My Car   I like routine. I could eat the same lunch everyday, wear the same clothes, and am completely happy when I am in a relationship.  In turn, I drive a vehicle until the wheels fall off. I have had my current car for almost a dozen years.    I owned a black Dodge Ram pickup truck for years and would probably still be driving around in it if a bus had not ripped the back bumper off it. It is said that a mother knows its child’s cry. I was two blocks away, walking down the street, when I heard the crunching and tearing of metal as a senior citizen bus somehow clipped the backend of my parked truck, and, even with my back to the accident, I knew it was my baby.      If you own a big pickup truck, you know that when you purchase it, the dealer should just give you adoption papers for some third world oil producing country. because as long as you own the thing you are their sugar daddy.   Predicting that gas would skyrocket in the next few months, I decided I might as well get a car. I would love to say a lot of deep thought went into the purchase of my car, but I went with the car that gave me headroom. I am not tall, due to my hobbit arms and legs, but have a long torso. So, in most cars, my head bangs against the ceiling.   I got a Nissan Altima. Before hybrids, after I bought my car, I discovered that there was a whole cult of people that owned Altimas. I would pull up to a convenience store, get out, and hearing someone getting into their Nissan say with a tone of smugness, “I got 200,000 miles on mine. Isn’t the gas mileage amazing?” These are people I normally would hang with, people that would be driving Priuses in a few years and think their flatulence should be sold as cologne, but I was part of the cool kids now and I am shallow.   Today, when I pull up to a convenience store, no one gives me thumbs up.  No one shares with me how their Nissan Altima has somehow defied the laws of thermal dynamics.  In fact, people look at the ground rather than in my eyes. It is easy to understand why.    The exterior driver’s side door handle is broken. Plastic door handles are a great way for car manufactures to save money, but I doubt automobile engineers took winter ice storms into account when designing them. If you live in the Midwest, some winter morning you will wake up after an evening of rain to find your car resembles Princess Elsa’s Frozen castle.   Last winter was one of those occasions. I thought I could open the door, let the car warm up for 20 or 30 minutes while I did some snow shoveling, and be on my way. I remember grabbing the handle and I remember lying in the middle of the street on my back with the door handle still in my hand. I have suppressed the humiliation of falling backward onto the snowbound street.   What did I learn: If you have taken a tumble, part of you wants to just lay there, feeling sorry for yourself all bumped and bruised, especially when you could probably build a snowman with the amount of snow that has found its way into the back of your pants. Your 96-year-old neighbor across the street, who does not look when she backs her car out of her garage, doesn’t care about your pride and dignity. She is going to squash your head like a grape unless you somehow manage to dive into a nearby snow bank, putting more snow down the front of your pants so that your junk resembles some frozen Cro-Magnon hunter-gather incased in a block of ice. I actually have purchased a replacement handle, but have been too cheap to have someone fix it. Instead, I have enjoyed cutting my finger once a week.   The door to my gas tank no longer works. When I first got it you could just flick a switch inside the car and it would open. A piece of metal got bent somewhere and it can only be done manually now.   What did I learn: If a friend volunteers to help you fix it and they pull out a power drill and later start hitting it with a hammer, say stop. No story involving a power drill and the cosmetic look of your car ends well.   If you walk around to the back end you will notice a vertical faint red line and a minor dent going up the back of the bumper and trunk. Not bad enough to fix, but it is there. That is the edge of a snowplow blade. Now you might ask yourself what is the most humiliating way you can hit a stationary snowplow blade?  I was at a social gathering at a friend’s house. His sister, who had been a model at one point in her life, was there. A wonderful time was had by all. I got in my car and began to back down the darkened driveway. As I was backing, I noticed his sister coming out of the house and waving at me. I waved back. She walked toward my car. I put my foot on the brake and rolled down the window to say good-bye to her. She leaned down into my door, and smiled at me. That is when her breast popped out of her dress. Now in rural Iowa, in the wee hours of the morning, you don’t expect to see a model’s breast inches from your face. I was sure it was an accident.  We were both adults. No big deal. I would like to say I channeled my inner-Dean Martin, but instead my inner- Jerry Lewis came out, and flustered, I hit the snowplow blade behind me.   What did I learn: It is probably one of the many reasons my friend does not talk to me anymore. I would like to say that in the future I would be more adult and mature, but I know I would totally hit that snowplow blade again.   If you walk to the passenger side, if you look close, you will notice a bit of brown spray paint alongside the molding. When I lived in Las Vegas, some kids had broken into a foreclosed house across the street, destroyed the place, and tagged several of the cars on the block. It was cheap spray paint. So, most of it buffed off, except I could not get behind the molding.   What did I learn: If you are a bank and some kids have torn apart a foreclosed house of yours, you better pray that the police officer that responds to the call did not have his house foreclosed weeks earlier because he will be be suffering from a bad case of the “I don’t cares.”   I got a dent in the lower front passenger door from someone kicking it while I was inside a store. Another large crease is in that same door from the same parking lot due to a run-away shopping cart on one of the windiest days of the year.   What did I learn: Maybe I shouldn’t shop at that store.   The hubcaps on that same side are scraped up from the brilliant idea of teaching a niece to drive. I told her it was not bad. It was bad.   What did I learn: At one point in my life I would have taken on a gang of heavily armed men and ended the conflict with a couple of lines written for Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t care who you are, a young teenager behind the wheel is terrifying.   Inside the car is the wonderful smell of scuba tanks, wet gear, sweat, and a decade’s worth of dog hair. Plus, there is the microscopic evidence from my two dogs bodily functions. It started while driving through rush hour traffic one February evening. Layla, who was a puppy at the time, is a diva when it comes to the call of nature. The wind has to be right. You cannot be too close. There cannot be any dew or water on the grass. Even then it might take a good hour of her searching for the right spot. She is the Diana Ross of the canine world. I spent a good hour-and-a-half at a rest stop outside of Denver trying to get her to do her duty, of which she showed no interest.    I am not going to say what happened in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I am sure it traumatized the older dog. If Layla had been a piñata you would have struggled to believe there was that much candy inside her. I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned that car over the years and, even though I cannot see anything, I know it is there. There is dried dog slober in the air conditioner/heating vents. I spotted a hairy gummy worm under the seat the other day. At least I hope it is a gummy worm. Change that has been lodged in my seats so long, I am sure a homeless gentleman would not take it.  What have you learned: As long as I still have my car, I will never get a woman to date me.    
My Car   I like routine. I could eat the same lunch everyday, wear the same clothes, and am completely happy when I am in a relationship.  In turn, I drive a vehicle until the wheels fall off. I have had my current car for almost a dozen years.    I owned a black Dodge Ram pickup truck for years and would probably still be driving around in it if a bus had not ripped the back bumper off it. It is said that a mother knows its child’s cry. I was two blocks away, walking down the street, when I heard the crunching and tearing of metal as a senior citizen bus somehow clipped the backend of my parked truck, and, even with my back to the accident, I knew it was my baby.      If you own a big pickup truck, you know that when you purchase it, the dealer should just give you adoption papers for some third world oil producing country. because as long as you own the thing you are their sugar daddy.   Predicting that gas would skyrocket in the next few months, I decided I might as well get a car. I would love to say a lot of deep thought went into the purchase of my car, but I went with the car that gave me headroom. I am not tall, due to my hobbit arms and legs, but have a long torso. So, in most cars, my head bangs against the ceiling.   I got a Nissan Altima. Before hybrids, after I bought my car, I discovered that there was a whole cult of people that owned Altimas. I would pull up to a convenience store, get out, and hearing someone getting into their Nissan say with a tone of smugness, “I got 200,000 miles on mine. Isn’t the gas mileage amazing?” These are people I normally would hang with, people that would be driving Priuses in a few years and think their flatulence should be sold as cologne, but I was part of the cool kids now and I am shallow.   Today, when I pull up to a convenience store, no one gives me thumbs up.  No one shares with me how their Nissan Altima has somehow defied the laws of thermal dynamics.  In fact, people look at the ground rather than in my eyes. It is easy to understand why.    The exterior driver’s side door handle is broken. Plastic door handles are a great way for car manufactures to save money, but I doubt automobile engineers took winter ice storms into account when designing them. If you live in the Midwest, some winter morning you will wake up after an evening of rain to find your car resembles Princess Elsa’s Frozen castle.   Last winter was one of those occasions. I thought I could open the door, let the car warm up for 20 or 30 minutes while I did some snow shoveling, and be on my way. I remember grabbing the handle and I remember lying in the middle of the street on my back with the door handle still in my hand. I have suppressed the humiliation of falling backward onto the snowbound street.   What did I learn: If you have taken a tumble, part of you wants to just lay there, feeling sorry for yourself all bumped and bruised, especially when you could probably build a snowman with the amount of snow that has found its way into the back of your pants. Your 96-year- old neighbor across the street, who does not look when she backs her car out of her garage, doesn’t care about your pride and dignity. She is going to squash your head like a grape unless you somehow manage to dive into a nearby snow bank, putting more snow down the front of your pants so that your junk resembles some frozen Cro-Magnon hunter-gather incased in a block of ice. I actually have purchased a replacement handle, but have been too cheap to have someone fix it. Instead, I have enjoyed cutting my finger once a week.   The door to my gas tank no longer works. When I first got it you could just flick a switch inside the car and it would open. A piece of metal got bent somewhere and it can only be done manually now.   What did I learn: If a friend volunteers to help you fix it and they pull out a power drill and later start hitting it with a hammer, say stop. No story involving a power drill and the cosmetic look of your car ends well.   If you walk around to the back end you will notice a vertical faint red line and a minor dent going up the back of the bumper and trunk. Not bad enough to fix, but it is there. That is the edge of a snowplow blade. Now you might ask yourself what is the most humiliating way you can hit a stationary snowplow blade?  I was at a social gathering at a friend’s house. His sister, who had been a model at one point in her life, was there. A wonderful time was had by all. I got in my car and began to back down the darkened driveway. As I was backing, I noticed his sister coming out of the house and waving at me. I waved back. She walked toward my car. I put my foot on the brake and rolled down the window to say good-bye to her. She leaned down into my door, and smiled at me. That is when her breast popped out of her dress. Now in rural Iowa, in the wee hours of the morning, you don’t expect to see a model’s breast inches from your face. I was sure it was an accident.  We were both adults. No big deal. I would like to say I channeled my inner-Dean Martin, but instead my inner- Jerry Lewis came out, and flustered, I hit the snowplow blade behind me.   What did I learn: It is probably one of the many reasons my friend does not talk to me anymore. I would like to say that in the future I would be more adult and mature, but I know I would totally hit that snowplow blade again.   If you walk to the passenger side, if you look close, you will notice a bit of brown spray paint alongside the molding. When I lived in Las Vegas, some kids had broken into a foreclosed house across the street, destroyed the place, and tagged several of the cars on the block. It was cheap spray paint. So, most of it buffed off, except I could not get behind the molding.   What did I learn: If you are a bank and some kids have torn apart a foreclosed house of yours, you better pray that the police officer that responds to the call did not have his house foreclosed weeks earlier because he will be be suffering from a bad case of the “I don’t cares.”   I got a dent in the lower front passenger door from someone kicking it while I was inside a store. Another large crease is in that same door from the same parking lot due to a run-away shopping cart on one of the windiest days of the year.   What did I learn: Maybe I shouldn’t shop at that store.   The hubcaps on that same side are scraped up from the brilliant idea of teaching a niece to drive. I told her it was not bad. It was bad.   What did I learn: At one point in my life I would have taken on a gang of heavily armed men and ended the conflict with a couple of lines written for Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t care who you are, a young teenager behind the wheel is terrifying.   Inside the car is the wonderful smell of scuba tanks, wet gear, sweat, and a decade’s worth of dog hair. Plus, there is the microscopic evidence from my two dogs bodily functions. It started while driving through rush hour traffic one February evening. Layla, who was a puppy at the time, is a diva when it comes to the call of nature. The wind has to be right. You cannot be too close. There cannot be any dew or water on the grass. Even then it might take a good hour of her searching for the right spot. She is the Diana Ross of the canine world. I spent a good hour-and-a-half at a rest stop outside of Denver trying to get her to do her duty, of which she showed no interest.    I am not going to say what happened in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I am sure it traumatized the older dog. If Layla had been a piñata you would have struggled to believe there was that much candy inside her. I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned that car over the years and, even though I cannot see anything, I know it is there. There is dried dog slober in the air conditioner/heating vents. I spotted a hairy gummy worm under the seat the other day. At least I hope it is a gummy worm. Change that has been lodged in my seats so long, I am sure a homeless gentleman would not take it.  What have you learned: As long as I still have my car, I will never get a woman to date me.