Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hotter Than a Steering Wheel In July

Share |

I hope you indulge me this one time and allow me to riff on cars and summer.

I grew up in the ‘70s in a town where if you could escape you escaped to the suburbs and bought a house with a double driveway. A double driveway means being able to park two vehicles side by side – the ultimate convenience, the prize. You never again have to jockey cars in order to make a run to the corner store.

Windsor may have been Canada’s Motor City but at our house, dad’s car was usually an import and mom’s car was the domestic, purposed for groceries and chauffeuring kids around the subdivision. I remember when she was handed the keys to a brand new AMC Hornet. It was a green two-door, and in the summer it smelled like hot plastic. I’m probably still carrying around the toxins in my body.

When I was a kid I got carsick all the time. I don’t remember actually throwing up in the car or having to hang my head out the window; I just remember the nausea. I imagine it’s something like being in your second trimester every time you step in the car. I couldn’t even look at a book, or a road map for that matter, without feeling like I was going to die a hot, sticky death.

Radio saved me. Come to think of it, it probably saved all of us. This was when a good, solid AM radio station like CKLW could anchor the car and its passengers. No matter how unbelievably dull or stomach-churning the drive was, there was always the expectation that I, we would be saved by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Wings and Elton John.

I got my driver’s license when I was 19. Late, I know. It was fun for the first little while, parking with my girlfriend and cruising Riverside Drive in the summertime, stuff like that. Now driving is just a chore, like doing the laundry or pulling weeds in the garden. Born and raised in the city, our daughter has no interest in getting her driver’s license. It’s a bit like living in the desert and buying a fishing license.

I’ll drop by Goodwill when I can no longer close the trunk. The quarter in the cup holder is for the buggy at the grocer’s. If you stick your finger there, you can get the car out of park. I don’t know what that other button is for. I guess that oil's not going to change itself.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Michael Januska

Michael Januska is an award-winning crime fiction writer whose works include numerous short stories as well as the recent novel Riverside Drive, part of the Border City Blues series set in Windsor. His first book was Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.

Go to Michael Januska’s Author Page