Monday, July 17, 2023

Service With A Smile And The Truth of Uncertainty

 July 17, 2023

   Back on old Route 66 for another cruise. Thanks to Mike Ward's fabulous collection of original postcards, let's take a cruise down memory lane.

   The Bell Motel (also styled as Bell's Motel, and later, The Bel-Air Motel) on Route 66 on Hilltop, east of Kingman and catty corner and across the street from Al Bell's Flying A. Many have assumed this was owned by my family but it was actually owned by the Richardsons and I went to school with their kids, Salty, Punchy, Karen and Shirley.

   Speaking of service stations, I tell young people this and they really don't believe me. Back in my day "Service with a smile" meant crisp uniforms with caps and bow ties (yes, bow ties!) with the service station attendant's name embroidered over his heart, and at least four guys, dressed like this attacked every car that came in the driveway.

Full Service, Boy Howdy!

The first one started the gas flowing, the second one washed all the windshields, the third one checked the air in all the tires—including the spare in the trunk—and the fourth guy went under the hood and cut all the fan-belts. Like I said, it was FULL service and you never forgot getting gas in Kingman, Arizona.

Don't Forget Winona!

 I read with interest of the passing of Milan Kundera, 94, the Czech author who "Gave comical flair to despair." Isn't that rich?

   He admitted that the names of his books could easily be swapped around. "Every one of my novels could be entitled 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' or 'The Joke' or 'Laughable Loves,' They reflect the small number of themes that obsess me, define me and, unfortunately, restrict me, Beyond these themes, I have nothing to say or to write." That is so damn honest and authentic.

  Put another way, he was obsessed with "The Truth of Uncertainty." In his book, "Insignificance," he wrote, "We've known for a long time that it was no longer possible to overturn this world, nor reshape it, nor head off its dangerous headlong rush. There's been only one possible resistance: to not take it seriously." That, my friend, is a mantra to embrace, at least on paper.

   One more gem:

"In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine." [and I might add, cut fan-belts]
—Milan Kundera, Czech author of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

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