Mustang Mania

Dear J-

Back in Sacramento again — technically, Rancho Cordova, and it feels just about, well, I’m not sure that right is the correct term.  Familiar, let’s say.  I got slightly lost on the way here, but I remember so much from before, from the skidding tractor-trailer sign to the mysterious sign for Avenue X, right where the I-5/I-80 interchange meet.  Things aren’t so different, eight years on; even driving down White Rock Road I could have sworn I passed by some of the buildings Worldcom was leasing.


The thing that causes me mortal embarrassment is the car the rental agency left for me; I should have stuck with my gut instinct and asked for the Focus, but instead I’m in a head-turningly red Mustang.  The gas gauge dares me to try to eke some sort of reasonable consumption out of the beast, and it feels like I’m sitting in a well — the sills are high (in my usual car, I like to prop my left elbow on the sill; in the Mustang, the sill ends up being higher than my earlobe).  That said, it’s not a bad car to drive, but it is notably lacking in refinement.  And it makes me feel old to be behind the wheel — it’s either a young person’s car, or someone hoping to recapture youth; the retro touches are lost on me, and the overall effect is desperation.

I don’t think it’s endemic to Sacramento in particular, but out here in the industrial sprawl, the anonymous office parks are all marked with large parking lots, winding roads, and bermed planting strips — as though from above, all you’d end up seeing would be suburbia writ large, in earthen-toned offices with dark glass.  It’s in San Diego — right around Miramar — and I’m sure it’s in a neighborhood near you.  I just don’t remember it being so lifeless from the outside:  as though if no one told you there were people inside, you’d never guess at the activity within.

Later, I went to the nearest Jack-in-the-Box, across the freeway at the corner of Folsom and Zinfandel; possibly the sketchiest JitB I’ve been in for a while.  Employees kept disappearing out into the otherwise deserted parking lot, and I was left alone in the dining room staring at the bug zapper, hoping not to be carjacked on the way back out.  But perhaps I overestimate the ‘stang’s desirability.



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