Neo Jones

Dear J-

There’s a Honda Civic which magically appeared in the park’n’ride lot we use as vanpool staging; though I see a lot of the same cars every time I go I call this one magical because it’s clearly been towed and dumped.  Somehow, it’s come to grief, with the front passenger’s side nearly obliterated, and yet it’s neatly tucked in to a parking spot, slick as anything — cleverly positioned with its back facing the freeway off-ramp, so that none might suspect it’s inoperable and therefore towing it to the junkyard prematurely.  Someone put some money into the car at some point; the headlights are some custom reflector assembly, and it looks recently washed.

Unknown Grief 5082 -sm

I like to build back-stories and speculations in my head based on what I see; part of this is undoubtedly the seemingly millions of shipwreck discovery articles I read in National Geographic — it’s like the crew depicted in The Perfect Storm (if there were no survivors, all we know is that the ship was presumed lost, not all the drama surrounding their personal chemistry).  When my parents wanted me to go see a lot out in Moreno Valley, I went to document a bare, trash-strewn lot with the crowning achievement of a burned-out S12 Silvia; my brain worked overtime to come up with some high school bacchanal, echoing silently in the hot, still air.

We’re sliding through the fog again; somehow we’ve co-opted harvest festivals into prime time for ghosts and costumes, just over a week from now.  If we went by sea instead of freeway, we’d stand watch and regale each other with sea tales of derelict ships and unrestful spirits.  Simple physics would tell me how much and how fast, but not why that Civic came to rest; was it some foggy night, and why would it just be abandoned to fate in some Sargasso lot?  It’s neo-archaeology:  finding (or inventing) stories in the artifacts of today.



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