At this point in the history of motorized transportation it’s hard to be anything but ambivalent. Actually that’s a bit misleading, since the negative and the positive aren’t equally balanced. Our awareness of the downside of fossil fuel dependency is largely intellectual, whereas our affection for our cars resides more in the realm of love. The urge to become mobilized – to get moving – is deep in the American soul. And so it was with genuine sadness yesterday that I watched my beloved 2002 Saturn head for the Sun Belt in its old age, now the property of my friend who lives in Austin. She was only one step up from a beater I guess, but she was my trusty steed.
What better way to bid farewell than with Neil Young’s “Long May You Run”? When I first heard this song I figured he was paying tribute to an old friend by using the metaphor of the car. Actually, Neil wrote the song for a car and not for a friend, so the metaphor of friendship radiates out from what is a straightforward ode to a specific machine, and not vice versa. And that’s how you get an inventive couplet like “With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.”