Once again here's Jennine and I back for more 2-4-1 Tuesday silliness.
The assignment for this week is:
Describe your first car experience:
Jennine: My first car, Satan, was given to me by my grandfather in 1986 when I turned 16.
Satan was a 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury which had been used as a police car prior to my use. Unlike this picture, the color of Satan was a shade which I can only describe as Radioactive Blue. I became nauseated just looking at it. It was as cool as having a hairy mole with teeth and a sour personality adorning your face. People gawked at me when I drove anywhere. They pointed and laughed. Not exactly a teenaged girl's dream.
But it was functional. Almost.
Satan suffered a muffler malfunction and since my father wasn't big into repairing a car I would likely wreck in a fiery accident, his solution was more reactive than proactive:
Every time I drove Satan more than a mile or two, the muffler would heat the floorboard to the point of smoke and fire. I brought this to his attention and he responded "Fill a gallon-sized milk container with water and pour it on the hot spot. You'll be fine."
Lovely. We lived in Minnesota. A gallon of frozen water did me no good. Instead I staked out every car wash within a 50 mile vicinity and plotted each car trip accordingly, hosing Satan's interior along the way.
It should have been called a Plymouth Gran Furious.
Jeff: My first car experience involves the day I took my driver's test.
(photograph from high school yearbook)
I thought I was a pretty good driver by the time I turned 16. In fact, from the minute I received my learner's permit until my 16th birthday I made sure I drove every time
The one thing about Duluth however, is that most of it resides on a very steep hill. So in order to prepare the newly hatched driverlings for the real world, they have you take a portion of your driver's test on a very steep hill as well. Normally, this shouldn't be an issue. But if you drive a manual stick of course... Yeah. Issue.
And just what part of the driver's test did they have me take on the hill? Why the parallel parking part of course. Why wouldn't it be the parallel parking part? I mean parallel parking is already so easy for a 16 year-old in the first place, so why not add the challenge of a 30 degree slope to the exam? While using a stick shift?
Getting into the parking spot was a piece of cake. Simply drive up past the cones, push in the clutch and the brake, and slowly let off the brake while you coast your way backwards into the neat little spot they've reserved for your car - which they've estimated to be a small French model about 4 feet long.
Getting out of the spot however is a different story. Because unless you've descended from an alien species with three feet, you should know that starting out on a hill while using a clutch is no easy task. Especially for a 16 year-old during his driver's test.
But I was confident I could do this thing. With my clutch and brake jammed to the floorboards, I twisted my right toe over to the gas pedal while keeping my heel on the brake, revved up the engine to about 9,000 RPMs, and quickly let out the clutch as I pulled the car out into the street.... without looking to see if anyone was coming. With a "chirp" of the tires as I accelerated and a screech of the tires as I slammed on the brakes, my poor Chevy Vega first lurched forward and then died there on the spot - with its nose sticking out in the road while the approaching car swerved around me at the last possible instant.
In the corner of my eye all I could see was the driving instructor make a large "check" motion on his clip board. I was devastated. I knew right then and there that there was no way I was going to pass this test.
But guess what? I was wrong! Because I had scored perfectly on every other component of the exam I somehow managed to absorb this faux pas and pass with the lowest grade possible. Hey - good enough for me!!!
Oh, and one more thing. Ten minutes later I got pulled over on the way home for speeding. I'm pretty sure I hold the record for having the shortest clean driving record in history.