Getting High, Cool Cars and a Beautiful Afternoon in the City

Volkswagen atop the Market Square Garage, Knoxville, November 2011

I sometimes receive tips from readers regarding events or story opportunities. I always appreciate these. Since I can’t possibly do everything, I can’t always make it to the events and sometimes, I’m afraid, I’m bad about responding to the e-mails and comments making suggestions. But I make it when I can.

Volkswagens lined up on top of the Market Square Garage, Knoxville


Two-toned beauty, Market Square Garage, Knoxville

I got one such tip recently and, for the life of me, I can’t find the comment or e-mail to thank the person who suggested I get high and see some cool automobiles. It was a Saturday and that meant my favorite football team was taking to the field to torture me, again. So, I had to wait until half time to leave the home and try to meet my connection.

You might expect the meeting point was an obscure location, out-of-sight from peering eyes, and you’d be correct. That didn’t stop the police from showing up and interrogating me. Naturally, these obstacles did not deter me from my tip. You might think getting high is easy. You might think anyone could do it. Maybe so. There are certainly easy ways to get high. As for my part, I like to take the slow route, build up slowly before all the pretty colors start to swirl in the afternoon sun.

Volkswagens with TVA Towers in the background, Knoxville


Funky little low-riding Volkswagen beauty, Market Square Garage, Knoxville

So, that’s what I did: I climbed the steps to the top of the Market Square Garage, slowly getting high, but more healthy for not taking the elevator. Like Peter Tosh used to say, getting high is good for you. Sure, I was out of breath, but then the colors began to emerge: Yellows, blues, browns, reds. I loved the reds.
It was a gathering of Volkswagens atop the Market Square Garage. All manner and shapes of Volkswagens clustered on one side of the top level. I realized immediately I’d sold this simple, dependable car far short. I thought there was the old, sixties version and the newer version. Of course, I was wrong. There were many shapes of the classic car and many of these had been modified in various ways, from large wheels, to lowered frames and mountings for surfboards. Of course, there were vans and the more sporty Karmann Ghia which I didn’t realize was a Volkswagen.

Karmann Ghia, Market Square Garage, Knoxville


Cool VW Buggy, Market Square Garage, Knoxville

And I had them all to myself. At least until the policeman showed up. It was as if there was a partial rapture including only Volkswagen owners and I’d been granted sole possession of the various automobiles. Or maybe there was a complete rapture and I was the lone remaining sinner in Knoxville, left on top of a parking garage to contemplate the ruined trajectory of my life. I climbed onto the ledge overlooking the Hotel Oliver and looked momentarily to my left to see the man in blue approaching.
I’ve never been suspected of preparing to jump from a high place, but it appeared this would be the first. Outside the presence of a decent camera I looked pretty shabby, unshaven and disheveled. Maybe even hopeless. Granted, I was high, but it was legal in this case, right? I mean, technically, so was the officer in question.

Volkswagen atop Market Square Garage, Knoxville

Flashy red Volkswagen, Knoxville

I needn’t have worried. He asked if these Volkswagens were mine. I assured him they were not. He said he’d had a complaint about some reckless driving involving the cars in question. I assured him the owners had all been raptured before I arrived. He accepted that explanation and drove down the exit ramp. I guess the takeaway for me is that if you mix getting high with automobiles you may be asking for a bit of scrutiny, if not trouble.

Volkswagens just over Market Square, Knoxville

As I walked down the steps I met a large crowd of presumptive owners of the cars, wearing Volkswagen regalia walking from Market Square. I tipped the hat and walked back home. It’s funny what you might find in the city if you keep your eyes open, though sometimes you have to pay attention to your connection and be willing to get a little high.

“I Wanna Go Surfin’,” Volkswagen a long way from the ocean, Knoxville
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