An English In Kentucky



















July 25th 2009

    When I was at boarding school two of the older boys thought they were cars.  I forget what species of motor vehicle, but if I were to see them again, I am certain they both would help me recall.

   Their behavior can be summarized as follows.  In the morning the engine would start.  Meals were for refueling.  At night they would switch the engine off and lie beneath their mosquito nets impatient for a new day.

   Movement was more interesting.  Important to have one arm out of the window and the head back.  The other arm would manage both the steering wheel and the gear lever, while voice represented the engine.

    Except for the inconvenience of classes, these two young men would drive around at high speeds all day, pausing now and then for the occasional engine repair.


    Sometimes they might bump into someone.  There would be a slamming of brakes.  Much gesticulation and profanity.  A quick overall vehicle inspection to check for damage before life would go on.

   Once, a master fresh faced from England, questioned the sagacity of permitting this drift into other worlds.  But remarkable in my memory is the haste with which we leapt to the defense of these two extraordinary people.

    At the end of the term they were picked up by their parents.  They did not travel in the back seat.  Instead, the boot, or the trunk, was secured open with a stick.  They climbed in and off they went, blissfully happy in a cloud of dust and engine exhaust.   

tim candler

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