You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy
The Pandemic Parade.
I get behind the wheel of the F-type and fire up the beast.
Pushing the start button is like leaping from a cliff in the middle of an electrical storm.
The 380 HP clap of thunder from under the hood shakes my body in the contoured racing seat.
My senses are momentarily overwhelmed by sonic vibrations of power that practically push my hair back while still in park.
It’s like that ocean wave you didn’t expect that slaps you in the face with a liquid right hook.
The ignition sequence of the F Type is bliss to a GT enthusiast.
It’s a signal to the mundane motoring sheep in the cul-de-sac that chores are done and it’s time to set sail on a life adventure without a map or honey do list.
I put on my leather driving gloves, allowing the nitrous belch from the dual chrome exhaust pipes, to come to a boil.
The satellite radio instantly blares a Bob Seger song, appropriate for this cool, but sunny Saturday afternoon.
I slowly drive to the stop sign, making sure not to grind up the neighborhood kid riding his scooter.
I turn right out of my subdivision and suddenly, like high performance wasps stinging my visual cortex, the on-coming lane of traffic is a roaring smorgasbord of horse power.
A Ferrari and then a Porsche and then an AC Cobra.
I’m baffled. “What the…”
My words dissipate into Seger’s throaty refrain.
Before I can compute the trilogy of mechanized beauty that just passed me, I hear another blast of approaching horsepower cascading over the F Type’s windshield.
Coming over the crest in the hill is the next onslaught of fine tuned engineering. The vehicles are shimmering in the brilliant sunshine.
As the motorists approach, I see them flashing lights.
As Seger’s song fades, I hear the honking of horns and revving engines.
Suddenly, the trilogy of power and automotive royalty is upon me.
73 Corvette Stingray. Dodge Viper. 1965 Mustang Convertible.
One Ferrari on a Saturday?, Totally possible.
A Ferrari and a Cobra AC and a Viper, and a Porsche, back to back to back to back?
This is more unusual than a NWA rap song blaring out of the player’s lounge at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Is this a car club? I ponder, my eyes searching the dashed yellow lines down the road for answers.
I turn the corner and see people lining the streets.
In a world of self isolation and social distancing, old people are seated in lawn chairs like they are getting ready to watch a fireworks display.
People are waving at me. There is rejuvenation on their faces.
If you didn’t tell me that there’s a pandemic and we are suppose to be frightened lambs, I would think that the Shriners were about to roll their mini cars down the block.
I see a child waving an American flag. His mother is holding her iPhone with one hand and waving to me with the other.
The woman’s smile is what catches me off guard.
I haven’t seen a smile in a month. If I do see a face, it’s solemn and scared and preoccupied with reports of Covid 19 deaths, real and suspected.
When I do see a human face, it’s covered by a mask. I live in a world of bank robbers and disguised humanity, meandering like zombies through a lost month of beautiful life.
But this is different. It’s a cool glass of satisfaction.
This is the America I remember, what I long for.
The sun is shining out of an interminable blue. The grass is green, on loan, from an Irish vista overlooking a bonny cliff.
The air is crisp and pure, like an oxygen bath purging the wretched disease from my mind.
For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel the oppressive vice clamp of the virus. I don’t see a storm cloud of foreboding in every lost gaze.
As I rumble forward, I see hope. I see a sense of normalcy, if only for a moment.
Could Covid 19 dance the devil’s contagion jig from person to person lining the street?
Perhaps it will kill more people today than those who put a gun in their mouth and pull the trigger in the darkness of their homes later.
Battle lines are drawn and only time will tell how history reflects our reaction to this red tide of panic.
But in this moment, this splendiferous, sun filled automotive moment, I feel alive.
I feel a tug on my chin and cheeks. It’s an odd sensation and it startles me.
A Rolling Stones classic erupts from the speakers. It’s loud, and combats the exhaust system that gurgles like a drunken pirate ready to do something dispicable.
I look into the rear view mirror to see what has happened to my face.
That’s when I see it; a smile. My face, has broken a Covid 19 mold of sadness and rolled itself into an upside down frown.
My smile makes me smile.
I find myself waving to the little boy with the American flag.
He is enthusiastic and the future of a country that will certainly overcome this pandemic.
He waves back, pointing his American flag at me.
I was going to get gas and fill up. But suddenly, this moment is bigger than filling my tank.
I find myself in a procession of people who announced on Facebook they’d be driving by, to give people something to look forward to.
I will later come to learn that this is a car club from Middle Tennessee.
They have driven their beautiful machines from Davidson and Williamson and Wilson and Maury Counties. They have saturated this community with shiny metallic dreams that resonate like thunder carrying away fear and replacing it with hope.
I am by cosmic design now part of this pandemic parade.
My car looks like it belongs.
I rumble when they rumble. I glisten in the sun like a super charged show pony.
I wave and smile and the view I see in the crowd fills my soul with something other than despair.
I didn’t expect to be part of rolling thunder on this afternoon. I never expected to bring joy to others, so needing joy. But the universe is a strange and wonderful thing.
It always seems to know how to fill the void with something wondrous and unexplainable.
A Pandemic Parade out of thin air, in the middle of a ubiquitous neighborhood full of fears.