Monday, March 25, 2013

Big Wheels Keep Turnin'

“Why is it that all cars are women?" he asked.

"Because they're fussy and demanding," answered Zee.

                                             ― Patricia Briggs, Silver Borne

(Note: My very good friend, John, is going to be driven NUTS by the above quote...not by the CONTENT of the quote but by the author.  He's been asking me to read Briggs for MONTHS now and I just keep...NOT reading Briggs.  :) Now, on to other things...)  

I don't have incredible luck with cars.  They break down.  They need this weird thing called "regular maintenance" that completely befuddles me.  I think you should just be able to gas 'em up and put your pedal to the floor and GO.

My car decided to cry all over my garage floor this weekend (probably due to my continued scornful neglect) and I ended up taking it to my ex-boyfriend because he just happens to be the general manager of the place where I get my car fixed.  (Yeah, my car does this EVERY SINGLE TIME I go Psycho. I swear the two of them are in cahoots.)  Actually, he forced me to take it there because he likes to make sure that I'm safe and the boys are safe and Sparky (my labradoodle) is safe.  (He's a ridiculously nice guy.)

Cars and I...well, we have a long history.

This is the example car...a WHITE '73 Catalina
The first car I ever drove was a 1973 Pontiac Catalina, owned by my grandfatherIt was a mammoth of a vehicle, long and red and floaty with a big block engine and back seats that stretched out for miles.  You could easily fit 15 skinny teenagers in that car if you were so inclined.

Keep in mind that I didn't turn 16 until 1987 and wouldn't even consider driving until two years later when, at 18, my mother basically forced me to get my driver's license.  Unlike most other teenagers, I recognized the imminent threat of death behind the wheel.  I knew that I was a dangerous beast with 2,000+ pounds of metal under my (tentative) control.  And I was a terrible, terrible driver.  My driver's ed teacher NEVER EVEN LET ME ONTO THE HIGHWAY.  And it's not like I lived in a thriving metropolis.  I lived in Granite Falls, NC, which consisted of a couple of stoplights and a few convenience stores. (There might have been a dry cleaner there, too.  Oh, and there was a Hardee's.)  So, there really wasn't any real TRAFFIC to speak of...the man was just afraid for his life.  Truth.

So, anyway, picture THAT car on the road with all of the cute little 1980's Toyotas and Hondas out on the road.  I think the car took up a lane and THEN some and this was BEFORE I became a distracted driver.  I learned to drive in that car and then JT gave it to me to drive the summer after my freshman year in college during my ill-fated, short-lived stint as a door-to-door census taker.  I was ON MY WAY to the FIRST house on my list and stopped at a gas station to consult my map.  (This WAS Caldwell County and there are some houses that are out in the middle of NOWHERE.)

So, feeling fresh and froggy and ready to begin my Great Census Taking Adventure (armed with knowledge about how to fend off dogs and how to get into the door to snoop around but no real mention of how to avoid creepy people) and....the Pontiac wouldn't start.  Nothin'.  Hmm.  Tried it again. Nothin'.  I started to panic a little bit because my stepdad wasn't exactly a prince and I KNEW he was going to be PISSED that I had broken down.

Well, nothing to be done about it now.  I placed the call.  Sure enough, he was livid.  (Because, naturally, it was MY FAULT the car had broken down.)  They came to get me and had my great uncle Ralph tow it back to the house...

...where it sat for the next THREE YEARS.

Fast forward through most of college.  I had a job as a waitress and needed a way to get around.  I was a little glum because there was NO WAY I was going to be able to afford a car AND pay for college AND rent AND food.  I casually mentioned the car to my boyfriend (who eventually became my husband), sadly shaking my head because, while I had loved the car, it was dead.

"No problem," he said.  "I'll fix it."

Needless to say, I was doubtful.  That car had been sitting for YEARS. But I was all dewy-eyed and believed he could do ANYTHING.

We got his tools and rode to the big GF and, true to his word, he had it running that VERY DAY.  I was a little disgusted with the stepdad who obviously could have TRIED to fix the thing at SOME point over the last few years since a 20-something college kid could get it running in the space of about two hours.

So, the Catalina and I rode off into the sunset....happily ever after.  Until it got towed out of the ghetto apartment my friend John and I shared (yep, same Patricia-Briggs-John from above).

That was the beginning of my car troubles. That's where it all started.

And, now, I sit and wait for the tally of my fears to come true.  The Ex-Boyfriend rattled off a whole long list of things (gleefully, I think) that he was having done to it.  He delivered it this afternoon (because he's far too good to me) but said he "hadn't had time" to run the bill yet. And he'll be sweet and the price will be ridiculously low (for all that was done to it...but probably still high enough to make me want to cry) and then I'll end up telling my inner Psycho to get lost and then we'll be On Again and ride off into the sunset...

Big wheels keep on turnin'.... 


  1. I can't believe nobody post how AMAZING it is that your boyfriend was able to fix a car that had been sitting for three years THE SAME DAY!!! What is wrong with this world?

    1. Yeah, it was pretty unbelievable. It was like MAGIC, honestly. I was all wide-eyed and impressed.