When we finished spraying, we let the paint dry for a few minutes before peeling back the tape, removing the newspapers, and reviewing our work. Somehow, the areas covered by newspaper still got sprinkled with overspray. It didn't matter. The stripes looked killer. The old man with the K car who looks like Mr. Roper from Three's Company (not Don Knotts, the other guy) and who is possibly the only person not in his twenties who lives in our complex, came over to compliment us after he pulled into the lot. "That looks really good," he said of my Volvo's recently finished hood.

I wasn't completely satisfied, however. The middle stripe wasn't thick enough. Greg tried to convince me to leave it how it was, but I knew I wouldn't be happy if I did. (Luckily, I made this decision before doing the roof or the back of the Volvo.) So while he drove out to buy more paint, I realigned the tape for my newer, thicker stripes. Indents from the original job remain, but I'm glad I redid it. The new stripes looked just how I had imagined they would. The first time I got into my newly decorated car, I laughed. The blue lines were almost distracting. But maybe it was just that I couldn't stop peeking at them because they looked so cool.

After Greg and I painted our cars, we both started noticing that Pittsburgh is teeming with striped cars, of both the beat and sleek variety. It's not a phenomenon I've seen at home. It could be that I just hadn't been looking around at all these striped vehicles. Or maybe it's just that a lot of people in this city with racing stripes are like the truckers that day on the turnpike: they saw my painted station wagon out on the streets and were moved to action.