Running the Marathon
The New Breed Behind the Wheel of the Old World...
There’s something I just enjoy about it, even as a high-tech kinda gal. Knowing you’re doing something so antiquated and so…simple. That’s it. Simple, easy street. All that power, and it don’t take much at all to get him moving. Two on the wheel, and a paw on the floor; all you need tops. And the fact Vinnie got me cleared for it, “license” and all.
Every time I kiss my kids goodbye, slip my cap on and get inside, I feel like I never left home. Like I’m always right where I should be for the whole night no matter where we go, who we pick up, where we gotta drop ‘em off. I wonder if all those folks out in the desert feel this way about their cars.
It sounds so silly saying it out loud, but I even named him; Moe. Moe the Cab, my little Marathon straight out of the Old Word, trundling about with his little gray leadfoot lady behind the wheel. But how couldn’t I? He’s got the sweetest little four-eyes, this cute little steering wheel; God, he is just the best!
You meet so many neat folks when you go out driving! Once I picked up this couple down in Comm/Ent. They just saw that funny little movie they made in the Amalgam series, Joy on the Vasage, and they were just falling over themselves laughing. And they tried explaining it to me for the whole ride back to their apartment and even I couldn’t stop giggling by the end of it.
You also get people who are surprised to see me driving around at all. Not me personally, but the cab. “Isn’t that for old-timers?” or “Whaddya mean four wheels?” and other such strange things. I get edu-plans prioritize Haven history over Old World, but you’d think something big like an automobile wouldn’t slip through the cracks.
Hey, I also love driving around this way because Moe makes me feel all unwound. My hair’s always down, I’m always in my sandals, my cap is always sitting all loosey-goosey on my head, it’s all just comfy for me. Plus the way he feels, my God! The seats are nice and soft, the wheel rests easy in my hands. I just, dang, I just think he’s swell.
No, no, no! I don’t think these critters have a chance at making a comeback. I’m not just talking about what A.C.E.S. wants, I’m talking what the people accept. Most hounds are so good and set with hovercraft, they won’t accept a substitute unless it is the absolute most efficient machine there is. I hear they are shaping up some prototype transporters in the Labs. Here’s hoping they are a big success because that could cut down commutes beautifully.
Oh, Mr. Conrad, take it easy. It ain’t that complicated. I believe in what Vinnie and the White Coats do, and I believe my little Moe and I have a place here on the roads too. Back in the real old days, when cars like Moe were all the rage, there were still horse-drawn carriages! Can you believe it!? Open carts, one or two ponies at the front, and a kindly fellow in a top hat there at the reins. And they were just as loved as cars were, but they served a different purpose. Back then, cars were fastest, but the carriage was romance, l’amour. Nowadays, hovercraft are fastest and cars are l’amour. Some are hot, and some are cuddly like my Moe.
My dear Mr. Conrad, it’s not rocket science. Not everything has to be “go here, go there,” in the blink of an eye. When I gotta get my boys to a play-date, yessir we gotta take the HOV-4K. But if Lil’ Joe asks, “can we go for a ride Mommy?” he ain’t asking for the daily driver. You can have efficiency and romance, no one ever said you couldn’t.
Well…if She said so, I’m sure the license would’ve been revoked ages ago. But I like to think A.C.E.S. has been good to me. All that fighting on the city’s edge I’m sure is getting done with the people’s interests at heart. But somewhere within her, I think she knows about the joy this brings, THIS kind of ride-around. How that joy keeps you up and at it, and in turn “maintains peak efficiency.” I couldn’t be half as good a mother and wife if I didn’t have Moe. He gives me a chance to be with other folks, to know ‘em and care for them, which in turn brightens my spirits and lets me come back to my family all spic-and-span.
It also teaches you a lot of good engineering skills! I tell you, have every up-and-comer at WCC crew up and get under the hood and they will build that beautiful network of ours an empire, I kid you not! Vinnie only taught me enough so I can keep Moe running, I’ve been at it for a few months, and I’m coming on like a damn Einstein thanks to it. Get a couple sharp minds to rebuild a nice Mustang or something, and you will have your “credentialed minds” Mr. Conrad.
Now, is that all your questions answered? Good. Let’s get back to the start. Vinnie and I have a function for WCC tonight. Cabbies’ gotta powder their noses too. Give my regards to the boys on the Board, won’t you?
The hell you mean “what about pay?” That’s how you know this whole thing’s a fantasy for folks; the fare’s free.
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