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Viva La Volvo

A couple years ago, pregnant with Baby #3, we went a-car shoppin’.  A car for all seasons – the grueling Canadian winter, the cottage-bound Canadian summer. A car big enough to hold our ever expanding family, with space for a large dog. And a stroller. And groceries. And extra people. All together. Oh, and I didn’t want a mini van.

Enter the Volvo SUV. I wanted a purty new white one.

Wasn’t gonna happen.

Enter our Volvo SUV.

With 75000 klicks and an almost expired warranty, it was no spring chicken. But I was assured it was a great car. Lux, sure, but when the electrics failed and I was forced to drive blind with no instruments whatsoever, I cared little for lux. Heading back to the dealer, I traveled the streets at a snail’s pace….or did I?

And when the locks on the door jammed – with me inside – I wanted out. Out of the car, and out of the deal.

And the complaints kept on comin’: The radio’s annoying (won’t manually scan through stations). I hate the headrest (anti-whiplash design). It’s a tank (um…it is a tank). It’s a lemon (it might be). And so on and so on and so on. Of course this drove my man bonkers. Here I was, lucky enough to be driving a well-made, uber-safe shmancy mobile, and I could do was moan. And use the mid-range “gold” gas instead of the “platinum”. Ha! I’d show that car of mine who was boss.

Or who was a big-time loser over-humanizing her car. Then again, we all do that, don’t we? I mean, it’s not like I named it. Or assigned it a gender. Not this car anyway.

Turn radius? Too wide. Doors? Too heavy. Black car? Too dirty.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Doesn’t anybody…..drive…anymore?

And then I was rear-ended. Bottom of my road, returning home from lunch with my young son and my nephew when BOOM someone plowed into me. Poor guy was a student. His front end was totaled. We had nary a scratch.

I felt safe. Maybe this ride wasn’t half bad.

And then I backed out of my driveway and into an illegally parked car. With a handicapped sticker on it. With their side-mirror in my hand I wondered whether to come clean. Or to just stick it back on and take off. But karma – and that sticker – got the best of me.Turned out the driver was a 90 year old neighbour. I paid to have her mirror fixed and I hated my car all over again. Where was that bloody sensor when I needed it? It wasn’t half-bad, it was all bad!!

And then….

Today happened.

Driving my kiddies to school, I slowed down at the stop sign at my street’s end and put on my brakes. And… kept right on rolling, straight into a busy, morning rush hour, trafficky street. Into the path of an oncoming bus. Seeing that bad boy heading straight for me I couldn’t believe this was the end. I started yelling and cranked my wheel as far as I could, hoping to minimize the impact.

The bus passed by in slow motion, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d miss it. But that fantasy ended with a bang as I plowed into its rear bumper.

Yup. I rammed a bus.

All shook up? Understatement! I hit a bus. A Bus. Hazards on, I got out of the car. The driver got off the bus, as did all of his busy, morning rush hour, trafficky passengers. I was That Guy. The one pulled over to the side causing the buildup. As far as my eye could see: traffic. Because of me. And my bloody car. I cursed the tires, the breaks, the Swedes. The mechanic, my husband, the bus.

And then I breathed. We were fine. My car, unbelievably, was fine. The bus, however, was not. It had been clearly side-swiped (by yours truly) and the bumper was definitely a little worse for wear. But we were all AOK, thank you, Craners. Rather than sit and idle in the car, we were invited to sit and idle on the bus.

We hopped on the bus, Gus. And – no lie – the driver? HIS NAME WAS GUS. I was tense. I was nervous. And I was relentlessly spewing Paul Simon lyrics. Made a new plan, Stan. No need to be coy, Roy. Just listen to me. My son, Leo? Drop off the key, Lee.

Somebody stop me!!!

Soon a giant police officer arrived on the scene. Re-ow. City’s finest indeed. Slip out the back, Jack. While we waited for the transit supervisor a crazy thing happened. Another car slid through the stop sign – and straight into oncoming traffic.  And it wouldn’t be the last of the day – I saw yet another car, totalled, in that exact same spot.

Turns out the salters had yet to arrive and my street was paved in black ice. All the what-ifs flashed through my head. Smaller, vulnerable cars. Smaller, vulnerable people. Yikes!!!

The supervisor finally showed up, supervised and dismissed us all. I saw my car, my treasure, in a new and improved light. We may have broken a bus, but that whole “I looked like I ran into a bus”? Nope, not us! Just a wee dent that a swift kick soon remedied. I was giddy with love for my car. What’s a little high-pitch squeak? Or a staticky speaker? I had safety. I had sturdiness. I salute the Swedes! Viva La Volvo!

Until summer. When the sun hits that black paint and turns the tin into an unbreathable hot box.

But for now? Nothing but the best premium petrol for my tank. And maybe even a car wash. Thank you car-gods. Sorry ’bout the bus.

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January 21, 2011   No Comments

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Men in Cars

Oh, the boys and their toys. When will they learn that their rides are not their lives. Or, if they need to have machines to reflect who they are, maybe they should get it right.

Why cruise a Ram if you’re really a Vespa?

More specifically, what’s with men who drive ladymobiles?

I kinda get the whole penis extension/check-out-my-Porsche thing. No, I don’t agree with it, but I can kinda see how they think they’re flexing their, ahem, muscle. And the dudes with their souped up trucks and pimped out wheels? Fine, leave ’em to it and let them think they’re snowing us with their prowess on – ooooh, and off – the road. Sure we’re wise to ’em, but let them be. It all makes sense in a strange-but-true sorta way.

But what is it with the (straight?) guys who drive the little red sportsters? Or, better still, the ones in the turquoise reissued t-birds? Sooooo not their demo.

And I think they know it.

Here’s what happened today. I was helping my sister-in-law get our two kids into their carseats. Her car. Our kids. 4 and 3 years old. And this guy in a – you guessed it – turquoise (or would you call it aqua?) convertible Thunderbird, pulls up and starts honking us. Then, ever-so-rudely, he tells us to quit talking and start driving.

I beg your pardon???

Sadly, I was forced, after more rudeness on his part, to punctuate my sentence with a F&ck You. And those who know me, know I never do that. But this guy didn’t know that. Suddenly, bravado gone, he started muttering about us putting our makeup on….Not sure what he was on about. But, feeling emboldened, I asked, “do you think I care what you think?!” Oh yeah! Who’s in the driver’s seat now, buddy? Not him. He took one look at our butcher-than-his car and drove away.

To the empty spot two cars down.

And when he got out of his car, my sister-in-law noted that he was pushing 50 and scraping by the 5 and a half foot mark. Which got us to thinking…Was he rude and impatient and revolting because of an obvious Napoleonic complex? Or was he as he was because, simply put, he chose the wrong car?

Maybe he thought a convertible would make him feel younger. Or taller. Erm, nicest day in weeks today and the roof was firmly fixed. So, no, it wasn’t the soft top. Maybe he thought the colour would make him hip and happening. Foiled again, friend. Girl, girl and more girl. And, finally, perhaps he figured the new Thunderbird, echoing the old classic, would take him back to the golden oldie days of yore. But I have a feeling this guy never drove a T-bird back in the day…

You see, according to my sources, while this car looks great, ie. pretty, it drives like a town car. In other words, boys looking for performance and all that need not apply. But if you only want to look great, ie, pretty, then climb aboard. And maybe that’s what got this guy all steamed up. Instead of a display of his manhood, he ended up in a mom-mobile. An older, empty-nester, mom-mobile.

So gents, before you vent and strut and hem and haw for no real reason, take a look in the mirror. And the rearview. You can’t puff out your chest if you’re driving the auto equivalent of pink fluffy slippers. You just can’t. And if that’s WHY you’re so upset, then put on your soft rock, get into the right lane and get over it. Wuss.

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

To play devil’s advocate – let’s just say he borrowed his younger girlfriend’s car, has no issue with his masculinity, but may quite simply be an asshole.
Welcome to the world of telling strangers to fuck off – feels good, doesn’t it?

September 6, 2006   No Comments

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