By Margaret Randall
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Additional resources for First Laugh: Essays, 2000-2009
She also handles vehicle maintenance, including filling them up. Which is probably why, I tell myself, I sit beside this pump unable to remember how to open the little door implacably shielding the gas tank. Everything grows very still. I finger the knobs and dials on steering wheel and dash, try to recall what unlatched that flush Pumping Gas 15 little door on Mónica’s hip, on Hortensia or Emma. Nothing useful floats to the surface. Stay calm, I tell myself. I remember the manual in its navy plastic envelope and open the glove compartment.
I hold the larger picture in slightly trembling hands. Despite a gnawing discomfort around Volkswagen’s relationship with the Third Reich, I, like so many of my generation, drove my share of Beetles. In the mid-1960s my young family and I coaxed one across the Mohave Desert, heat stuck in the on position and all its windows gaping. Since my 1984 return to the United States, there’ve been two comfortable Jettas. Then a used Volkswagen van that hauled what Barbara and I took cross-country when I got that first year’s teaching job at Trinity in 1986.
In fact, everyone seemed to want the American Way of Life. Our educational system, Hollywood films, and a corporate press all reinforced the idea that we were the best and most fortunate. No wonder everyone wanted a piece of what we had. And how lucky we ourselves were to have been born in this land of limitless possibility! S. tourists travel abroad and their lack of language knowledge makes it hard for them to communicate, they just speak English louder. ” I will never forget October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union put the first artificial satellite into orbit.
First Laugh: Essays, 2000-2009 by Margaret Randall