Song of the open road

Traffic and gas prices are too high for us to recall the sheer fun of driving. Fletcher Knebel, author of political thrillers (he co-wrote Seven Days in May, about the possibility of a military coup in the U.S., which was a huge bestseller), wrote a 1972 novel called Dark Horse about how, when a presidential candidate dies shortly before the election, a smoke-filled room replaces him with a totally unknown New Jersey highway official who runs a populist (joyful, not demagogic) campaign speaking to Americans out in their cars on the highways. Not much later, GM ran a commercial with catchy music and gorgeous shots of folks piling into their Chevys. I want a yellow Corvette to this day because of the shot of one scything through a field, to the tune of the jingle of the day:

Driving in your car
It’s all there in your hands
You’ve got room to breathe and the whole wide world to see
There’s something about the feeling
In a really fine machine
That turns you loose, that really sets you free
It’s a better way
It’s a better feeling
When the wheel belongs to you, the road goes anywhere you say
It’s a better way
It’s the feel of freedom
And it’s so much better in a Chevrolet

The Eisenhower interstate system was still relatively young and America was still relatively innocent. I live in downtown Boston now and would welcome a self-driving radarmobile, but those were good times.

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