It's not about the house.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More or Less Bunk, Part V: Everything’s Coming Up

continued from previous post...

Like I said very briefly last time, and then edited out because I felt it went too far over the Maudlin line, but now have to put back in because I can’t justify the New Car’s nameless month without it: the first few weeks I had her, I was in no mood for playing Radio Roulette, not even in noble pursuit of the Perfect New Car Name. Because you never know what might come screaming from the dashboard when you turn the dial (and no, my cars aren’t so old they still have dials; it's an expression! Work with me, people!), and I didn’t want to be unexpectedly exposed to any Maudlin Madeleines that might send me into sudden paroxysms of grief -- else I might's well go ahead and christen her “The Leader of the Pack.”

Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!

So New Car and I spent our first few dozen days together listening to NPR and quietly feeling each other out. Getting to know one another, as it were. Getting to like her, getting to hope she liked me. And -- as these things have so often gone for me throughout my life -- I liked her fine, but she told me to cram it up my ass.

No, no, that isn’t fair. Blaming her for what happened would be like blaming that fabled snake for biting you when you were dumb enough to pick it up. Especially if you’re Destructo, so you probably squeezed it a little harder than you knew you should. And also maybe wanted to see what would happen if you put a teeny-tiny finger in its mouth...

See, the New Car has an alarm system, and it’s my first. Not only that, but the key-fob-thinger that's supposed to turn it on and off is broken. And I don’t mean dead-battery-broken, either (which would be bad enough, considering how long I take to get around to doing things); but I mean genuinely, honest-to-god broke. There is a spare one, but the spare one's broken, too. And now that I think about it, maybe the problem isn't actually in the fob-thingers but the receiver-thingy that you point it at... Ah well, I’ll put a pin in that idea for now, because it’s not germane.

The germ is that I have to unlock the door with the key. Which really oughtn't to be a big deal -- this is, after all, what I’ve always had to do in all my other, oldey-timey cars. But in a move I’m sure is informed by some sort of Mystical Eastern Logic that I’m too closed-minded or Western-centric to understand, it turns out that opening the door with the key that was, you know, made for it, is not enough to put the 86 on the alarm. Oh no. You then have to put the key in the ignition and start it up within so many seconds or the honk-honk-honking starts. Because it's not like the same damn key does both or anything, or like a thief who had the key would ever be in any kind of rush to start the car.

I did try leaving it unlocked (which is, oddly enough, also what I’ve always done in all my other oldy-timey cars) but the Very Centered Alarm System zens itself into action anyway. Honk! Honk!

So I very quickly got used to sliding in the driver’s seat and starting it, no matter what or how brief my intent, then getting out and going round the other side to fetch the dog leash off the floor in the back seat. I usually do twister-worthy contortions to shut it off and extricate the key, though, so as not to have to get out and go back around. I tried contorting to get it started, too, but not only did it fail to work, I also nearly wrenched my yatta-yatta.

We had more or less settled into this routine when I took her out to meet my Dad one afternoon, and my little Japanese Darling took the opportunity to show off a whole new trick. Let's say I don’t know when it was, exactly, but that the whole family was there -- eating lollipops, playing with puppy dogs and basking in the sun – and I volunteered to run out and get a few copies of that day’s paper because we happened to know there was going to be a really cheerful article in it about skittles and beer. I started the car, realized I'd left my wallet on the table, left her running while I ran inside to get it -- and when I did the little traitor locked me out! The damn New Car somehow locked its own damn doors without me in it, and my damn brother-in-law had to call damn AAA to let me damn back in.

Well, Brother-In-Law didn’t have to. I could’ve done it. Lord knows I’ve got enough experience with roadside service, I could probably have done it blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back. I probably have. I don’t remember. I tell you folks, the early ‘90s are a total blur...

Anyway, the AAA guy who came was really mean about it. Didn't make eye contact with anyone or say a single word. Even when the job was done he just got in his truck and drove away. It hasn't happened since, but now the New Car Door Opening Routine has expanded to include a spare key carried in my left pants-pocket, just in case. Oh, and me remembering not to tell AAA guys that "I do this sort of shit all the time." At least, not right up front when I haven't had a chance to put my cute on.

A few days after that is when the seatbelt busted. I think I told you about this at the time, but for those of you who are new, or old, or drunk like me and don’t remember, here’s the germ: it got harder and harder for me to put it in but I just kept pushing, until finally I looked and saw there was some sort of foreign object stuck in there (and if I'd ever seen a thing like that before – even in the early ‘90s – I’d remember). Turns out I had managed to, inch by stupid, not-paying-attention inch, cram an entire napkin down inside. I crammed it back out with a bamboo skewer and it was no worse for the wear. But still.

New Car and I were certainly learning beautiful and new things about each other, that’s for sure.

I didn't name her Anna, did I? I'm not telling! Probably not, though! With my luck I wouldn't get the singing-dancing kind of Anna, I'd get the kind that ODs on sleeping pills or throws herself under a train! But I guess you'll have to wait till next time to find out...

1 comment:

Ladyscot said...

My dad's first experience with a car alarm was that he didn't know he had one, until one evening he and my mother are sitting blissfully watching TV in the den, above the garage, and the alarm decides to go off. They have no clue what is going on and run down to the garage to see where the noise is coming from. I, being 7 miles away in a whole other town, get a frantic phone call asking "how do we shut it off?!"