Estleman, Loren D. Edsel: a Novel of Detroit. The Mysterious Press, 1995.
Reason read: to continue the series started in January in honor of Michigan becoming a state. I also needed a one-word title for the Portland Public Library’s Reading Challenge.
For Edsel: a Novel of Detroit, we jump back to the 1950s. Former reporter Constance “Connie” Minor has been hired to come up with an advertising pitch to sell the Ford “e-car” Edsel. At the same time, he is hired to be a spy for the United Auto Workers labor union. As he bounces between loyalties and the law, Connie also juggles dating two women. Per the usual Estlemen plot, Connie burrows underground into the world of mobsters, corrupt politicians, and ex-cops with hidden agendas. Once again, it is the dialogue that keeps Edsel hopping.
Like the other Estleman novels, Edsel is a parade of cars: Skyliner, Studebaker (my dad had one of those), Lincoln Capri, Ford Fairlane, Hudson Hornet, Bel-Air, Mercury Montclair, deVille, corsair, Citation, and Roadmaster.
This is going to sound strange, but I loved the last few pages of Edsel. If this had been a movie, the end roll of credits would have been a political and economic snapshot of how 1950s fared. Like the voiceover of the crime noir detective wrapping up the solving of a crime.
What was that movie when someone soandso goes back in time and laughingly asks her family, “you bought an Edsel?” knowing that in the future, this model was doomed to fail in a big way. I think it was “Peggy Sue Got Married” but I can’t remember the name of the actress who goes back in time.
Quote I liked, Israel Zed’s advice, “Time isn’t as important as attitude” (p 85). Two more lines to like, “I had to maneuver my lips out of the way of my words” (p 72), “Young women who are out to seduce fossils don’t begin by telling them they’re two years younger than their fathers” (p 147), and “Never plead problems of health to the man who holds your professional future in the file drawer of his desk” (p 278).
Author fact: Estleman was nominated for a Pulitzer.
Playlist: Little Richard, “After the Ball,” “The Black Bottom,” “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window,” “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” “Sixteen Tons,” Teresa Brewer, Xavier Cugat, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On-a My House,” Elvis’s “Hond Dog,” Jerry Lee Lewis, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Frankie Lane’s “Mule Train,” and Bill Haley and the Comets.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Big Country Country: the Literary Midwest (Michigan)” (p 26).
My sister gave me a book on awareness. At this current moment the book is nowhere near me and I’m too lazy to get it. So, I won’t be telling you the title at this time. But, I’ve added it to my January list of books to read and I will be “reviewing” it in my half-azzed manner.
What got me thinking is the idea of mind over matter. December was an awful month because I let it be. My car was in the shop no less than five times. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be such a big deal. Kisa and I carpool all the time, but it sucked something out of me. A sense of independence was lost. I lost sensibility, too – trying to make plans without transportation was just plan stupid.
We “lost” three houses. Since we never really had them, technically, I’m overreacting. I’m making a big deal out of this real estate game. I’m letting my emotions get the better of me whenever the houses get away. I guess I make it emotional because it seems like we have been losing for so long.
We lost two friends. That we did. When N died all I could focus on was 49 was too young to die. Her kids are teenagers – at that perfect age when mom just starts to become human, possibly even a friend. I couldn’t get to the point of relief that she was no longer suffering, no longer fighting a decade long battle. When T died all I could focus on was how stupid it is to be alive. Senseless and stupid. I’m angry because I’m selfish.
Death has had me mean. When someone blurted out “he’s just going to die anyway” I wanted to agree, I wanted to say, “I think you’re right” but I couldn’t . You don’t wish death on someone just because the statistics say it’s time. What is time to someone 22, 49 or 92?
December was an awful month for work, too. I vow to give reviews in November next year. To plan better. To direct better. The whining will stop. The whimpering will stop. I had a chance to talk to my boss one on one. He said the sign of a good leader is recognizing exhaustion; knowing when you are dangerously close to your breaking point and need a break. He ordered me to take the entire vacation off and do something a little less “urgent” with the time. It was the best advice someone could give me. He doesn’t need to know I didn’t refuse work from somewhere else!
So now I’ve meditated on most of what bothered me in December. Most of it was out of my control, but I let it get to me just the same. In the process I learned a valuable lesson. Let go. I didn’t send Christmas cards to people who have never sent me one. I’ve given my last gift to someone who never has the decency to say thank you. I’ve let go of superficial signs of sentiment. It’s time to pay attention to what really matters.
You know that saying, the one about sh!t and the pot…? I felt that way about the home-buying experience. As a virgin in the last realm left for me-property – I was beginning to feel that sh!torgetoffthepot urgency. Weekend after weekend, checking out open houses with closed minds, week after week of reading and deleting property updates, thinking this could work, but knowing it wouldn’t. I was getting fed up with the process because it felt like spinning wheels and wasting gas. It wasn’t enough to see the potential in a house when the neighborhood was awful (or vise versa). What, exactly, were we waiting for? Christmas in July?
Then Kisa crashed my car. Well, more accurately, some woman plowed into him. Either way, my car took the hit and couldn’t go a mile further. Either way I was rendered transportationless. It was a mental thing. I didn’t need the wheels but suddenly when I was without them, I was missing them. Big time. Somehow, in some way, being powerless to motion spurred me into action. I called a real estate agent.
I called an honest to goodness, real, realtor. It’s as if I needed a proverbial chili dog to get me moving. Dare I say it? I’m staying on the pot.
For the record:
For the time being I am glad we still live next door to the in-laws. Who knows what he would have done if we didn’t hear his cries for help?
I am not upset about the sirsy mobile being in an accident. Driver is okay, car is not. It’s time I moved on anyway.
I still think the attitude of my coworkers staff bites. Being angry about it “not being your job” just makes me want to say, “Find another one.”
It’s not my fault feelings change. I said I would be there, but not in that way. Not anymore. Get over it. I did.
I still haven’t forgotten which means I still haven’t forgiven. Maybe it’s the lack of forgiveness that won’t let me forget.
As I think these things and feel these things I have to wonder where I went. Hope it was good.