Friday, February 9, 2007

It's a Small World After All

I love miniatures. Small things. Compact models and machines artfully designed. Doesn't really matter what it is, to me, if it's little, it's cool. When I was a kid I loved going to the museums and looking at the models and dioramas. I had a giant bin full of green army men. And countless legos. I loved them for their smallness.

I also used to walk a mile by myself to Woodcraft Hobby Store to gaze longingly at all of the plastic model kits I couldn't afford. I'd spend what seemed like hours studying the packages and looking at the dioramas. The Tamiya models were the best. God, they were well-made. So detailed, so perfectly sculpted. On the rare occasions that I could get one of those kits, I build them with great care and pleasure, though I never felt that I did them justice. Assembled and painted by professionals, I was absolutely entranced by their beauty. They were fucking sublime. I'm tearing up just thinking about them. Forget that "Big is the New Small" bullshit. Mini is magnificent!

Which brings me to my other early passion: Japan. Tamiya is of course a Japanese brand. Japan held a curious place in the minds of Americans in the 1970s. The war generation looked upon Japan with racism and disdain. The baby boom generation looked at Japan as a source of cheap products. I think my generation was the first American generation to start actually appreciating Japanese things. Japan held a fascination for me that lasted throughout my childhood - I loved Godzilla, I loved anime, loved the samurai knights, loved the...

But I digress. Where was I? Miniatures. All this talk about miniatures and Japan helps me to justify to myself why I have gotten so geeked up about this really cool car. I've been obsessed with this snazzy little baby for weeks. I even bought a lottery ticket hoping I would win, so I could buy one. Dammat, Powerball! That was my $240 million! I NEEDED that money for my new ride! Hook me up!

Now, I've never considered myself someone who nurtured a passion for automobiles. As a boy I thought formula one cars were cool and I thought James Bond had a sweet ride. Also, I loved the gull-wing doors on the DeLoreans. My brother and I had the orange matchbox tracks, and we were mad about the Tyco racing sets. But as a teen and young man, vehicles and motor sports were lost on me. They still are, really. I couldn't care less about NASCAR, and I don't really need a hot car to get around in. Being a practical cat, I am content with my Subaru wagon (incidentally, Subie turned 130 thousand today, bless her!).

But this Honda Civic is so rad! I love all of the fine details and the precise sculpting. I love the curves, the cute yet punchy attitude of the body. The exterior has a smart, sleek look that says visually, "fun, cool, zippy, tough." And the interior is a gadget lover's dream. Lights and knobs and toggles galore. The seats look incredibly comfortable and inviting, and I love the mixed-material upholstery.

Damn, that is one fine automobile. I need a cigarette.

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