Young (Waging Heavy Peace, 2012) returns to reflect on the two defining love affairs of his life: cars and dogs.
The author’s interest in cars dates back to when he was a young boy riding around in his family’s 1948 Monarch Business Coupe with his dog Skippy tucked away in the car’s trunk. Perhaps the reason cars made such an impression on him is that the family moved around so often, developing a sense of itinerancy that fostered a love of being on the road. Young’s many road trips, however, allow him to retroactively calculate the emissions pumped into the atmosphere. This recurring diversion awkwardly interrupts the narrative, but Young feels obliged to include it due to his eco-conscious beliefs. It’s an interesting juxtaposition: the author’s love of cars against his awareness of the ecological damage caused by fossil fuel consumption. Nevertheless, Young reveals that his interest in cars was always about their aesthetic appeal, and it was not merely limited to the newest and most streamlined vehicles. The author admits that what really caught his eye were cars with an indescribable uniqueness, which often attracted him to “clunkers.” These cars spoke to Young, holding a romantic sway over him. Among his favorites was the black hearse that functioned as the Squires’ unofficial tour bus, as well as a 1957 Corvette he purchased to reward himself after his first taste of success with Buffalo Springfield. The plaintive and straightforward approach to Young’s remembrances evokes a kindly paternalism as he candidly recounts details of his experiences forging his musical ambition in Canadian clubs, the hippie scene in Los Angeles, his later solo career and the innumerable rides that took him there. Ultimately, Young issues a warning about our dependence on fossil fuels and the resultant threat of climate change while showcasing new and efficient alternative fuel systems.
Both heartfelt and conflicted, Young’s passion for cars is tempered by his environmental conviction, a prescient reminder that the Earth is more important than a hobby.