That Is HIS Car ! – Remembering Dalton

I have a place where I write down ideas to write about. It’s a temporary place, because about half the time I find out I have already written about it. The mind, it goes.

At any rate, occasionally I do have an original idea, and they get turned into posts.

I kept having this phrase pop into my head recently, something that my friend Dalton and I would say to each other in comical reference to waiting for something, and I could have sworn I wrote about it, but I searched my own site and couldn’t find anything.

This phrase was born when I worked in the factory. Dalton and I were fast friends by this point and there was a new guy on the lines that liked to try and get in on our conversations about music. Dalton and I for a while were banders at the factory, meaning when the boxes reached us at the end of the manufacturing line, we put a cover on the box, and banded them shut. This was considered a plumb spot and we were shielded from a lot of the day to day assembly line craziness. We were on lines right next to each other, and so talked, a lot, mostly about music. This talk was generally loud enough to rise above the noise of our machines and the line. At one point a new guy on the line that seemed semi-cool began joining in our conversations every so often when he worked a part near the end of the line towards us.

His music taste was more metal than mine, but I cut him some slack, tried to convert him to some of my favorite stuff, even lent him some tapes. He worked on my line and eventually we ended up talking about classic rock, sort of a common language.

I don’t recall this guys name, we’ll call him Richard, but somehow one day he overheard me talking to Dalton about reel to reel tapes. I had purchased an old stash of reel to reel tapes and junk players from a former employer that used them for catalog phone order recording. I mean they were OLD. The tapes were still good though and I was talking about recording on them. 

He made his way down to me and casually said something like “Yeah my dad has a reel to reel.”

This set us off down a road of conversation and he could see my eyes light up when I talked about reel to reels. I told him the story of how I had rescued one in my college days and had it fixed and used it and loved it like one of my own children.

A few days later, on a Friday, Richard told me that he was going to his dad’s house after work, and that he was gonna grab the box of tapes that he had. He was doing this because…

  1. His dad didn’t play them anymore
  2. He was pretty sure the player itself was broken
  3. and this was the big one…. He thought that his dad’s collection included some bootleg reel to reels. Bootleg Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and such, and he had heard me talking about bootlegs and thought I could give them a good home.

I remained outwardly calm and cool, but inside I was squealing like when the book order arrived when I was in 3rd grade. Weee!!!….

Bootleg reel to reel tapes, are you fricking kidding me?!

There are boxes of this stuff out there. Check this article.

I gave Richard my address and planned an evening with Dalton at my apartment. I was alone that weekend so we could have some beers and await Richard’s return. He was going to go home, grab the box and come back to town and drop them off. I told him I was gonna save some cold beers for him. The least I could do for the offer of a box of bootleg reels. This was going to be Richard’s invitation to our friend group. If a guy brings you a box of bootleg reel to reels, he is ipso facto, part of your friend group.

Dalton came over that night and we busied ourselves with drinking and listening to music and wondering what may be in this magical box of tapes. Of course we thought of normal albums that would be cool on their own, let alone bootlegs.

1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours… I sent Dalton out for pizza so I could be there if Richard came by. It occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten his phone number and he didn’t have mine. So I had to be here and watch for him. Somewhere at the 5 hour mark Dalton, who never believed the whole box of tapes in the first place started messing with me.

“That is HIS car!” he shouted and pointed to the intersection near my apartment that we could see from my patio window. A chill went down my spine and I watched the car as it made a left turn it needed to make and then the right and head down the street right in front of my apartment. Woo hoo!…


It went by. Never slowing down.

I turned back to look at Dalton and he was laughing quietly.

Some time later as he stood by the window he turned excitedly to me and said, “I was kidding before, but THAT is HIS car!”. At this point is was mostly dark, but I watched the car in the streetlights. Again… left, right, then right on by. Again, Dalton laughing this time doubled over.

“You know he’s not coming right?”

It seemed Dalton was right. So I took the beers set aside for Richard and drank them. The rest of the time Dalton was there we kept saying to each other “THAT is HIS car!” and laughing hysterically. As disappointed as I was, even I was laughing. The phrase became part of our vocabulary from that night onward.

What happened to Richard?

On Monday morning I went to work and Richard was there on the line as per usual. Seemingly unaware of anything being wrong or that he had blown me off completely. I approached him calmly and was like, “Dude, WTF?”

There was a long story, which included a fight between him and his father over the possession of the tapes which became epic. They fought, made up, then searched for the tapes together only to discover that they had been thrown away, stolen, or misplaced years ago. Then his dad was mad all over again. So Richard took him out to the local bar and never ended up coming back to town until Monday morning. He of course had no idea how crazily I had been waiting. “Sorry dude.”

To this day I still have dreams of stumbling onto a box of bootleg reel to reels. Sigh.

Richard never broke into our friend group. A month after the incident, he quit and moved in with his girlfriend in another town and we never saw him again.

but the phrase… “That is HIS car!” lived on.

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