Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category
The Mustang turned 50 last week. Tributes have filled the news, recounting how it changed the driving scene for the young men of the era along with fellow muscle cars, Camaro, and Charger . This called for a listen here, you don’t know what you’re talking about from me because I was there, and I’m here to tell while that may have been true for the Camaro and Charger, when it came to the Mustang, the Mustang was a girl’s car. At least it was in my neck of the woods and I have the tales to prove it.
The Infamous Egg Caper
I had two friends at college who had Mustangs, Bobbi C and Barb P. Ironic isn’t it that their names sound like Bob?
Bobbi had inherited her ’64 gray blue Mustang from her older sister.
Barb’s ’67 navy blue ‘Stang had been bought new, but from a sad source of income – the money she’d inherited from her parents. She’d been orphaned in her early teens.
Both Barb and Bobbi were recruited for our spur-of-the-moment egg caper.
We pause for a bit of history here. I went to a small Catholic women’s college next to West Point. It was believed that a good portion of Ladycliff’s students went there in hopes of marrying a cadet. This may have been true in earlier years, and there may have been true for a small portion of my class , but as far as my friends and I were concerned, all I can say is Ha!
It was 1968, and we were the first wave of baby boomers and we served as the advance guard for the full-blown protester/feminist/what-have-you that was soon to descend on the world. If you were fortunate to have come of age in the ’60s you’ll understand it when I say the ’60s didn’t really get underway until the ’70s. As for the crew and I, we regretted the day we’d enrolled at Ladycliff, but were imprisoned there by parents who knew there really wasn’t much trouble we could get into there. Speaking of trouble – back to the egg caper.
I can’t remember whose idea it was, but since I remember Ginger L being involved, I’d say she was probably the creator. Ginger was famous for her sayings which would send us into hysterics as we sat around smoking cigarettes in the student lounge that was creatively known as “The Smoker. Some of the bon mots I remember are
- “No matter where you go……..there you are.”
- “Always remember, a penny earned is …….still a penny.”
- “Beauty is only skin deep but…ugly is to the bone.”
Oh, well. They were funny at the time, and if you’re thinking it wasn’t tobacco we were smoking you’d be wrong. Remember the 60s weren’t really the 60s. Speaking of that kind of stuff, if someone happened to put a quarter in the jukebox and chose Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 as one of their three songs, we’ d form a long conga type line and march all around the lounge behind Ginger, singing the chorus. Everybody must get stoned.
Oh yes, the egg run. It was Halloween of our senior year and we were bored so we decided to go throw eggs at (who else but?) cadets. We rounded up Bobbi and Barb and their Mustangs as well as Margie H and her soon-to-be vintage ’59 Porsche 356A Speedster, inherited, like Bobbi from her older sister,
and Terry B and her ’67 red Pontiac Lemans. Terri’s dad had promised her a red convertible if she went to college and graduated. Wisely he waited until senior year to buy it for her.
I can’t recall which car I rode in but we formed a motorcade as we headed into bustling (not!) downtown Highland Falls, and after a pit stop at the IGA, where we bought out their supply of eggs, headed up to the West Point Gate.
Now remember this was way, way, way before 9-11-2001, so the guard didn’t even make us stop. He just waved us through. Perhaps he was used to seeing Ladycliff girls coming to “The Point”. Little did he know!
We had timed it so we’d get there shortly after the cadets were getting out of the mess hall. We didn’t even bother to spread out, just rode through, tossing eggs and cackling louder than hens, a la The Wicked Witch of the West. Hey, we were the Wicked Witches of West Point, ha ha ha ha ha. I swear that just popped into my head. Sorry, sometimes I just knock myself out, but back to the caper.
We rode past all the academic halls, the library, theater, on out to Trophy Point and circled back up past Michie Stadium where the football games were held, the athletic fields, even the Commandant’s House. If there was a cadet out we got him, or, in more cases than not, we missed him.
Finally we headed back out the way we came. And guess what in t hose pre-, pre-, pre-, pre-cellphone days, the guard just gave a wave and a nod as we headed out.
Dare I say had we pulled the prank today, those Mustang license plates would be on some kind of subversive , to-be-watched list. But by the time any cadets or MPs managed to get to a phone to call to order him to “stop those crazy girls, ” those crazy girls had disposed of the empty egg cartons and were back in the smoker.
If I tell you that the egg caper was one of my most vivid memories of Ladycliff, does it give you an idea of how exciting our four years were? Well life got much more exciting and I met more Mustang owners along the way. They were all female. That’s because the guys I met were all driving Camaros, Firebirds, Plymouth Road Runners, Chargers and Challengers.
As for me, I couldn’t afford $2,350 for a Mustang so I ended up buying a Volkswagen Beetle.
Next post – Episode 2 . Two VW’ers take a Mustang to Boston
I guess you could call this part two to A Familiar Sight, a post I wrote about how I’d been obsessed with a white dog who haunted my high school years, appearing only when I had no witnesses, and the current illusive Pink Cadillac who has taken his place. So I suggest if you missed it, you take a look before proceeding.
After that initial, no camera moment, with a score of Pink Cadillac 1, Virginia 0, that dang-nab Pink Cadillac continued to haunt me. One day I looked up from my desk, and there it was approaching the building.
“Look look there it is!” I may have startled my office mate but at least I had a witness. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the parking lot.
“Where’s the Pink Cadillac?” I asked the woman I’d nearly knocked over
Her answer? What Pink Cadillac?
How could she miss a Pink Cadillac? I began to think I was hallucinating. But no, I did have those two witnesses.
Okay – Pink Cadillac 2, Virginia 0
I took a day off a week or so later and when I returned, this photo was waiting for me in my email inbox.
Was he taunting me? Ol’ PC must have known I wasn’t there and took a leisurely saunter up the road. But what he didn’t know was that I had a trusty office mate armed with a smart phone
OK PC – 3 V – 0
I’d almost conceded the game when what should I see, today? And with my camera within reach –
See, I wasn’t crazy, not about this anyway. He’d turned around before entering the lot. That’s why the woman I almost knocked over had said “What Pink Cadillac?”
And so we bid adieux to a mystery.
Now if only I could find that white dog!
No, not the book, that’s Fifty Shades of G-r-e-y. I’m talking about cars. Have you noticed parking lots and streets have turned a paler shade of gray?
Last Sunday my friend, A. and I drove into Manhattan. After 15 minutes of cruising the streets I found a parking space, which is the same thing as instantly by Manhattan standards. It wasn’t the biggest of spots, but I did a reasonably good job of parallel parking – only two do-overs. Parallel parking is the only kind of parking in Manhattan unless you want go to a parking lot or garage – but readers of this blog know I gravitate toward f-r-e-e.
We attended a street festival, and when it was time to head home we walked back along the street where I’d parked the car. Our conversation went like this.
Me:“Look at that, of all the cars on the street, those guys have to lean on my car?”
A: “That’s not your car, that’s a VW.”
Me: “Oh no, I got a ticket. For what?”
A: “That’s not your car; that’s a Toyota.”
Me“ Man, almost every car on the street is gray – gray and boxy.”
A: “There’s your car.”
Me: “No, that’s not mine. That car has a red inspection sticker I have a blue one.
A: “There’s your car.”
Me. “Are you sure? I thought I parked closer to the curb. Yeah, it’s my car. What a lousy parking job”
I came home and set a challenge for myself, and a bet. I bet myself a lottery scratch-off ticket that I could do an online search of 2012 car colors and come up with fifty. Are you ready?
- Harbor gray metallic
- Radiant silver metallic
- Shimmering- air metallic
- Shimmering-silver metallic
- Titanium gray metallic
- Harbor gray metallic
- Camel pearl
- Iridescent silver blue pearl
- Desert bronze metallic
- Tungsten metallic
- Brilliant silver
- Metallic slate
- Gun metallic
- Platinum gray metallic
- Moon rock silver metallic
- Reflex silver metallic
- Sterling gray
- Ginger ale
- Ingot silver
- Light pewter
- Earth metallic
- Steel blue metallic
- Frosted glass
- Ashen gray metallic
- Gray stone metallic
- Mocha steel metallic
- Silver ice metallic
- White Diamond tri-coat
- Taupe gray metallic
- Blue granite
- Ashen gray
- Classic silver metallic
- Cosmic gray mica
- Cypress pearl
- Magnetic gray metallic
- Shoreline blue mist
- Flaxen mica
- Medium silver
- Mercury metallic
- Opaline pearl
- Verdigris mica
- Truffle mica
- Alabaster silver metallic
- Polished metal metallic
- White orchid pearl
- Cool mist metallic
- Urban titanium metallic
- Opal sage
And there you have it. I know someone is saying some of those colors don’t sound like they’re gray. But trust me, in each case, the paint chip picture looked gray. Besides when I bought my car, I chose Tungsten metallic. Do you know what I got?
That’s why I named him Mighty Mouse.
What about you? Have you succumbed to The Long Gray Line of cars? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment.
Friends have been asking that question since 1969.
My answer? Pick one
- I don’t feel like I’m driving if I’m not shifting
- It gives me better control in the snow
- It’s all I’ve ever driven
And recently, I’ve added a new one:
Car buyers today,for the most part aren’t even thinking about a standard shift car. Most have no experience with them. So when one of us rare birds walks in, the car salesman may be cringing inside but his smile is just as bright and reassuring as it would be if he were dealing with a normal person. You’re given your preference in color, accessories, trim but you never get to drive the car off the lot right away, or even the next week. That’s because once they have your signed sales order, by hook or by crook, they have to come up with a car.
My frugal ways make it a bit easier. My requirements are always the same – nothing extra – just the basics: wheels , engine, standard transmission, seats, and anything else that’s free. Computers have made the search a bit easier. A few clicks of the house and my salesperson was able to find that there were still 41 standard shift Hyundai Touring wagons in inventory – in the country. I narrowed her search somewhat – find one a gray one. It took her five days but she found a dealership in NJ that was willing to swap. The search back when I purchased Truckito took much longer – nearly a month.
And here’s the sweet part – in my case the cars always have more accessories than I ordered. But since meeting sales quota are of the utmost importance, the dealer is willing to eat the cost and I get a car loaded with bonus surprises.
Truckito had fancy wheels, a sliding back window and an upgraded stereo system,
but Mighty Mouse came loaded up with more, and fun ones at that.
Remember my woes with Sirius radio?Initially I thought all cars came with a Sirius receiver, but a co-worker of mine who just bought a fancy schmantzy Nissan 380 Z (or whatever number they’re up to) left work a few hours early the other day. Why? To go get satellite radio installed – after market. Woohoo! Mighty Mouse, you rock.
Bonus # 2
Free pinstriping. Nice touch huh? One of the salesmen told me it was a $700 plus add-on.
And how about Bonus #3?
No idea what it is. I’ll give you a hint – that’s my glove compartment.
Another hint? – see AC. No? still no idea?
Okay I’ll tell you. Mighty came with a heated/ cooled glove compartment. Now I can keep a slice of piazza warm until I get home, or a bottle of iced tea cold. Will I? Probably not – but you never can tell
And the surprises keep piling on. Not all of them pleasant.
Last week I was parking in the gym parking lot, trying to back into one of the few shady spots since I don’t use air conditioning, despite the heat and humidity of our NY summers. I managed to stall the car. The shifting pattern is my only beef with Mighty. Reverse is one of those anti-theft secrets – under first , not always easy to find the right spot and since first and third gears are very close together, it’e too easy to put it in third when you take it out of reverse.
(Ask the parking valet who had to put it in neutral and push it out of its space at a restaurant last month.)
But that’s his story, back to mine.
I stalled, started , stalled , started and finally decided to just chuck it all go forward into a sunny space. Satisfactorily situated, I took the key out of the ignition, gathered up my stuff and opened the door – starting off a staccato honking of the horn and syncopated flashing of amber lights.
What the heck, I thought, it’s as if I had an alarm.
I shut the door to fig, trying figure out what to do; maybe if I started it up and moved it. But it wouldn’t – start up, that is. And the brakes, they felt like they were frozen stiff. The car was dying before my very eyes – either that or having a temper tantrum. Finally all the hub bub stopped cold. I opened the door and oh, no, it started all over again.
A good Samaritan tapped on the window and asked “Do you need help?”
Does a tiger have stripes?
A leopard, spots?
He asked for my keyless entry, which I handed over promptly. So what if he was a car thief – or a kidnapper, if he could shut the car up, he was my hero.
He instructed me to put the car in neutral than pushed a few buttons and ah, isn’t silence golden?
this sticker is for real!
PS Sirius and I are still an item. As of today we’re on day 100 of our 90 day trial marriage, er, subscription.
Did they forget about me? Sh-sh-sh.
No, you haven’t missed it. None of the auto dealers have come up with a model called Avatar. But now that I think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
There are two definitions for avatar:
The classic one: n.The incarnation of a Hindu deity, especially Vishnu, in human or animal form.
And the Gamer one:
n. a personalized graphic file or rendering that represents a computer user.
A gamer chooses an avatar of this type when she enters the kill-or-be-killed world of Xbox or Play Station. Other gamers recognize her by this guise and she in turn recognizes them by the avatar they have fashioned.
Now where was I going with this ? Oh yes – Kevin.
Back in April, the doors in The House of Mars needed some spring tweaking. The shed door wouldn’t close all the way; the door under my sink would close all the way, but wouldn’t stay shut; and the basement door needed some winter strips replaced. I made an appointment with Kevin the Carpenter to come take a look.
Kevin is one of the few people I know who is fearless in the face of The Driveway from Hell. Most people park on the road and walk up.
Not Kevin. He has no qualms about tackling the ascent, not only that, but he takes it on, backwards. It’s a spectacle to behold, one that engages all your senses; the whirlwind of scraping gravel, the cloud of burning rubber, the squealing tires. No it’s not a speedy ascent, but eventually the hefty pick-up claws its way to the top, the ever-present extended ladder strapped to its side, holding on for dear life. But when a Subaru Outback appeared at the top of the driveway, front first, I went outside to investigate. The door opened and it was Kevin, after all
“I was expecting your truck,” I told him.
“Yeah, nobody knows me without my truck,” he answered.
I didn’t know but I’d soon be echoing his words.
When I first traded in Truckito for my present car, I lost my identity, my avatar. I drove through the neighborhood giving my usual wave to neighbors in their yards but no one waved back. I was no longer the white pick-up truck.
Once the weather got warmer and I was able to roll down my window, there was a delayed reaction before anyone returned my greeting. To a person, they all exclaimed “Oh, I didn’t recognize you without your truck.” Little by little I am taking on a new avatar, a little grey station wagon.
Similar to gamers, some people choose a type of avatar, er car, that represents a certain style or image they have of themselves. Take my brother, Jim. It is my belief that Jim heard a car honking while in utero and fell madly in love. Jim grew up living for the day when he would get his first car. It was a hand-me-down from my dad, but he saved his money and by the time he graduated from college he made a down payment on a
In 1978 the Charger was giving up the ghost. Jim was married by now so he took on what was in his eyes a more mature avatar
They lived happily ever after until 1986, he and the Camaro that is. Jim had been divorced for about five years by then. Being a divorced father meant that when the Camaro came to the end of its road, he had to make a more economic choice
If I had a dollar for every time he called it an econo-box and two dollars for every time he complained that “This car just isn’t me”, I still wouldn’t be rich, but I’m sure you get my point. Jim was not satisfied with this avatar.
Not every driver sees her car as her particular avatar, but all of us have preconceived notions when we see a certain type of car. C’mon yes you do.
Who do you expect to be driving this?
The man I used to be married developed an algorithm all his own for determining who he least wanted to be driving behind in a no passing situation. I guess you could say it was a detailed avatar.
A Buick – be concerned.
A Buick with an old man behind the wheel – be very concerned
A Buick with an old man behind the wheel, wearing a brimmed hat – sigh and grit your teeth
A Buick with an old man behind the wheel, wearing a brimmed hat, with a cigar in his mouth – take the next right and figure out an alternate route.
So, what do you drive, and why? Comments are always welcome. And you can be anonymous, your avatar will never tell.
A problem popped up the moment I drove my new car off the lot. But it’s only temporary. Come August it will vanish into thin air. How can I be so certain? Because that’s when my 90-day free trial subscription to satellite radio will expire.
Having three free months of free satellite radio is a heavy load to bear. So many stations, so little time. Did I mention it’s free?
Free Day One
On the Lot
I listen politely as my sales person goes over the small details she thinks are important – the location of the gas tank lock release, how to fold down the back seats, or since this is my first key-less entry car, which buttons to push on the little magic twanger. But within this polite shell, an impatient toe-tapping control freak grips the steering wheel biding my time until I can drive off the lot and set my stations.
On the Way to Work
All six FM stations set and I haven’t even reached the entrance ramp to the parkway. An all-time record. Thank goodness for red lights. But this is only a dry run. I have Sirius research to do.
I unfold the map-like Sirius XM brochure and lay it out on my desk. 170 channels. Be still, my heart. 90 days? Uh-oh. Can I get my money’s worth? (so to speak)? Let’s see
Live Sports? every MLB game, Is Detroit included? I would like to hear Tigers’ games. But then, no, I’m not going to be in the car for every game and certainly not for the whole two hour stretch. It’s not worthy of a pre-set. I can listen as needed. And if I don’t need baseball, I certainly don’t need every NHL, NFL,NBA or college sports game.
Exclusive Entertainment ? Hmm what’s this?
- Howard Stern? He gave me enough boiling-over blood pressure when he was on AM. No thanks
- Oprah? I’m probably the only person who never even saw one Oprah!, so if I never saw her, why should I listen. No thanks
- Martha Stewart? Hmm, I like Martha. She knows the names of the most esoteric cooking utensils you never knew existed, let alone thought you needed. If Martha’s going to show me how to use little thingy to get the meat out of the walnut after I crack it open, I should be seeing, not listening. No thanks
With Live Sports and Exclusive Entertainment off my list I’m breathing a bit easier. Let’s see.
World-class News plus Local Traffic and Weather.
- Nope, I like my news served on paper.
- I like seeing those weather maps and graphics even if the meteorologist is standing in front of them.
- And as for traffic. By the time a traffic snafu makes its way onto the radio I’m either already in the middle of it, or it’s all cleared up.
Laugh-0ut- Loud Comedy. No, my singing out loud is enough to make people laugh
Commercial Free Music– Now that’s what I’m talking about. I fold back the rejected panels and flatten out the remaining sections on my desk. I don’t like classical or country; Pass on dance/electronic. Christian? Foreign language? No and No. That leaves Rock, Pop, and Jazz. I fold back, and out of sight, the pop and jazz sections. I don’t need any distractions
The Grateful Dead Channel? Pearl Jam Radio? E street Radio? Channel Margaritaville? I love Bruce and Jimmy, and enjoy the Dead and the Jams but that’s like listening to albums. I like the element of surprise while I drive.
Oops my lunch hour is almost over. I grab the guide and run outside to the parking lot. Let’s see I guess I have to push this selector marked XM. Okay, now for the stations.
Classic Vinyl, 60’s and 70’s Rock? Okay – button 1
Boneyard, Classic Hard Rock? Umm hmm! – button 2
Hair Nation, 80’s Hair Bands? Alllll Riiiiight!!!!! – button 3
Liquid Metal , Heavy Metal XL. What’s XL? I’ll try it – button 4
Soul Town, Classic Soul/Motown – that’s a good change of pace – button 5
The Joint, Reggae – Ya Mon! – button 6
I can hardly wait for the ride home!
Free Day Five (Saturday – errand day)
I’m not sure if I’m making the most out of this free trial. I think it’s time to try new stations. As long as I’m here in Kohl’s parking lot, let me get out that brochure
60’s on 6.
Oh, isn’t that cute, the peace symbol in the middle of the 0. 60’s pop hits with Cousin Brucie. Didn’t he die? Well, let’s give it a try.
‘70’s on 7.
You know, the 60’s were fun , but the 70’s, those were my glory days.
Wow look 80’s on 8.
My years in San Jose.
90’s on 9.
I like the soul and reggae. I’ll keep them.Next stop Walmart.
Free Days Six – Thirteen
I love my commute. Choose a decade and almost every song is a trip back in time.
I Got you, Babe
I’m in my freshman dorm. My room-mate, Regina and I are figuring out when it’s Sonny singing and when it’s Cher
Just the Way You are
The first dance at my wedding and the band leader is channeling Billy Joel
Start Me Up
Oh my God, Mick Jagger, right there on the field below us. We left the house at six to get up here to Candlestick Park. But snagging these seats make it all worthwhile.
Tears in Heaven
The dreaded call at 2:20 AM. My brother has surrendered to his cancer. As I fly home to NY, I look down through the billowing mounds of white blanketing the Rockies. Jim feels close by. Can heaven really be up in the clouds? Synchronicity strikes via my Walkman and I hear Eric Clapton in my ear. He’s wondering too.
Free Day 15.
“La-dee da dee da ..When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer, ” Oops here’s my exit.
This is the only Madonna song I like. Reminds me of my MTV midlife crisis. What a video…… and then there was the Super Bowl half time show this year ……when that big guy in the flowing cape rose up through the stage! At first I thought it was that Vogue editor guy – Andre something something. But then I realized it was the guy from The Voice – Cee Jay? No, Cee Lo something………
………..Look at that police car! He’s right on my tail………… Now he has his lights going and the siren whoop whooping. Me?
“Yes officer? ”
“You know you went through that Stop sign back at the corner, Ma’am. Do you have a reason for that?”
I do have reason, a Sirius one but I don’t think divulging it would further my case.
I said Adios to my beloved Truckito, today. For ten years I never had to worry about getting anything home – lawn mowers, power washers, furniture, peat moss, he could handle it. He faced wintry weather with sure-footed confidence. No matter how much snow awaited on the driveway from hell, his sturdy four wheels cut through it like a knife through butter. But he’d developed very expensive ills and no matter how much my heart tried to finagle my head, I just couldn’t see spending $4,000 on repairs.
I find comfort in imagining his soul going on to that great driveway in the sky where he’ll be initiated into the Fraternal Order of Beloved Cars Virginia Used to Drive. And since it is my fantasy, I’ll go with him to make the introductions.
Truckito, 2002 Nissan Frontier
Years of Service” – December 30, 2002 – May 1, 2012
FOOBCVUTD is very exclusive. It has but three members. Ziegfried is the grand poobah. After graduation, my dad gave me the $330 left over from the money he’d saved for my college education. I promptly handed it over to Avoxe Volkswagen of the Bronx as a down-payment.
Ziegfried, 1969 Volkswagen Bug
Years of service: September 1968 – May 1977.
Zig: “Hello Truckito, I taught V all she knows about driving”
That’s not true. I’d been driving my dad’s cars since I was seventeen.
Zig: “Automatic, not stick.”
I took a lesson before I picked you up.
Z: “One lesson and it didn’t include driving on hills. Truckito, the only way home was up E.236th Street. Ever been to San Francisco? Seen those hills? That’s what E.236 Street is like.
“When we got to the first light, just my luck, it turned red, and when it turned green, she was so slow getting her foot to my gas pedal I had to roll back. Then she stomped on my brake and when she tried to go forward again, I had to stall. Of course I rolled back some more. Well, to make a long ugly story short but not pretty, she soon had a whole line of cars rolling back behind me. “
That was one day. We went on to have good times; summers at the Jersey Shore, Skiing in Vermont. We even mastered driving in the snow.
Zig: “Mastered!? Mastered?! Define mastered. How many times did you crash me in Vermont?”
I had two accidents.
Zig:” And which one caused me to develop tremors in my left wheel? Tremors you ignored until my wheel fell off?”
That was the first one. The second one wasn’t in Vermont, it was in upstate NY. And it only did a bit of cosmetic damage.
Zig: “Speaking of cosmetics, all my friends had flower decals and peace signs, you had to cover me with snowflakes.”
Ah, the days of flower power. Everyone had flowers. Snowflakes were different. And you did have a peace symbol – in the back window.
Zig: Now that I look back, those days were fun. But after you moved into your own apartment , all your money went for rent. I only went to work and to the city on Friday nights. Bo-r-r-ring
That speeding caper you pulled on the Throg’s Neck Bridge, was that to relieve your boredom?
Zig: “What speeding caper?”
I was coming back from Queens and the next thing I knew you were going 80 miles an hour. Luckily it was a Sunday night with light traffic. I almost had to stand up on the brake to stop at the toll booth. And then you shot out of there like a cannonball. I pulled off at the first exit and called AAA . But of course when they got there, you purred like a kitten.
Truckito, I never quite trusted Ziggy after that. And when he refused to start anytime I parked him on a hill, I took him to my mechanic. Pat found gas in his oil, oil in his gas, and no compression. He shut Zig down to two cylinders and wouldn’t take any money for his time, as long as I promised never bring him back.
And now I’d like you to meet
Screaming Yellow Zonker, 1977 Datsun B210 Hatchback
Years of Service, May 1977 – October, 1989
Zonk: “ Hi Truckito, I didn’t have any problems with her driving skills but she tended to abandon me from time to time.”
I never abandoned you.
Zonk: “You left me out to be stolen on Bronx River Rd
I’d been parking Ziggy out there and never had a problem.
Zonk: “Ziggy wasn’t my sunny shade of yellow.”
I still get mad when I think of that night, Truckito. The police were there, hiding in the bushes, waiting for thieves to come along and this was their lucky night. They watched the two guys pry the passenger side lock out of the door, leaving a jagged hole in three-week old Zonker. Then they waited until they’d popped the ignition out of the steering column. They didn’t swoop in until the car moved because if they’d stopped them after punching the hole they’d only have a breaking and entering case but when they moved the car, they had a genuine auto theft collar. One of the cops had to teach me to hotwire the car so I could get it to a body shop.
Zonk: “I guess you wanted to make it up to me because after that you got me my very own parking space behind the building
Yeah, that added $15 a month to my rent.
“But then the following winter you abandoned me ….in Queens…in a blizzard.”
Why do I feel like I’m on trial here? Okay, no contest. I plead youth and romanticism.
Zonk, “No, plead stupidity. Truckito, she let some guy she was dating, talk her into driving to his place in Queens, this on a day every weather man in the Tri-State area was ecstatic about the coming blizzard of the decade.”
I admitted it was a dumb move. The whole city was paralyzed. I waited a day but Queens being Queens, I figured it would days before the street was plowed. I had work and the cats were home in Yonkers so I took a gazillion subways home , and the following weekend I took a gazillion subways back to get you.
Zonk: “Then you abandoned me again, the very next week.
Was it my fault the super plowed the parking lot, and piled all the snow in your space while you were in Queens
Well maybe, but where else was I to park you when I couldn’t find a spot on the street? It was a Friday night and very late. The supermarket lot was my only choice.
Zonker, “Didn’t you see the sign “Cars left overnight will be towed” ?
I thought it was just a warning. But don’t forget, I paid a lot to get you back – The ticket, the towing fee, the storage charge, the cab fare to the impound lot!
Zonker: “Then I got towed again. But that was OK that time was fun.”
Truckito, When I got married and moved to California, my husband’s company paid to have Zonker shipped on a transport truck.
Zonk: “When I got there, I was her guinea pig.”
I’d have thought you’d have been grateful to get tender loving care.
You see, Truckito, my husband was talented at restoring cars and rebuilding engines. So I learned to change oil, lube, flush radiators, rotate tires. But I couldn’t fix everything.
Zonk: “No, she abandoned me when I had a nervous breakdown.”
Why do you keep saying I abandoned you. We were together for 12 years and five months. And you started it, revving your engine to frightening proportions when I stopped at lights.
Zonk. “I only did it a few times.”
But not for the mechanic or my husband.
Then there was your windshield wiper stunt. I had to drive all the way home from work, across San Jose in a downpour, trying to make out the road through cascading sheets of rain because your windshield wipers wouldn’t work
Zonk – But you did good, we got home safe
I did good! Was that why you started flashing your lights when we finally reached our street. Not the flashers, the head lights! And when I pulled into the driveway and you started honking your horn on and off, on and off. Were you clapping for me?
Zonk, “I never did it again.”
No, Truckito he didn’t but I couldn’t trust him anymore.”
Next we have
My Red Car, 1990 Nissan 240SX
Years of service October 1989 – August 2004,
This car was too beautiful and sophisticated to have a nick name. I had just gotten divorced and his sun-roof, and sleek lines were just what a Bay Area single needed. We had five fantastic care-free years until family matters called me home. I drove my red car home to look for an apartment for me and Fremont. (Regular readers of this blog have already met My Red Car in a previous post.
Red car: ”Unlike my lodge brothers I have nothing ill to say of Virginia, or her driving. ”
See, Truckito , I told you My Red Car had class.
My Red Car: “Our life together did have a rough start, though. Ha-ha. No pun intended.”
Oh my! I’d forgotten that. I picked you up from the dealer on a Saturday, October 1, and on Tuesday, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. All I could think as the house rattled and creaked was oh no, my three-day old car is outside. But luckily, no damage.
My Red Car: “I wasn’t quite so lucky at the end of my life, though.”
Grr! Nearly fifteen years of trouble-free loyalty and you got rear-ended – in a parking lot- by an old lady. And although I could have lived with your caved- in bumper and slightly dented trunk, the insurance adjuster couldn’t see past your age and the 176,000 miles on your odometer. His verdict? Totaled. I was going to protest it but he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, $4,000. I was greedy, I’m sorry.
Zonk: “That’s even worse than abandonment! She sold you down the river!”
Zig: “And you hadn’t done anything.”
My Red Car:“Yes, it was sad. But this isn’t about the three of us, Z & Z it’s about welcoming my old friend, Truckito. “
You and Truckito were driveway mates! That totally slipped my mind.
Ziggy: “They were?”
Zonker. “Red, how come you never told us?”
My Red Car: “I was a rear wheel drive sports car, not the best car for NY snowstorms And although I survived two blizzards, there came that evening rush- hour I negotiated that long sloping curve on the Taconic Parkway at a forty-five degree angle .
In perfect control, Ziggy! ……Go on, My Red Car, sorry for interrupting.
My Red Car: ” It was time for me to semi-retire. Truckito was my relief and for the next two add a half years, we shared driving and hung out at the top of the driveway from hell.”
It’s time for me to go, Truckito. I feel a bit better knowing you have a friend.
Ziggy: “She probably has a date with a new car!”
Ziggy! You too, Zonker, be nice to Truckito. Unlike some members of FOOBCVUTD he never gave me an ounce of trouble.”