Friday, August 3, 2007


I am not a fan of cars.

I've said before in my playground here, that cars are the bane of my existence. My parents used them as a private battleground, and at least a third of my beatings occurred in cars. Of course, most children of my generation were slapped in cars, it's what you did as a parent.

When I became a parent, I drove vans. The ex had a SAAB 900 turbo, and a cool Buick with nice upholstery and something else I've managed to forget. Granted, he drove 100 miles round trip to work, but, hey! I drove 65 and handled all the kids. Thus, the van.

Not your cute mom van you see today, with the Eddie Bauer stuff on, I had a bigass van. A Dodge Ram Van. A Dodge Ram Van 250.

With air. Or I wouldn't have driven it. He went for the engine to pull the boat (that's another story) and all the seats and blah blah blah.

That sucker could have had a Coke bottle for a stick shift as long as it had air conditioning. Oh, and a decent sound system.

My rules were simple in the van. Whomever was in the passenger seat was 'Mother'. 'Mother' passed out the drinks, listened intently to the questions, tattled without reprimands.. I didn't approve of tattling unless there was blood or broken bones involved or if you were 'Mother' in the van...and 'Mother' served the driver food or drink, the driver being; me.

The other rule was, the driver set the music.

Therefore, my children grew up knowing all the lyrics to Paul Simon, John Prine (ask them to sing Big Fat Love), and whomever else I was addicted to at the time. They still listen to quite a bit of the same stuff, and will spontaneously break into a chorus of Homeless on occasion.

Yes, we were great fun.

I also made them wear the same colour when we went to Disneyland so I could find them in the crowd. After all, I don't remember their faces.. I needed something to help me in this parental duty.

I downsized to a Ford Aerostar, with leather seats, later on. In between was an Altima, but, it wasn't my choice of car. Later, the Jarhead bought it from me, TheInvestment bought it from him, and currently, it's being sold.

The Aerostar was great...served it's purpose, still, it was a van.

My dad always told me when he died, to use his itty bitty insurance policy to buy something fun.

I did.

I bought my little car on eBay. I did the research first, it wasn't a completely blind buy, although I did bid on the first one drunk on tequila. I, the kids wanted me to have something that would let me walk away after I hit a tree.

My other problem with cars is... I tend to have horrific car accidents while riding in them. So far, I've had five, resulting in a fused neck and the removal of part of my ribs. Three cars were declared totaled... and one of them only had 50 miles on it.. so, you know it was in bad shape.

None of these have ever been my fault, I'm just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Therefore, a heavy car. One with lots of airbags and German engineers and road tests and stuff.

I ended up buying this little number, that was christened 'Norma' by Mr. Nebes.

For Norma Desmond. It's his nickname for me, too.

He's so amusing at times.

I never thought I'd like a car. The only other cars I've owned outright were also sports cars... a little vintage Karmin Ghia, that was modified with a Porsche engine. It was totaled when I was making a left hand turn, and the woman behind me, in a big ol' Dodge, decided not to wait, and tried to pass me doing 70MPH.

I flipped in the air, came down, rolled twice and ended upside down in a drainage ditch. No seatbelt was worn.

I walked away without a scratch.... the driver's door was pushed up against the steering wheel. Good times.

My next car was a vintage MG. Yum. I drove this until it came time to have it tuned and have the wheels tuned... those wonderful wire wheels.

It was cheaper to get a new car.

So, I traded it in on the first production year of the RX7. After four speeding tickets in two years, and getting married, I sold it and bought a van.

Norma and I are happy together. I drive her at a decent speed though town. We've gone to California twice now... we zip along, doing 90, keeping up with traffic. Here in my town, she's the only one of her kind, and stands out. In LA, she stands out because she's the only dirty Benz.

I never push her to show off, we're not flashy, Norma and I. Except once... some kid cut me off in his... Honda. He cut in front of me, causing me to slam on my breaks.. and he flipped me off. I didn't have time to avert my eyes.. it COUNTED. To add to this insult, I had to drop back to one lane, added to my travel time, and I hate that. I really, really hate adding to my travel time in a car.

I could see him ahead of me on the highway, when it opened up again. It was a long sloping road... you could see a good mile ahead.

I plotted my strategy with the skills of a chess player... move around the SUV, up behind the blue Toyota, zip behind the black Kia... I could take him.


I moved the terrier to her seat, and set off.

When you drive a Benz, you don't feel the acceleration... the car just...goes. Norma sensed my irritation, she moved and zipped and never lost her feel for the road, as I passed cars doing 95MPH.

Finally, I pulled alongside the kid who cut me off, and let off the accelerator. I paced him, motioning for him to roll down his window. His friend did, and I said, "DUMBASS, IT'S A BENZ!!!"

And blew him away when I punched it.

Boy, am I stupid or what?

Still, for a moment... it was... fun. Until I realised I was going 110, and freaked out.

Now that I'm back here, I'm adjusting to a driving society again... get up, get dressed, go to the car. I'm in a barn apartment, 2 miles from town. I have no choice. It took me a bit to get used to driving again, the feel of the car on the road, remembering to check my mirrors... and that the little streets are called 'sidewalks'.

I have one more if/maybe trip... then, Norma is being sold. I'll miss her, but, not enough to keep her. Someone should enjoy her, putting her top down into the trunk is a hoot, and you can actually talk while driving and hear the other person.

It's a great car, I'm leggy, so, I fit in it perfectly TheInvestment had to sit in it with his head bent over, and a friend of mine who is a big man, the roof came to his hips when he stood next to it, asked, "How many models do they make, anyway?" I think 147.

Norma was one of them...

On an aside, found my MOB dress. It's green.ish. Yeah. Well. That's done.


golfwidow said...

I'm rawtha sorry I won't be inheriting her. So, I imagine, is everyone else to whom you bequeathed her.

R said...

(1) I heard the story of honda v. benz in PERSON - and your mannerisms were great . i'm lucky.

(2) "you're a great driver, but a better target." - that's what i say, a few years shy of a knee replacement and part of the other knee removed.

(3) I wish I could afford your Benz. Alas, I'll stick with my sedan that can hold a full-grown adult in the trunk, and not its roof, but which has been good to me for the past three years.

Quin said...

gw~shit, i forgot you were one of them. um, sure, sure, you'll get it

r~you don't want it, the next tuneup is $700. and the trunk holds ONE suitcase. small. tiny.

modelbehavior said...

aaaaw I love the pic - Norma looks super cute and white!!!

Quin said...

mb~she's yours... send me your bid!