in 1955. The photograph was tinted by John Cruz.
From the story there is this:
Contrary to what one might think, the tempos of speed are not those of music. It is not the allegro, vivace or furioso in a symphony which corresponds to 120 miles an hour, but the andante, the slow, majestic movement, a sort of plateau that you reach above a certain speed, when the car no longer protests, when there is no acceleration, just the opposite, in fact; the car and your body drift into harmony into a sort of alert and attentive state of giddiness, normally described as intoxicating.
I have always enjoyed driving. In fact I would like to use Sagan’s word, I am intoxicated.
There are certain types of music that I like to listen to (not a 120 miles an hour) but at posted speeds! I have one category that I invented by chance. It came to me coming back from Vancouver, Washington with Les Wiseman in my yellow Fiat X-19 (a mid engined sports car that was most unreliable). We were driving through Seattle in the covered fast lane. On the tape deck we had London Calling by the clash. The lamps of the freeway were passing by in a mesmerizing blurr. It was then that I labeled London Calling, “bridge crossing music.” The music has to be fast and furious to compensate for the fact that I am not driving at Sagan’s chosen speed!
The best driving car I ever owned (more unreliable than the Fiat) was a Maserati Biturbo. When it was running it ran like hell. It looked like an Italian version of a Toyota. In its maroon colour other drivers were fooled. In those macho years of my life I would gun the Maser at a light and leave supposedly fast cars in the dust.
My car machismo is long gone and I now drive like the grandfather that I am. But I have to admit that some four years ago when Rosemary and our two granddaughters drove to Texas in our 2007 Malibu, I was doing 5mph over the speed limit of 80 in Utah. The car was a breeze. Because we were driving through a desert my choice of music was Eric Satie’s Gymnopedies. It seemed appropriate as was country music when we were driving into Texas.
The Black Celica
The Black Celica