We all face hardships in our lives. And to do so away from home, in an alien territory with little support, makes them harder to overcome. Most likely the conditions that sealed the fate of this mid-80s Buick Century wagon, found a few blocks away from my home in Central America.
Buicks were long gone from these lands by the time this Century arrived as a gray import. And its inevitable end was no different to a Lada or Skoda in central Wyoming. Say ‘Buick’ at a repair shop in San Salvador and they’ll look at you cross-eyed and feign they know how to spell it.
Talking about misspellings and errors, forgive me if I guessed this Century’s year and model wrong. As you can see, I don’t have much to go by. For all I know, this could be an Oldsmobile; though the rear lights say made-in-Flint to me.
I bet no worker back at Flint ever imagined a Century of theirs in these tropical latitudes. And to be honest, it’s an incongruous sight to my eyes. Like a sixties Skoda in modern Seattle or a Subaru 360 on the I-5, a Buick in San Salvador just sends conflicting signals to my brain. Yet, by an unlikely series of events, here it is. What’s left of it at least.
I remember all too well these clean and dull silhouettes roaming the orderly streets of California during my college years. So, squaring my memories with its current location is a bit of a task. But even if I wasn’t a lover of these back in the day, distance makes for longing. And even in its sorry state, this Century wagon reawakens my memories and softens my heart. Just a bit.
Being in an alien land can certainly be hard. I have a feeling that if questioned, this Century wagon would likely beg to return home. But such are the deceits of longing. In reality, if I go by evidence at the Cohort, this old Century would have succumbed to the foundry long ago. At least over here, it’s part of the landscape. For the time being.