Driving Miss Doxie
It occurs to me that I have never written about my car, my POOR, POOR, long-suffering car that I have abused and driven irrationally and unsafely since I was FIFTEEN, that keeps on chugging away even though I say mean things to it, except when it decides to die spectacularly on the side of the highway that one time. I have never written about that car.
And I should, poor car. Let me tell you a little bit about said vehicle, whose name (y'all, I know. But we name everything in our family. We have a truck named Robert Redford, and I will leave it up to you to guess the make and the color) is Beeper, after an imaginary friend I had when I was four and was, apparently, demented. So, I got Beeper as a Christmas present when I was fifteen, so I could learn to drive on Beeper prior to my 16th birthday in March. And I loved Beeper. And I washed him, and I petted him, and I told him nice things about his interior lights and little bitsy headlight wipers (SO CUTE!) and I adored him like my child.
But then the years passed, and now Beeper is not so...healthy. And it's my fault, really, because...uh.
Here's the thing.
Know how you can be really smart about some things, but really, phenominally stupid about others? And know how there are just some areas that you Have Not Mastered, that really, you don't know too much about and are just kind of going by the seat of your pants and hoping like hell that NOBODY ASKS YOU ANYTHING, because you will almost certainly get caught in your zone of idiocy?
Well, I think I'm a reasonably intelligent person. Generally I know what's up with politics and the world and what damn thing Gwyneth wore to the Oscars this time. And I went to law school, and now I practice law, and I manage my household and do other things that imply A MODICUM of common sense.
But! I have absolutely no grasp of several things. None. I cannot learn them. I do not understand them. A sampling of these things include:
(1) Units of measurement (ounces? Who?);
(2) Geography (I think "Delaware" is maybe somewhere next to "Europe"); and
(3) What an OIL CHANGE IS. HI. THIS LAST ONE IS A PROBLEM.
Yeah, I didn't know. I thought it was the same thing as having oil put in your car. Which...no.
Now, before some of you send me emails and comments telling me what an idiot I am: Y'ALL. I KNOW. I'm a complete and total moron. I WILL CONCEDE THIS POINT. I will also concede that I am a complete and total moron who paid about $3000 two months ago when my LACK OF OIL CHANGE caused the car to explode grandly on Georgia 400, as I was going through the toll booth, and prompting the woman who was taking my dollar to shriek, "Oh, SHIT" as white smoke came pouring out from under my hood and filled her little toll-booth-house-thingy. You're welcome, toll lady! Keep the change!
When I got the car towed to my service place, the lady mechanic in charge was puzzled. "It's like everything's just...fused together," she said, peering under the hood. "Let me just look at your records."
After a few minutes, she returned, white faced.
"Where do...where do you get your oil changed?" she asked slowly.
"Um. I just add oil. When the light comes on."
"But. Oil change. Where? And more specifically, when?"
"See, 'No' is not an answer. 'When' and 'where' are the questions."
"And yet I am sticking with 'No'."
Which caused her to put her head in her hands, and wail, "LEIGH. It has been FIVE YEARS since you had your oil changed here. FIVE. YEARS."
To which I just looked at her. Blankly.
"THAT IS VERY BAD."
"Oooookay. God. Lecture much, DAD?"
Well, yes. I got a lecture. I was made to hold sticky things that are not supposed to be sticky. And then, because Mechanic Lady also services everyone I know, I had to field phone calls for two weeks from such people as my (1) parents, (2) neighbors, and (3) EX-BOYFRIEND about how HOO BOY, am I an idiot, and Lady Mechanic made THEM hold the sticky thing, and she had taken pictures of the engine of my car, and did you know I was probably going to be in a magazine about funny things idiots do to their cars?
Yes. I am brilliant.
So, needless to say, even after $3000 and much apologizing to Beeper, the car has been PISSED. Since the Explosion, the following seemingly unrelated items have stopped working entirely:
1. Seat mover thingy;
2. Back taillight;
3. Windows (all);
4. CD player;
5. Air conditioning;
6. Rear widow defroster;
7. Gas gauge; and, as a final "FUCK YOU" from Beeper to me,
8. Driver's seat sun visor, WHICH FELL INTO MY LAP as I was driving to work last week.
So, after thirteen years, I made the difficult decision that, PEOPLE, it is time to buy another car. It is time for Beeper to move on, to go to a better place, and he is being donated to a charity company, which will most likely bring him back in one week, all "THANKS SO MUCH, but he bit off my leg."
So I've been doing research, and I think I've decided on my new car, and today I am OFF TO THE DEALERSHIP to buy it. This is exciting. This is also KILLING ME with the nervousness, because "buying" means "bartering", and even with my law school education and mean courtroom self, I...suck at bartering. I do. This is how I imagine things will go:
Salesman: That will be forty million dollars.
Self: Forty...? I was thinking, maybe, like, um. I don't know. Uh...less.
Salesman: Really. Less. Like, thirty-nine million?
Self: Oh! Um. Lesser?
Salesman: No. Because you hesitated, the price is now forty-three million, and we get to whack you with a stick.
Self: Sigh. FINE.
Salesman: Also we take your eyeballs and kneecaps. Sign here.
So, I am understandably nervous. What if I get a bad deal? What if I accidentally sign away the dogs? What if I mess up and end up with a car I don't like? What if the car tries to bite off MY leg? These are all issues.
But, you know. Buying a car, by yourself and without your dad, is a Major Part of Growing Up. As are...oil changes. Which is why I am scheduling nineteen of them today. SO THERE.
So, y'all wish me luck! Hopefully, next time anyone hears from me, I'll be zipping around town in a very cute, only-slightly-used car, with seats that move and windows that go up and down and a cd player that does not play the Static of Satan when you turn it on.
And probably wishing I still had my eyeballs.
Rise of the Machines, Part II
'Member when, about a year ago, I bitched and moaned that appliances and electric doodads were conspiring against me, and that all I had to do was merely PASS BY something with a plug, and it would immediately start the Beeping of Death, followed by smoke and/or fire, and then die in a painful, shuddering heap? Remember that? Well, good people, THAT TIME IS UPON US AGAIN.
It started with the washing machine and dryer. They had worked so faithfully for me for so long, even moving from Athens to Atlanta with no complaint, existing in peaceful harmony even though one was white and one was bisque and they clearly did not match, THIS DID NOT MATTER, they provided nothing but love and spring-scented clothing anyway, for they were FAITHFUL APPLIANCES. Until they turned on me.
The dryer was the first to go, but it was followed quickly by the washer, who died a sympathy death much like the second dog in Where the Red Fern Grows (OH I HATE THAT BOOK). And even though this was maybe a little sad on an sentimental level, I wasn't too upset, because I purchased a BRAND NEW, FANCY ASS European washer and dryer several weeks ago, which had been donated to a charity-used-things-sale, and which I had bought, in anticipation of THIS VERY DAY.
So I was feeling smart, and also smug, because I knew I had two brand new, top of the line European machines just sitting outside in the garage, waiting patiently for their opportunity to European-ly permanent press the daylights out of something. I imagined that while they waited, they talked to each other in stereotypically German accents, saying things like:
Washer: I can't VAIT to start the voshing. I vill vosh EVERYSINK zat she has, and it vill be so CLEAN and VONDERFUL like days of Spring.
Dryer: I vill dry like the engine of zee jet. I vill be so fast she vill vonder, where has time gone? Poof!
So, anyway. I called Dig and Dukay and my father, and everyone came over to participate in the Great Switching of Washers and Dryers, and it involved a dolly AND a hand truck and lots of rippling muscles, and I pretty much just stood there, smugly, watching and offering to wash everyone's clothes, and their families' clothes, and anyone else's clothes, pretty much, because...new washer! And dryer! Yay!
Y'all, I even went out (wait, correction. Had Dukay go out) and buy the industrial-sized jug of Tide, which contains enough detergent to wash the whole entire wardrobe of a family of seventeen. And DRYER SHEETS. A WORLD of dryer sheets. I was ready to WASH, y'all!
Wait, hold on. Is it...sad that I was so excited about doing laundry? It's...it's sad, isn't it? Awesome! I officially suck now. Don't tell anyone.
But ANYWAY. So the moving was completed, and Dad started hooking up the European washer. And then he turned it on, and all these buttons started blinking, and I said, "Oh, let's WASH something! Let's wash THIS!" and happily grabbed a towel, and threw it in the basin, and added soap, and pushed some blinking lights, and sat back and waited, BREATH BATED, for water to fill the machine.
And this is what happened.
Machine: (Gurgle. Splurt. WATER! Stop. Gurgle.)
Machine: VOT IS HAPPENING.
Machine: WATER! Stop. Gurgle. Splurt. Beep?
Machine: Vosher is feeling...so...wrong...
Self: Look! It's energy efficient! Or...something!
Dad: Yeah, I guess...
Machine: Beep! WATER! Splurt. Gurgle. Blaaaaah.
Machine: VOT IS HAPPENING TO VOSHER?
Dad: Is it supposed to do that?
Self: Um. I don't actually know what classifies as "European," and what classifies as just..."broken."
Dad: I think we're in the second camp.
Machine: Ding! All done!
Machine: Good bye, vorld.
Machine: (Turns off.)
Self: Aw, shit.
So, the washer? Broken. And us, with no manual of any kind, because I bought it from a thrift sale thingy, thinking I was the most brilliant and economical individual on the planet. Ha ha, good intentions!
And naturally, that was just the beginning, because at that point, at least we could install the dryer, but NOT SO MUCH, when Dad turned to me and said, "Wait, are these European?"
And I said yes, indeedy. In fact, they are German, with stereotypically German accents.
And he said, "Well, what is FUNNY, is that the plugs ARE ALSO EUROPEAN."
And I said, "..."
And SO, Dig and Dukay and Dad had the sheer pleasure of REMOVING the new European washer and dryer, placing them BACK into the garage, where they are sitting next to the OTHER two dead machines, and the inside of my garage is now riddled with dead appliances.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Because the NEXT DAY, while sleeping, a major thunderstorm hit. And apparently, the fucker hit MY HOUSE, because I woke up as the entire room flashed white and there was the kind of crash that indicates that maybe GOD IS PISSED AT YOU.
(Dukay, naturally, slept through the whole Biblical thing. No wonder I feel so safe when he's around! It's like being protected by a doberman. Who happens to be dead.)
So, I figure that whoa, that's...loud, but seeing as I'm still alive, and Dukay is still snoring, I guess all is well and I'll just go back to sleep.
And all WAS well, until the following afternoon, when I tried to watch a DVD that I had in the DVD player, and the damn thing would not turn on. Nor would the VCR. Because they were FRIED, like EGGS, like YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS, and like many other examples of things that are similarly fried, and as a direct consequence, WILL NOT WORK ANYMORE.
The realization that the DVD player was fried, and that it contained a disk that I was not going to lose, OH NO, because it was a bootlegged and possibly slightly illegal copy of a television show which you can find NOWHERE, and I NEED THAT, put me in the novel position of having to try to figure out how, exactly, one extracts a DVD from a player that will not turn on, no matter how nicely you ask. Ultimately, the question was solved by using:
Two steak knives
A gallon of gasoline
(No, not really. But it was CLOSE. Still, isn't that very MacGuyver of me? I called all kinds of people and announced "I just got a DVD out of my DVD player all by myself!", only it was sad because nobody is ever impressed by what I do. There is no pleasing some people.)
But. ANYWAY. SO, so far, casualties include TWO washers, TWO dryers, a DVD player, and a VCR. I'm glad the TV and laptop haven't been struck (although...matter of time, possibly), but I am now eyeing all of my appliances suspiciously, wondering who is going to turn next.
And frankly, I've got my money on the dishwasher.
Me = Being skinned alive by new job, but
Me = Still loves you. Really.
You = Patient. And also,
You = Good looking. Did you get a haircut? Is that a new shirt? Because
You = One sexy motherfucker. I'm just saying.
Anyway. Y'ALL. This new job? The one where I am when I go to work in the morning? It is fucking BUSY. They want a lot of this "work" business, at all crazy hours, and apparently it will calm down soon, but right now I am hoping someone will just show up and KILL ME ALREADY because Hoo Boy. Ow, with all the work. It hurts my head part.
I'm only human, Boss People. I know I look capable; that is an illusion! In reality, I don't have the faintest idea of what I am doing! Shh!
But...uh. I couldn't allow this blank screen bullshit anymore, especially after getting a phone call from Aunt Rie (Hi, Aunt Rie!) saying basically, "Honey, they'll think you went and DIED," and a message from Kiefer Twin A, basically reading, "SCREEN IS BLANK AND LONELY, REPEAT, SCREEN BLANK, CALLING EMERGENCY FORCES, OVER AND OUT," and so here I am, at almost midnight on a school night, typing drivel.
Because I love you. It's loving drivel. Don't hate me today. I JUST CAN'T HANDLE IT.
Anyway. I love you. And I will be back in a few days, with something interestinger. Kisses!
P.S.: Dukay says hi. He thinks you look pretty hot, too. Which is why he's in trouble. Damn flirt!