When I left it on the car dealer’s lot, it felt like that scene in every boy-and-his-dog movie, where the kid puffs up his chest and chases Air Bud away while hiding tears. And in the 2030s I’ll probably plunk down a mint to buy a Corolla — and maybe a Celica too — any model from the ultra-boring utilitarian genus of sedans of my adolescence.

After wrapping up the world’s slowest lap around the neighborhood, I park Harris ?Goodkind’s Pacer in his driveway. He then pops the hood — which opens backward, assuring maximum awkwardness — to reveal an unimpressive but spit-shined engine.

He lowers his ear. “Hear that tinkle? That’s cooling metal and oil dripping back into the pan.”
He eases the hood shut, grinning widely. “You just don’t hear that stuff anymore.”