#64: The Car

September 24th, 2012

Some days, I trek to Englewood to see where serial killers worked.

Some days, I head south to meet a man who has been cutting hair for 68 years.

Some days, I track down Chicago’s last typewriter repairman.

And some days these 1,001 stories of the Windy Second City That Works don’t take me more than 10 feet from my front door, where I look at a car that confuses me mightily.

It was a simple cozy-cold Saturday, when my oldest friend and I gathered to drink beer.

I wish I could say we had a grander goal. But Nathan — or as I call him for short, Knathan — and I decided to go to my place, drink beer and… that’s it. There may also have been BLTs. And Olaf came by for a bit.

But then there was the car.

The car was parked outside my front door. It was a late ’80s model Volvo, which I could ID mostly because it had the owner’s manual for a late ’80s model Volvo on the dash.

We stepped outside for a moment — I forget why. Then we saw it. A late 1980s Volvo packed, just packed with the weirdest stuff imaginable. Clothes, yes. But also drums. Bongo drums. And weirder things yet.

Knathan and I stared at it for a second.

“That’s a lot of fishing poles,” he finally said.

I looked.

“That is a lot of fishing poles.”

We looked.

“Is that a beekeeping helmet?” he asked.

“I think that’s a beekeeping helmet,” I said, walking around the side of the car. “Wow, there’s a jug!”

“A jug?”

“Yeah, like an Emmet Otter Jug-Band jug.”


“It’s the size of a keg!”

“Wow,” he said.

He looked down for a second.

“Vermont plates,” he said.

“Makes sense,” I said. “That or Oregon, right?”

He chuckled.


We looked at it for a second.

“Hippies,” I said.

“Hippies,” he replied.

We glanced at each other for a second and walked back inside.

Read the Englewood story

Read the barber story

Read about the typewriter repairman

Comment on this story

By the way, apologies for messing up the post time yesterday and putting up a half-finished version of this on Sunday. Although I do reserve the right to claim it was an avant-garde minimalist deconstructionist sublimation of traditional narrative formats if that will get me published. Whatevs, yo.

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