Tuesday, February 20, 2007

2-4-1 Tuesday

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 I could my parents let me. So, when the big day came to take my test - I was ready.

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.


yellojkt said...

My "first cars" include my mom's 1979 Toyota Carolla, an orange VW bug, a Pontiac LeMans Grand-Am station wagon, a 1978 Toyota Carolla, and a Mitsubishi Cordia. This is going to be worth a blog-post someday.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

yello - That sounds more like a "first fleet."

My first car was a dilapidated '57 Chevy pickup that I bought from a friend for $50. It had one working break and the stick shift had been moved from the column to the floor and installed backwards, so the pattern was 2-3-R-1 instead of R-1-2-3. This, of course, made it impossible for anyone else to drive. My only regret is that I never took a picture of it.

Mom Thumb said...

My first car was a 1962 Ford Galaxy that an idiot drunk driver rear ended. He was driving a new 1975 station wagon and his bumper ended up very close to his steering wheel. My car was totaled because the frame was bent, but other than that, it looked like just a dent in the bumper. That was a tank of a car. I cried when they hauled it away.

yoo hoo said...

A 1965 Ford Country Squire Sedan station wagon was my first car. When my dad told me he bought it for $50. I asked if it came with keys, (luckily?) yes.
This car had been owned by the elementary school nurse, I think a lot of my class mates threw up in that car, it was her job to drive sick kids home.

Unknown said...

Sweet Plymouth. SWEET yearbook photo.
I 'd give you grief about the parallel parking, but I can't. For one year, New Jersey took it out of the driving test. Yes, the year i got my license.

Jess Riley said...

I don't know which story I like better. Great stuff!

My first car was a 1983 AMC Eagle. It had faux wood paneling and a transmission likely built by drunk, blind, fingerless giants.

Anonymous said...

Love it! I actually badly dented my moms car during my driving test (I was driving on the sidewalk for almost a block.)

I still managed to pass. I was wearing a really low-cut shirt. My drivers test guy was too distracted to notice the screeching metal.

Anonymous said...

Jennine; a used police car? Jake and Elwood would be proud.
Jeff; all I can remember about that truck is what Mark or Mills scratched into the faded green paint. Forever after it was referred to as "the _ _ ck truck."

Jenn said...

I almost choked at the car name, just from laughing...too funny.

yellojkt said...

It all depends on your definition of first:
First car I ever drove, first car I owned, first new car, etc.

First car "experience" could mean something else entirely.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

yello - Good point, but since this is a family blog...

Heather said...

My first car was a 1982 Mazda RX7. My dad still tells me how much he HATED that car since I had to call him to get it started more often than it started on its own.

I plead the 5th on my driving test.