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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Investing in a car and driver

“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.” ~Dudley Moore

Only when it comes to the important things has my date of birth ever been a source of complaint and woe. Though now the next milestone to hit, in terms of legal activities, is the ability to walk up to the Avis counter and rent a car, just like all of the big other kids.

Getting my driver’s permit was a breeze. I was then relegated to the parking lot at Walmart to drive circles and eventually graduated to the SUNY Albany campus loop. Then came merging and driving on windy roads past the horse farms then rain, flurries and eventually the big test; snow. In fact a few weeks ago during a brief fluffy flake wintry mix, I drove LB in ye old sable to and from upper Northwest. As the heavy flakes came down, she who hails from Phoenix asked whether or not it snowed like this in upstate New York. I laughed and replied that in upstate New York, if it snows a couple of inches, you shovel and go on with your life. In upstate New York, we have these things called blizzards and speak of snow in measurements of feet. I’d trust an upstate New Yorker with a crap ass sable that shakes when you try to brake to drive me to and from AU Park in heavy snow, before I’d trust a Pasadena native with a fully equipped, four wheel drive hummer to drive me from one side of Capitol Hill to the other.

It took only two tries for my license. The first time the failure was due to sub par parallel parking skills, which I find most interesting given that I now live in metropolitan area that requires regular parallel parking between a Porsche and a BMW. Though now I can do it while eating sushi with a chai latte between my legs and walking it out to Unk.

Six days after I got my license, I drove to the Key Bank and attempted the very tricky maneuver of switching lanes. Though did you know that when trying to switch lanes, it helps if there is more than 5/8 of an inch between your bumper and the car in front of you? Well I was not aware of this and rammed my minivan into another minivan and subsequently pissed all over myself because my mother was going to beat the ever living shit out of me.

But she did not. Instead she saved that hostility for my coup de grace of one sunny day after school when tooling around in Walmart, I shoved my license plate under a parked car by running into it while I, myself, was parking. She beat the ever living shit out of me for not being able to discern between an empty space and a parking space with a Honda Accord. Tricky stuff there. Until today, I have denied doing that until I was blue in the face because somehow my plate had disappeared and miraculously ended shoved into someone else’s rear bumper. Then the Easter Bunny shot out of my ass and sprinkled fairy dust all over my little boo boo.

On Monday I was in a fit of excitement and kissing the US Air gods for placing me in their good graces long enough to get me home in time to run a few midday errands. There is nothing that gets me off the way that grocery shopping in the middle of the day does. I get chills just thinking about it, which is why I willingly sat in the center seat from Palm Beach to DC smiling giddily because I would have first dibs on all the frozen brown rice and vegetable flax seed tortilla chips, I could ever want.

In the thrill of the moment, that prospect of all of the bags of frozen organic peas I would acquire and so instead of slowing down two blocks from a yellow light, I decided to rev it up to 60 and whip a left hand turn out of fear that the peas would be all gone and then what? Of course to my right there sat a member of the metro police department. Who noticed my fast acting turn – for the peas! – and turned on his lights behind me. I silently prayed and flashed my cutest smile and apologized profusely. He let me off with a warning to slow down. I smiled and went on my merry way carefully stopping at each light and sign between my apartment and the next two blocks.

Literally 47 seconds later, I rear-ended a DC Central Kitchen van while getting onto 395. 20 minutes later, I almost rear-ended a parked Harley.

Tomorrow I’m going to try something basic, like walking and chewing gum at the same time and I will be sure to let you all know how that goes.

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Anonymous gorillabuns said...

i flunked my first drivers test by hitting a parked cadillac. i've never recovered from such tragedy, kinda like being found out i never learned my multiplication tables in third grade.

22 years later, i hold my breath every time i park in the local supertarget parking lot. i silently give myself a high five when i don't hit the mercedes side mirror.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Bone said...

I almost rear-ended a parked Harley.

That was my favorite part of your story.

I found my parents never got really upset over the huge things. An hour and a half late for curfew and you'd think I'd shot someone. Nearly set the house on fire, and they're just glad we're all OK.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Gooseberried said...

Oh Heather! I guess I won't be getting into a car with you...ever!

12:09 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Post a pic of your car so we can keep an eye out for you...

7:51 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

I still don't have a license.

Thank goodness I have a husband.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous em said...

I flunked my first test due to failure on the round-about. I was dating my husband at the time, and he stil doesn't know my shame. It's my dirty little secret.

7:25 AM  
Blogger green_canary said...

I once hit a speed limit sign on the side of the road. The irony was such that I just kept on going... To this day, I can't look at the stubby post still sticking out of the ground.

12:26 PM  
Blogger leahpeah said...

remembering to breath and drinking without dribbling are things i still work on every day.

4:27 PM  
Blogger metalia said...

Remind me to tell you one time about how, many years ago, mere WEEKS after I got my license, I was pulled over by a female cop for accidentally going the wrong way down a one way street in NYC, with 3 inebriated passengers in my car...(one of whom, unbeknownst to me, was underage) and how I got out of the ticket. (I was strangely proud.)

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Sanne said...

You write very well.

11:25 PM  

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