Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

They don't make cars like they used to

We all have idiosyncrasies.

The Big Book of Words (most folks call it a dictionary) defines idiosyncrasy as “an individualizing characteristic or quality.”

I like lots of room inside a car, so I take out the passenger seat. Idiosyncrasy, neurosis or issue, I don’t know what it is.

I never really thought taking the passenger seat out of my car was such a big deal. I’d thought about automobile interior modifications for years.

The first car I drove was my father’s 1959 Lincoln. This thing was huge inside. The steering wheel was as big as a basketball hoop. The back-seat area was big enough to have a dancing party with about 20 friends. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it was huge.

Next was a 1965 Ford Falcon, a small car with bench seats. I missed the roominess of the Lincoln. I used to drive around thinking I could pull the front seat out, replace it with a bucket seat and put a small coffee table with sawed off legs in the resulting space. Put a little stereo on the table with a bowl of after-dinner mints, you know, for a touch of class.

It wasn’t until I moved to Clovis years later that I made the dramatic move to take out a front passenger seat. I didn’t think it was dramatic, but other folks did.

I could use the room to haul equipment for a party music business I had and I simply liked the extra room in the little car.

I always thought it would be neat to be a passenger in my car. One time my buddy Wayne and I went camping in west Texas.

“Where’s your passenger seat?”

“Ain’t it cool? You can sit back there, stretch out your legs, have a smoke.”

Wayne wasn’t too perturbed, but a Clovis acquaintance who needed a ride was. When I opened my passenger door she took a few steps backward.

“Where’s your passenger seat?”

“Ain’t it cool? Look at all the leg room you’ll have.”

“I think you’re disturbed.”

She looked at me askance, apparently weighing the need of a ride versus her uneasiness over my missing passenger seat.

It wouldn’t be until I took the passenger seat out of my newest automotive acquisition that I found out why some folks found it weird.

The serial killer Ted Bundy (executed in Florida in 1989) apparently had taken out the passenger seat of his Volkswagen for nefarious purposes.

The first person to ride in my Nissan with no passenger seat found that in addition to the weirdness of the missing seat, the passenger door wouldn’t open from the inside. I became more suspect.

One evening at a local fast-food joint, an employee almost dropped my order as she blurted out, “Dude, you don’t have a passenger seat.”

Lately my friend Lizzie has been riding in my car more and more. She doesn’t mind riding in my old rattletrap Nissan, so I put the passenger seat back in it. I have to open the passenger door for her, but that’s a nice thing to do anyway.

Now, with the passenger seat back in my car I say good-bye to an idiosyncrasy of mine.

It’s OK though. I have a whole list of others.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at:

[email protected]