Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Allure of the Automobile

Today, David and I went to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see an exhibit of eighteen cars from as early as 1930 and as late as 1965.

When David told me he wanted to go, I kind of rolled my eyes.

All right, I really rolled my eyes, but I was willing to go since I knew it meant lunch in Atlanta and time in the gift shop at the museum.

The gift shop at the High Museum has great refrigerator magnets and cards.

Lame. But I know these things.

After church today, we set out today for downtown Atlanta, and we ate lunch at Einstien's, a cute little urban restaurant on the corner of Juniper and 16th.

Our waiter's name was Justin, and he was like twelve and prissier than a five-year old ballerina, but a very good waiter who knew what falafel was.

David ordered the Veranda Breakfast --- eggs, bacon, potatoes, and a sprig of parsley which he could have gotten at Cracker Barrel, minus the parsley.

I ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes Benedict.....OMG -- manna from Heaven...... goat cheese, poached eggs on fried green tomatoes, topped off with remoulade, scallions, and Parmesan grits.

So good. So good. Yum.

See, I will go see anything (except Slasher movies and NASCAR) if the man feeds me well.

The exhibition at the High is called The Allure of the Automobile.

We could have had valet parking for $15.

Or we could park at the High Museum for $12.

I mean, I know, this is an automobile exhibit -- but was I missing something here about my 1998 Volvo? $15? $12? To park it?

We parked on the street behind the High, scraped quarters from the ash tray, and spent $4.75 at a meter. It gave us an hour and a half. I would need a calculator to figure out what that was a minute, but I knew it was a better deal.


We climbed the stairs to the High Museum, and then in a very complicated and unnecessary procedure to the exhibit --- five different museum employees -- even though we had tickets we had to stand in line to get a sticker - -- David and I waited in line for the elevator.

When we got to the exhibit, even more museum employees (must be the stimulus package) told us not to do this, not to do that, and to stay behind the lines and not take pictures with a flash.

Me: David, why can't we take pictures with a flash?
David: You don't have your camera.
Me: I know. But why couldnt' I take pictures with a flash if I wanted?
David: It would, over time, discolor the paint.
Me: How do you know that?
David: I just do. Don't touch anything.

The crowd was preppy and middle-aged. Women, carrying Coach bags and wearing flip flops, and men, in khaki shorts and Polos, read the blurbs on the cars, took pictures with their cameras and cell phones, and cruised (no pun intended) by these surprisingly spectacular cars.

I was impressed. I wished I had taken my camera.

The eighteen cars, built from the 1930s to the 1960s, are rare and limited editions --luxurious, one-of-a-kind designs from car makers like Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Cadillac, Duesenberg (owned by Clark Gable), Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Packard, Porshe, and Tucker (LOL -- I could only think of that lame Jeff Bridges movie.).

The cars were just wow.


The cars were blindingly beautiful.

I really walked around in awe.

At one point, I stood in front of a 1954 (my birth year) Dodge Firearrow.---- turquoise in color, with turquoise and white leather seats, enough chrome to make Elvis jealous, and whitewall tires.

Dang, it was pretty.

As I was staring at it, and David was off looking at some kind of Ferrari, a woman next to me was taking photos.

Me: That was my birth year.
Her: Mine too.
Me: I remember cars looking like that .. but of course, we didn't own one.
Her: Us either. We drove Fords.
Me: We drove Ramblers.
Her: That makes our Fords sound good.
Me: Tell me about it.

I have to tell you -- I was surprised at myself for being fascinated by this exhibit. Shame on me for rolling my eyes.

Weirdest people I saw: A woman with a t-shirt that said, "I'm the Wicked Witch of the North; Don't Mess with My Compass."


And a young kid with yellow crime scene tape around his head like a headband.


There was something magnetic about these cars --- and after I saw them, I understand the title of the exhibit.

Americans love their cars, but the cars of this time period really seemed the golden age of the automobile. The cars we viewed were built for the privileged -- they embodied style and elegance -- and they were examples of cars that we could never own -- not then -- not now.

I can understand why those with money -- Jay Leno, Reggie Jackson, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Ralph Lauren -- might chose to put their bucks in these cars.

They must be like owning a Renoir or Shakespeare's First Folio.

Really. :-)


  1. . . .and they were built at a time when oil was cheap and plentiful. By the way, I enjoyed that lame movie about Tucker.

  2. There's a 1979 Monte Carlo in my garage. His name is Carlos. He recently got a new paint job. Maybe passengers in passing cars were taking too many flash photos.

  3. What's wrong with women with Coach bags? ;p

    I like that pretty blue one. Yup. My hubby and kid would have loved to have been there. I would have enjoyed breakfast.

  4. The family and I were there on the same day. We went late and then went our to dinner. Whenever I go to the High I think of David and his comments about the Latrec exhibit. I got admonished for having Cooper on my shoulders. Apparently it's a safety issue. I put him on my shoulders after he touched the little white rope thing for the fifth time. It was crowded, crowded, crowded. You got much more out of it than I did. However, that first car look like something straight out of Great Gatsby.

  5. Yellow crime scene tape around a kids head? Too funny. Wish I had thought about that 20 years ago!!