Friday, May 15, 2009

Chapter 6 - Swing for the Fences

He arranged for the car to be painted the next week. Red? Silver? White? He couldn’t decide. He made up his mind in the body shop lobby. White, no pearl, no nothing. He handed over the keys. His budget was spent, but he had done it.

The car looked perfect. So much pride in an 89 economy car. The feeling of driving it home, slow over the imperfect pavement, stretched tires kissing the fresh fenders – this was bliss. He lowered it further for its photoshoot, for its unveiling. He recruited a local Asian with a DSLR to do the honors. They weren’t friends, but they were ‘car friends’. The pictures were flawless. Like a big vanilla double scoop dropped on asphalt.

He made a Flickr account for the occasion. Copy image location, Paste. He edited the quirky relevant title accordingly as he had seen done so many times. "Ice Cream Paint Job – pg 11 update!" "So Much White Tony Montana Jealous". He must have refreshed those build threads fifty times before a response appeared.

“Something looks off. Not bad tho.”
His body told him to be angry, but his heart sank. That guy didn’t get it.

Kids with ‘project cars’ rained praise on him, but the people he cared about, his target audience, the ones who 'got it', were unimpressed. He tried to tease out advice from their ambiguous posts. Obviously changes were in order. Our drifter didn’t come this far to be “not bad”. This was Everest. Fuck K2.

Money was short. He suspected his girlfriend was cheating on him, and started sinking fifty bucks a weekend into ‘clubbing’ to keep an eye on her. All the while driving a big white imperfection.

He was stalling. Pressure was mounting for the next step in his build: action shots. Those drifters, always with the action shots! As if ‘building a car’ (changing the bumpers, wheels, and suspension) wasn’t enough. There was a drift event coming up and he would have to dig deep for the $200 entry fee. But there was a high likelihood of photographers, and he couldn’t put it off any longer. He was beyond rusty, but it didn’t matter. A few choice action shots can save a drift career. Suspension compressed, 'aesthetically damaged aero', it had all the makings of a great clincher.

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