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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hanes Mall 2:21 PM

When the US Postal Service sold off their excess vehicles all those years ago, I begged my parents to buy one. Well, my father. I knew there was no point even broaching the idea with my mother.

"The driver's seat is on the right side!" I'd say emphatically. "It's small like a VW bug! And nobody we know has one!" My father would agree it was a marvelous vehicle, yes, yes, yes, then nothing.

I'd stare at the local fleet of them for sale when we passed. They were all repainted in solid colors, even the bumpers, which was beyond cutting edge back then. Orange, bright blue, yellow. Nobody we knew had cars those colors. My mother's car, in which I rode most often, was a sedate ocean blue, a station wagon with stickers made to look like wood panels and dark blue vinyl seats. In the summer heat, the vinyl would sear the backs of bare thighs, so my mother sat on what looked like a rigid plastic beach chair minus the stand. With no such protection, I would try to slouch down enough that no uncovered skin made contact with the vinyl.

I felt certain I would fare better in a surplus US Postal Service vehicle. In the evenings I would crouch behind my father's armchair when he read. "Orange," I'd whisper, hoping to somehow brainwash the man into buying one. "Get an orange one." It never worked, though he would often get up from his chair and say, to nobody in particular, "I don't know why, but I feel like having a glass of orange juice." Then he'd chuckle on his way into the kitchen.
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