The Aesthete and the Amateur Part 1: The Accident and the Albers

blog dept-A&A

by Heavy Writer, edited by Eleanor Medier

(Please see the in-world release or download Sim Street Journal#4 for more photographs, articles, and functionality. Also available on MARKETPLACE).

An ongoing series of discussions between an unlikely fictitious couple—a professional art critic and her wise fool truck-driver husband, continuing from the last installment.
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Each morning, I have my ritual—coffee and a couple of cigs on the porch. I settle in the comfy chair, and stretch my legs out, enjoying the silent garden. But on one recent morning, my dog Muddy began barking with a frenzy. I went to see who was disturbing the peace, and found the family lawyer, who looked at me and said, “Heavy, you should feed this dog sometimes.”

I shook his hand and answered, “I’ll feed him right now if you are bringing me bad news.”

He took a step back, and replied, “Well I have good and bad news… Good news is we won the trial against your so-called ‘cousin.’ And the bad news is that the bank will take over the property on your Uncle’s garage in one week if you don’t pay the mortgage on it.”

After thanking him, I watched his back leaving, calmed the dog, and made another pot of coffee—I needed it!

Uncle Wallace drank himself to death a couple of years ago. He was my only family. Yet after his death, out from no where, a guy claimed to be his son. It took two years in court and several thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees to finally get what’s mine by right. So winning was great news!

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I zoomed on my motorcycle over to my Uncle’s garage—now-mine—in Streeterville. Indeed, on the gate, was a last-notice from the bank. And, I discovered that the place was a ruin, used and vandalized by local gangs for two years. But the bays’ doors were intact. Memories flooded in, perhaps because of the gasoline and burnt oil smells. This was where I spent my childhood with Uncle Wally, who taught me everything I know about cars.

After a couple hours of hard work, I finally pried open the rusty doors. In the first bay, I found a bunch of crates with all kinds of spare parts (that will take months to sort and identify), and a bunch of monster trucks tires. In the second bay, I found more crates and a rusty Chevy truck (that will take months to fix and refurbish). Hopefully, goods things were to come as I pulled open bays 3 and 4. There, I found, to my great delight, an old 1923 Ford T, a Mustang Shelby GT 500 fastback, a ‘61 Chevy Corvette, and a beautiful black Lincoln Mercury Cougar. All were in top shape! The legacy of Uncle Wally to me! Poor Uncle Wally! What treasures!

Inspired, it took a couple more hours to start the engines of those beauties, except, of course, the old rusty Chevy truck. There I was, losing all sense of time and totally absorbed in what was better than I had hoped. While fine tuning the Cougar carburetors, my better half, Eleanor, drove her Mercedes into the yard. As she carefully placed her delicate high heels onto the gravel, she had a scowl on her otherwise perfectly composed face. She declared that there was a light blinking on her car dashboard.

I took a look, and noticed that she was driving without releasing the parking break. This woman has no clue about anything that doesn’t talk back with an opinion! Patiently (and trying hard not to laugh), I showed her how the little light goes off when lowering the brake. That settled, I went back to the Cougar.

Glancing sideways at her, I couldn’t believe she was wearing white silk, high-heeled sandals, and even diamonds, into a garage! No doubt she was going to demand I change into a suit for our scheduled art show visit. So I buried my head in the Cougar engine, hoping she would find something else to distract her. After a few minutes, I felt her approach behind me, and heard her sweet voice ask, “Are these Uncle Wally’s cars?? This one here is very cute. Can I drive this one please?” She pointed to the Corvette.

I regarded her carefully, and wisely pointed out: “Sorry dear. These cars are very powerful, sensitive, and take expertise to drive—expertise, sorry darling, that you don’t have.”

She never backs down from a challenge. I should have known better. She looked at me with her big blue eyes, and asked with such charm, “Come on, they are just cars. And I have a license. I want to drive this cute one,” and she stroked the car’s hood with her manicured fingers.

Wisdom still prevailed when I explained, “That ‘cute one’ has a 315 horse power engine. Such power on a light body makes that car a beast. Trust me on this dear. It has a very sensitive gas pedal! It is not like your Mercedes with all those electronic gadgets to protect you from yourself! Ok—you can drive the Ford T if you want…”

Eleanor can be very focused and stubborn. She rarely, if ever, takes ‘no’ for an answer. My mistake was taking my eyes off of her.

She simply slipped her elegance behind the steering wheel of the Corvette, engaged the ignition, and before I knew what happened, had squealed out of the yard in a cloud of smoke. I was so surprised, I could not react, except to know something bad was about to happen.

Sometimes I really hate being right. Five minutes later, she zoomed back into the yard with such speed that she crashed the Corvette straight into the Mustang, crunching the front ends of both cars!!

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I ran towards the catastrophe, alarmed for Eleanor’s safety. Quickly, I extracted her out from the bent metal. Amazingly, she was stunned, but had no scratch on her—not even a wrinkle in her white silk suit!

Once I set her on her feet, gave her a few slaps to get back her senses, I realized she more deserved to be spanked! Then it hit me what she had done. “You never listen! You have ruined two beautiful cars and put yourself in danger! Do you know how expensive these cars are and how hard it is to find spare parts?” I sat her on the back seat of her Mercedes, and assessed the damages, which were extensive. Neither car would start, and I had to push them back inside the bays. I locked everything down and took her to the hospital for a CT scan. All was good—she was  fine…such a lucky lady! I was relieved, but so pissed off that she never listens!

With her full faculties restored, Eleanor dragged me to another art review. Despite the visual intrigue, I couldn’t take my mind off of the cars that she ruined, and from the bank taking over Uncle Wally’s garage.

So it hit me how to get her to pay for the damage, and pay off the bank, both at the same time! Smiling to myself, my anger started to evaporate as I formed my plan. For this to work, I followed along as we investigated the installation “House of Memories.” It made me remember why I married her in the first place, and how I can get what I want in the end.

Fortunately, Eleanor was so distracted by the accident, that she forgot to direct my wardrobe choices before our gallery visit. This time the “gallery” was out in some remote country pasture, so maybe that’s why she let me off easy, and I got to wear my black leather jacket. She was happy to ride silently while I drove my new/old Lincoln Mercury Cougar out on the open road for the first time since inheriting it. After her disastrous accident, I had to show her how a classic car SHOULD be driven!! It was great to find her humbled, though I couldn’t wait to get even for her smashing up my two other newly-acquired classics! Such a shame!!

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When we arrived at the 3D show, “House of Memories,” we were greeted by the connective structure of Almut Brunswick’s tram and city. The rail stops were the works by Moeuhane Sandalwood, Lilia Artis, and Haveit Neox. A bit overwhelmed by the big place, I suggested we focus, choosing one section to review. But my better half rarely listens to me. Off she ran to explore, soon out of chat range. I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

This installation has the theme of memories, which made me question how the various segments relate together. (We also got distracted by a neighboring installation.) It seems tricky to have four artists cooperate. My experience with artists is that each thinks his (or her) idea is the best. And if you ask them what they are most proud of, it is always the last thing they produced. They sure can’t see context! But, I guess wearing such blinders means that Eleanor has a job, because someone has to have the perspective to make sense of all these accomplishments.

Dutifully, I followed her high heels to the entry point, and we trammed to the first station—by Moeuhane Sandalwood. In her element, Eleanor pranced right towards the door of the sketchy glass-like structure, read the sign, and cammed around. I caught up, but I don’t bother reading the sign. I don’t want to read when I visit something visual—at least not right away. Don’t tell me what to see. Let me see what can be said without words! This attitude doesn’t make me popular with the artists. But then, I don’t get paid for my opinion; Eleanor does.

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[Off they go to review “House of Memories,” an installation on display until November:

Moeuhane Sandalwood, “Shadow of a Nightmare Past” from “House of Memories”

ChapTer Kronfeld, “Purgatory – Laeuterungsberg”  (Seven Deadly Sins)

Haveit Neox, “The Backyard” from “House of Memories”

After the reviews, Heavy is ready to carry out his plan.]

Not a very complicated solution to my economic problems, all I needed was the right timing. Quiet for a few days after Eleanor wrecked my newly-inherited classic cars, I enjoyed our art review banter. I let her think I forgave her for what she did.

Everything seemed normal when I dropped her off at the airport. Because she would be gone at a conference for a week, I had the time needed to implement my plan. And, I’ll test her observation skills!

Racing home so inspired, I took two stairs at a time up to the living room. There, I stood in front of the Albers paintings she had hung, when trying to convince me that pure abstraction has validity. I won that argument [SSJ #3], but I let her think she did.

Eleanor would discover how efficiently I could win all the battles! So with great pleasure, I chose my least favorite of the colorful Albers images. Because I paid attention, I knew who the good galleries were. Making an appointment with one dealer (don’t tell Eleanor who), I stashed the paintingin the trunk of my car and headed out.

I was amused when the art dealer met with me upstairs from the gallery. What nice digs she had! She sat on her couch, patting the empty seat beside her. But I chose to sit on the chair. Also, she didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry while we negotiated a price for the Albers.

However, she was sharp, and got it for about half the price listed on the Internet. I let it go for that because she paid in cash—and she had a great pair of legs. After mutual admiration and exchanging smiles, I ran right over to the bank. First I paid the remaining mortgage and then took care of all Uncle Wally’s debts. With the remaining money (who would guess squares could cost so much??), I planned to fix the two cars that Eleanor had smashed.

Then I had even more fun! I always told Ele that I can paint squares as good as Albers. This was my chance to prove it! I replaced the painting with my own version that I made on wood board found in the garage. I didn’t have any black paint, so instead, I used burned motor oil. It looked good, but was a bit smelly. I hoped that odor would be gone by the time Ele returned. Perhaps she won’t even notice the change.

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This series has continued from the previous issue as Eleanor and Heavy continue to make their way through the virtual cultural landscape.

Published monthly in complimentary versions: in-world and online.

(Please see the in-world release or download Sim Street Journal#4 for more photographs, articles, and functionality. Also available on MARKETPLACE).

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