Fascinatingly Horrible, a Painful and Awe-Inspiring Truth, and a Silent Witness

old car

I’ve often wondered when it comes to abandoned cars- why this particular dying place?

I find entropy fascinatingly horrible. Part of me doesn’t want to watch the process of death, decomposition and/or decay, but at times I am almost compelled to do so, because there’s also a strange and captivating beauty in it.

Perhaps my fascination with old and decomposing things lies in the knowledge that somewhere, in a better time, those things were once new and whole.

old attic

I could get lost in a place like this. Intentionally.

I don’t like what this world has turned into, at least culturally, and the turning began years-decades, actually- before I was born.  Not all change is bad of course, but the moral and cultural disintegration of society is definitely a negative change as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said it before: Orwell’s 1984 was meant to serve as a warning, not an instruction manual.  I think Orwell would be spinning in his grave if he could see just how eerily true his observations have become.


All the freaking time.  Just look up at all the traffic cameras.

I do appreciate many technological advancements- in fact I would probably been long dead without a fair number of mid-20th century medical advances.  Most likely I’d never lived beyond infancy, for good or for ill.  And being the third (unwanted female to boot) of three, they’d probably never even bothered spending the scratch on the post mortem pic.

dead baby

Once you’ve had three kids, don’t they all sort of look alike?

Anyone old enough to have ever had to mess with a broken cassette tape or who has been stranded miles away from a phone gets what I’m saying about technology.  If we could have the technology without the dumb shit, and without the social and moral atrophy that seems to come along with it, perhaps utopia could be achieved!

I am not nearly that naïve. (Back to Orwell and Animal Farm and the time honored truth that some pigs are more equal than others.)

Of course, we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect world. In fact, I honestly believe in the devolution of humanity.

old VW thing

If only people knew… the VW “Thing” was a thinly disguised Kübelwagen.

And the whole Volkswagen concept was brewed up by Adolf Hitler.

I’ve commented many times on the strange beauty of abandoned machinery, and also of the concept that there might really be literal deus ex machina or real “gods in the machines.”

I can only imagine the silent witness written in cold, dead steel, and what does it have to say?

old bus

Sort of like a post mortem for an old, old VW Transporter.

The reality of the Transporters was (and is) that these are pretty much only meant to be owned and operated by technicians capable of repairing them.

Geezers Driving Old Buicks, and Pity Be On Grandma’s Car When She Dies…

Yum.  I’m glad I am not relegated to driving 20 year old POS cars that only geezers dared to drive when they were new. The Buick guys used to joke that the Century got its name because that was the average age of the drivers.

In all seriousness, 20 years ago, there seemed to be an unwritten rule that it was uncool for the under-sixty set to buy a new Buick.  Buicks, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Lincolns were Geezer Cars.  Legend had it they came from the factory already reeking of Absorbine Jr. and denture cream, and the radios were already set to the local AM talk radio station. Even I had the good fortune way back in the day when I had to drive 20 year old POS cars to score distressed imports that were at least once moderately cool and driven by the younger set in their day.

However, teenage kids are happy to receive anything that runs and drives, even if it reeks of lackluster design, stale prune juice, and used Depends.

Just add some chrome 22″ spinners to Grandma’s old Family Truckster and all will be well!  The irony is if you could afford a $5000 set of wheels, you could have afforded a lot better car.

Tricking out a not so valuable ride sort of reminds me of when I covered the dash of my ’77 VW Rabbit with black fake fur to cover the cracks in the dash. The difference is I was only out about $5 worth of fake fur and a few tubes of hot glue, and the old Rabbit didn’t make people think I was out after curfew from the assisted living center. I was even able to give a few Detroit iron muscle car aficionados a simple physics lesson with that car.  120 horsepower isn’t much, but the 1/4 mile isn’t about horsepower as much as it is low end torque.  A nice, light car, geared low with plenty of low end torque trumps a heavy car with a whole lot of horsepower, but not a lot of torque until it gets moving a bit- at least for 1/4 mile or more.  There was a certain satisfaction in beating out the guys with old Novas and Chevelles with that old ’77 Rabbit.

I won’t say the old Rabbits were perfect.  They were notoriously weird about electrical faults.  I always kept a stash of assorted fuses and bulbs because they were constantly being blown out.  None of my old Rabbits had working A/C, though I could have (in theory) put a new condenser in the GTI and got the A/C to work in that- for a few hundred bucks.  I should never have gotten rid of the GTI, but that’s water under the bridge.   All of the Rabbits at one point or another had brake problems of one sort or another.  All of the Rabbits I had, except the ’83 GTI, had to have the idle and timing manually adjusted every time the weather changed, which here in beautiful Central Ohio is just about every day.

The Rabbit pic above is  of a ’77.  My ’77 was a two-door and was sort of dog-shit brown, but my ’79 (American built, with square headlights -and it was a four door) was that same pastel blue enamel color.  Heaven help anyone weighing more than 70# and is taller than 4’9″ who tries to get in that back seat.