My nerves are shot. DJ’s getting her Learner’s Permit and I’m about to have a stroke.
I was wondering why this was bothering me so – and then I began to assess what was behind my uneasiness. Perhaps it is my own history with the automobile that brought back this unpleasantness.
My brother once owned a 1973 Camaro Z 28. He’s spent his life savings on this car. It was black with a navy stripe down the side. We lived in the very back of our neighborhood on Rolling Hills Road but we could hear Chad coming when he turned off of Village Drive and passed through the red brick Briarwood entranceway two miles from our house. Apparently his life savings wasn’t enough to fund a muffler.
His long hair blew in the wind as he cruised by Terry Sanford Senior High School, a cigarette hanging from his lips and KISS blaring from the radio.
I, on the other hand, drove my father’s hand me down straight shift Dodge Colt. It was white with a light blue hard top. Why was it called a hard top? All cars that weren’t convertibles seemed like hard tops to me.
We lived on the top of a hill, our driveway a steep, steep incline.
One day I was hurriedly pulling into our drive. Little did I know that my bother was barreling down the same concrete slab, in reverse.
The damage to my car was minimal. My dad and I fixed it with a hammer and jar of model paint. But the Camaro was never the same. The trunk had to be tied shut with a rope. And since my brother had invested all of his worldly possessions into purchasing the car, he had no collision insurance.
Boy was he mad. My mother thought it was funny. She has an uncanny ability to find humor at the most inopportune times.
I once lent my car to a friend. She forgot to wear her glasses. She totaled it at an intersection a couple of miles from where we worked.
On another day, Susie McKinney, a classmate of mine, parked right next to me at school. When we arrived at our cars to head home for the day, I commented on her inability to drive. “Damn Susie! Half of your car is in my space. Watch what you’re doing next time.”
I opened my car door to toss my books in the car. Although my butt was on the driver’s seat, my legs were still outside of the vehicle.
I whipped my head around as I began to feel pressure on my legs. Susie’s bumper was meandering down the side of my car door as she turned to back out of her space. My chins and calves were trapped between the door and the bottom of the Colt. The further she backed, the tighter the crunch. I screamed, “Stop Susie!” I’m not sure if she heard me – she may have just been miffed that I commented on her parking abilities.
The next day, I had four bruises – one on the front and one on the back of each leg.
I have more stories of speeding tickets and minor fender benders. One time I won a Ford Aerostar Minivan. I drove with my parents to Charlotte to pick it up. On the way home I was so tired I asked my mom if she’d drive for a while. She agreed and after we ate lunch she took my keys and promptly hit a light post as she backed out of the Hardees’ parking lot.
Again, she laughed. I failed to see her amusement.
I guess I’ve been blessed not to have a serious incident, but each of these accidents illicit a negative internal feeling.
The thought of my kid driving, and in particular having a front row seat to the action, is unnerving.
I will say that thus far she is doing well. I, however, am working on an ulcer.