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Once upon a time and for a short time period only, I owned a VW Dormobile camper van. This was pre-digital camera time, so here's a representative image, as I did not have a camera at the ready. 

It was a late 1960s/early 1970s iteration that had been lovingly owned by my roommate Billy Ryan (he had been introduced as Billy. It was only later that he corrected this misnomer. His name was actually Ryan, but by that time it was too late, so he became Billy Ryan). Billy Ryan loved VWs and this one was quite a fetch, only lightly rusty with its pop-up tent, sink, and little booth in the back for spontaneous snack breaks. He even borrowed his mom’s sewing machine to make tartan curtains for privacy, which came in handy for the lady visitors we didn't allow in the house. We had a no-stripper policy at the time, by which we really meant no strung-out strippers, because to deny the healthy girls putting themselves through college as dancers felt anti-feminist. There were rules. Regardless, the VW van became a boudoir of sorts for Billy Ryan and his guests and was appropriately named Delilah Sexpot. 

In California having a car is mission critical and in my 20s, freedom to move was my only priority. So, when my old beater finally died one day, I desperately reached out to Billy Ryan to see if he had a car I could buy off of him on the cheap. Enter Delilah Sexpot, the only extra car that was kinda functional and could be purchased on a payment plan of like $50 a month. After a thorough bleachy cleaning, we shook on it, and she was all mine to roar up the highways. And by roar, I really mean whimper. She didn't always like to start nor did she like to move out of first gear on command. I never knew if I would make it to my destination, but I loved to grab her big non-power steering wheel and attempt to shift her into submission. 

As the days and weeks wore on, I became less enthusiastic about her unreliability. The underdog in me always rooted for the both of us. I mean, we were winning on the counterculture front—on the surface we looked so alterna and free-spirited—but even the underdog needs to get to work on time. One day on my drive home to Pasadena, I smelled something smoky that was not from the Sriracha plant nor the usual lung clogging SoCal smog. “I’m sure it will pass,” I kept telling myself. Finally, the smell was too much, and I pulled to the side of the freeway only to find flames escaping from her engine in the back. I remember cursing Billy Ryan even though this was not his fault and opening up the sliding door to retrieve a pack of socks I had just purchased because my dog, Lily, had plowed through all our socks again for breakfast. It should be noted that people in their twenties who can barely feed themselves should be dissuaded from adopting animals. There should be a rule for that, too. And so I stood there, clutching my pack of socks, calmly watching the flames. A kind man stopped and asked if he could help. I shook my head, a polite declination, and continued to watch the spectacle. 

Goodbye Delilah Sexpot. 

Goodbye to all the lean times. 

Goodbye to being stuck.

Smoke billowed from the funeral pyre in front of me until I turned my back and walked away. 


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