Wednesday, August 22, 2007


A Few Vehicles from Cheyenne's Growing Fleet
Written 22 August, 2007


Mr. Smith had an Oldsmobile
Baby blue with wire wheels
I took her home the day she was advertised
He said she’d leak when it would rain
Sounded like an aeroplane
But I knew she was a
Jewel in disguise

-- 455 Rocket

By Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

I’ve always been enamored of vehicles in my first life. It’s a characteristic I share with many others.

So, what is it with our relationships with vehicles?

I think many of us are fascinated by boats, cars, motorcycles, and aircraft because they provide the freedom to move from one place to another faster and more efficiently than we can transport ourselves with our muscles. We come to appreciate them because they offer us this freedom.

But I also think it’s because their ability to move makes vehicles, in a way, animate, rather than inanimate objects. Their very complexity seems to give them a personality and a temperament, and we consequently talk to them, curse at them, cajole them, and bargain with them as if they were alive, in ways we would never apply to other objects, even the most rare and precious of them.

“C’mon, start, you mother—“

“Please don’t run out of gas! Please don’t run out of gas!”

“If you’ll just get me home, I promise I’ll check your oil. And I’ll wash you. Deal?”

We even write songs about our vehicles. Think about it. “Little Honda.” “Little Deuce Coupe.” “Since Her Daddy Took Her T-Bird Away.” And that’s just the Beach Boys. Cars: “Hot Rod Lincoln.” “Rocket 88.” Trains: “City of New Orleans.” “Wabash Cannonball.” Lots of songs about trains; see
for a partial list.

Aircraft seem to have the short shrift here. I can’t think of a single song ABOUT an airplane, although I can think of several about airplanes carrying people away (“Leaving on a Jet Plane”; “Silver Wings.” Go figure.

For some reason, there seem to be no songs about helicopters. No “Hail, Sikorsky!” No “Big Yellow Huey.”

Hmmm. Maybe I’d better dash off a copter song…

(Sung to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree”)

Oh, whirlybird
Oh, whirlybird
How glad I am to see you
I’m under fire
Down to the wire
Won’t you evac-
Uate me

(Hey, give me a break! I’m under pressure here!)

I see your rotors glistening
I’m for your motors listening
Oh, whirlybird
Oh, whirlybird
How glad I am to see you!

Oh, how I love you, Medivac
You are a flying Cadillac
Oh, whirlybird
Oh, whirlybird
How glad I am to see you!

What’s with your endless hovering?
You’re Channel 5 News covering
My heart attack
You worthless flacks
How I would hate to be you!

All nonsense on-the-spot songwriting aside, I myself wrote a song about a car—my ’54 Chevy Belaire, which I drove from Tennessee to California and back:

She was the very picture
Of the Great American Dream
She sang a song of the Korean War
And high-test gasoline
But her paint and the chromium bumpers
Were losing all their gleam
She was developing a thirst for travel
And quarts of Valvoline

(I love the loose rhyming structure in songs. You can rime –eam with –ine [even twice in the same verse!] and it sounds perfectly fine. Try doing that with a limerick!)


When I arrived in Second Life, vehicles didn’t even register.

Oh, when I was freshly rezzed, I picked up and rezzed the requisite freebies at New Citizens, Inc., and I even bought a neat little hover car called the Rocket 88 which I occasionally rez so I can bounce around the landscape.

It all changed when I got my Flying Tako sailboat.

You see, while making my purchase (“One, Tako, por favor, extra jalapenos,”) I also picked up a one-person mini-blimp called the Blimpquito by the same maker.

I liked my Blimpquito so much I was soon flying it all over Pele. I even bought one for Sweetie.

That was the start of it. Now there seems to be no end.

I now have two two-seater blimps and a four-seater, two balloons, a flying carpet, a sailplane, a racing plane, and a motorboat (for those times when there’s just no Second Life wind in the sailing areas).

I’ve not bought any cars yet, although I kept the Lamborghini and UPS truck from the NCI freebies. I don’t drive the Lamborghini, and I rez the UPS truck only so I can blow it up (“Take that, Brown! I told you it absolutely, positively had to be there overnight!), but I now have three bicycles (a unicycle, a racer, and a two-seater), and last night I picked up a little scooter which promises to be an interesting ride.

And last night I journeyed to G-Axis [Igbo (81, 184, 351)], where I tried out the racing karts. It was WAY fun! Gotta have me one.

I love to go fast in Second Life!

Late flash: See for a very badly written Sinn Féin song about a helicopter facilitating a prison break.

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