Ezra Titus

1966 – 2009

DRIVING

When I had that sports car, I enjoyed driving along the
roads that meandered through the apple orchards of
Hopewell Junction, NY. It made me feel good to cruise
those rural highways, speeding a tiny bit as the fiery,
orange dawn broke across the Northeastern sky. At that
hour, hawks circled above the orchards. When I drove that
car, my vision became clearer and my reflexes improved. I
could feel every acceleration, curvature and pavement
texture. When I integrated all these sensations, the
automobile became an extension of my body. Alone on the
road just before daybreak, I’d settle into myself. I felt crisp
and strong. My thoughts were clear as I piloted my car
smoothly through curves, then smoothly accelerated across
black, asphalt flats.

My stepfather taught me to drive a standard when I
was eight years old. I’d practice all day in a green Jeep,
around a track I’d carved into the large field next to his
summer rental. When I was still younger, Levon would let
me sit in his lap and steer. I was six when one evening, he
grew so confident in my ability that he took his eyes off the
road for a minute to try and roll a joint. I oversteered,
trying to avoid an oncoming car, and ran the corvette off
the road and even as my stepfather hit the brakes, I
continued on, straight into a large stone in someone’s front
yard. Uninjured, I laughed. For me, it had been fun. So, I
wrecked my first Corvette when I was six. I listened as my
stepfather told my mother over the phone that he’d wrecked

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the Corvette. My mother wasn’t surprised until Levon
added, ” … and Ezra was driving.” Then, I could hear every
word she screamed into the phone from all the way across
the room. I smiled, as that was the moment it first dawned
on me that my mother would protect me forever, and
viciously if necessary.

While riding with me, various people have described
my driving as “confident,” “perfect,” or “strong and
graceful.” Those are just the things that my German
shepherd, Wotan was. When Wotan died of old age I was
devastated, and in his epitaph, I offered him a deal. He had
always whined when he couldn’t accompany me in the car.
So I said, “Now, your spirit can inhabit my car, and you
can go everywhere with me, like you always wanted to.”
On my way out that night, the car seemed to have its own
sense of purpose. I was guiding it, but it was running for
pleasure, it knew where it was going, and it could see
everything. Since that night, I’ve never had an accident or
gotten a speeding ticket. When I traded the old car for a
new one, I whistled, calling to Wotan, for his soul to jump
into the metal of the new car.

That, the last car I purchased, now has 296,000 miles
on it. It has never had any problem at all, because I
maintain it well. I change the oil so much it actually
annoys my mechanic, but he also admits that my car is in
the same condition it was in on the day I bought it. My car
is sleek and wide, white and spotless. It has headlights that
look like the eyes of a predator and black splashguards that
make it look like an Orca. It claws at the road like a

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panther, and accelerates like a gazelle. It’s so quiet, you can
only hear the tires, whispering down poured concrete, and
so fast that it can attack the core of your heart. It leans into
corners like a racing cat, and leaps up steep hills like a
hungry wolf. It’s 14 years old, and I could’ve gotten a new
one, but I can’t find a better one.

Automotive engineering pinnacled in my car, the
Hotsami Imperion. It was the first car ever to be built with
an engine of pure Herculaneum and tires made of synthetic
gecko’s paw. Because it was the first of its kind, Hotsami
issued a corporation wide edict, stating that no flaw
whatsoever could exist in any of the 56 cars they produced
that year. Mr. Hotsami said, “These cars must inspire the
world with unrivaled performance, peerless durability, and
an honorable spirit.” Then, he bowed to the workers. That
year, the employees of Hotsami motors labored
ceaselessly, each one feeling personally responsible that
each and every component was flawless. Whenever there
was the slightest deviation from the standards they
imposed upon themselves, they would stop the assembly
line, and correct the imperfection. Each morning, they sang
the company loyalty song, which rhymes in part, even
when translated from the original Japanese:

“Oh Hotsami
Your flaws are my flaws
your strength, mine too
I love myself, Hotsami
Far less than I love you”

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My car’s name is Wotan, the Wagnerian god of
thunder. His Gecko tires are inflated to low pressure for
greater traction, while front and rear airfoils push him
down toward the road at high speed. He never slips or
falters because he loves to run, and he is always happy. He
especially enjoys a sprint, and he brings peace to my soul.
When I begin to feel my mind sliding out of control on wet
snow, as I often do, I drive my car at dawn and I regain my
feel for the road.

“Fin”