Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Model Behavior

As a means of reducing stress I decided, a few years back, to take up model car building -something I haven't regularly done ever since Nixon was not a crook.

Holy smokes! There isn't anything like buying a model kit to remind you of inflation. Walking into a hobby shop in Salem, I had stars in my eyes, daydreaming about building a masterpiece of a '57 Chevy. In my mind's eye, I could see the chromed front suspension, the two-tone interior, and the miles of gleaming red candy apple red lacquer beckoning "come hither" to anyone traversing into the living room. The three dollars I recall whining about as being "too much money" to spend on my then-favorite hobby danced around me in my imagination, taunting me and telling me that they brought a few friends since our last encounter.

They were right; as I conceded to the purchase, Visa became aware, electronically, that a portion of the thirty-five dollars or so I was being charged would go to their "benevolent CEO fund" while the hobby shop would be able to keep their lights on for another week and the model vendor would be able to afford Peking Duck at Chateau de Coûteux.

That wasn't the worst; knowing that I prefer lacquer paint to enamel, but didn't have any on hand, I found myself shelling out another ten bucks for two cans of the marvelous stuff.

And what's lacquer without several bottles of detailing paint? Yours for the incredibly low price of four for six bucks more. It wasn't long before the cost of the kit itself was becoming eclipsed by those materials necessary to convince anyone looking at the Chevy that it was a real-life, downsized car swiped by a time bandit who took a wrong turn and ended up in the summer of '57. If you're going to build a replica, go for detail. It's expensive, but it's usually worth it. Sure, you'll find out how frustrating it is to duplicate, in one twenty-fifth scale, wheel weights and tire valve stems. And, of course, you'll positively want to have something to throw across the room when one of those valve stems, which took you forty-five minutes to create, slips out of the tweezers and becomes lost in the carpet nap. Or did it land in the glass of Pepsi right next to the spray cans of lacquer? 

But you soldier on with gritty determination, refusing to be denied, and every other cliché ever uttered in any of the war movies you're watching while wrapping the thinnest visible strand of wire ever made around a needle, trying your dandiest to make a scale representation of a throttle return spring. Whoops.

You know where this is going. That why you know you initially plan to not vacuum for another month. Heaven Knows there's a veritable junkyard in the Karastan Carpet currently cushioning your butt. The thought of making a one twenty-fifth copy of a metal detector crosses your mind until you realize that you can't even find parts as big as throttle springs which further swan dive toward the jute padding underneath with each step you take to the kitchen for a Ramen noodle break.

That snack has now quelled your anxieties toward your favorite relaxing hobby. In eleventh hour bravado, you glue the hood shut, affix full wheel covers to the latest addition to the now-growing collection of cars which themselves were hard-earned through sweat, determination, and throwing small objects (socks, mainly) at the sofa, and break out Hoover's finest.

What you had wished would be a museum-quality work of art is merely a humble, yet nice looking, representation of a classic car sitting on your bookshelf. The carpet is freshly vacuumed.

And your anxiety prompted by dreams of a wonderful masterpiece are now quelled by writing about them. I like writing.

Ink cartridges are cheap.


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