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.