A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings

To Air Grievances: Vehicles

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Roxie, my companion for many years, is melting.

Manuel, Will’s companion for many years, is… Well it’s not doing so hot either.

Roxie is a green 2001 Toyota Camry, bought for me at the age of 16.  Her interior was mostly fine with a few scratches here and rips there, but now she’s reached an entirely new level.  Roxie’s seats are not leather – I don’t know what the material is, actually.  But I do know that when it’s summer time, the seats BURN.  And the steering wheel BURNS.   The seats are so hot, that when you sit on one, your very first inclination is to jump off because your thighs are getting a 3rddegree burn, but you can’t because you’ve already closed the door; so your next inclination is to grab the steering wheel to hold yourself up above the seat until it cools down, but when you grab the steering wheel you yell out in pain because it has just successfully destroyed both of your hands, causing you to let go of the steering wheel and land back on the seat, which burns your poor thighs once again, so you use what power you have left in your legs to lift yourself above the seat in order to hover, but in doing so you command the power from your legs too fast and hit your head on the roof.

It’s a whole Tom-and-Jerry situation, the car acting as both Tom and Jerry.  It’s a cruel pattern.

Since Roxie is able to get that fiery hot, her interior has started to melt, and fast.  The fancy plastics around my radio are coming unglued; the cup holders stick when they are pushed up or pushed down; the seats sweat from the hot, hot Oklahoma sun beating down on them day after day.  And now the heat has gone and done it:

The driver’s side door handle has melted off.

When this happened, I thought I was trapped inside my car, so for an entire day I entered and exited my car through the passenger’s side door, which is not something I would wish for anyone to experience.  People look at you funny as they watch you clamber out through the wrong door, trying to exit like a lady but failing miserably.  Lucky for me, my husband is much smarter than I am and he suggested I roll down my window and open the door using the outside handle.  He’s brilliant. This has been working for the past few weeks, but with many fallbacks.  One, I always forget to leave the car running so I can roll the window back up.  Two, I have left my window down twice, thankfully not for very long.  Three, I look like Will’s servant whenever he drives, and I could not be more serious about this.  Picture this:  You’re in a grocery store parking lot, minding your business and packing your trunk with newly bought groceries when you see a car pull into the parking space behind you.  The couple inside sits in there for a moment, then the little girl, who you assume must be the wife (you better), gets out first, but her husband stays inside the car.  At first you don’t think anything of it, until you see the wife walk around to the other side of the car, open the car door for her husband, and stand there until he gets out, and shut the door for him.  He says thank you, and the two head toward the store.

You’re either thinking one of two things at this point:

1) She is super nice to open the door for him!

2) Umm….

I can tell that most people are thinking Option 2, which of course, Will loves.  So until further notice, I am to be Will’s butler  maid servant.

Manuel is a small black truck – still alive, but is definitely in his old age.  The driver’s side door won’t shut unless it’s slammed, the passenger’s side seat can no longer move up or move back, the entire truck shakes once it reaches 60, and, Manuel has started making…noises.  It’s one thing to be driving on I-35, well aware of Manuel’s wheezing and sputtering in the midst of traffic.  It’s another to be driving around in your dream neighborhood during one of these truck-style asthma attacks.  A few weeks ago Will and I went driving through a neighborhood we someday hope to call our home.  It’s filled with trees, green grass, historic houses, dogs, families… It’s marvelous.  We went on a Thursday night, before the Hot Hot Humid Heat of Summer 2011 struck Oklahoma City, so we were able to drive around with our windows down to better admire the setting.  Then Manuel had his attack.  The wheezing, the sputtering, the long-winded squeaking – it all happened at once.  We quickly went from peaceful admirers to family-time ruiners.  We continued on, determined to see every house in the neighborhood, but I apologized quietly to everyone we passed.  “Ooooh look Will!  Parents and their little bab- Oh gosh.. Sorry!  So sorry…  WILL!  Look at that house!  And the family is on the porch playing games!  How precious- Shoot.  They’ve noticed us.  Sorry!!  Sorry-sorry-sorry…Sorry.”

And so, I air grievances with our vehicles.  They have served us well and continue to get us to and fro, and it’s only time before they just won’t go.

(Rhyme!)

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Author: Holly

Vienna-based American wife/mom/expat.

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