Sunday, June 08, 2008

Alert Neighbors Know My Ratios.

How's that for a newspaper headline?

As the youngest kid in a family of "Car People," I learned to drive earlier than most and was countin' they days 'til my sixteenth birthday a couple years in advance. I mastered the manual transmission before I mastered Pre-Algebra. I remember drivin' a red VW around in the yard with one of my friends from elementary school, it must've been around fourth grade or so, 'cause we went to different schools in fifth grade and kinda lost touch.

My birthday is in November, I got my license the Monday after I turned sixteen -- tenth grade. Between getting a license and getting a diploma, I showed up at school in ten different cars. I loved the little black truck I got for my birthday, but I also loved just about any chance to park it and hop into somethin' else for a little while.

The black '91 Ranger. The orangey-red '78 Fiat (which occasionally led to walkin' with Fiat keys and a Bass Trombone, because the trunk wasn't big enough to close with the Trombone Case inside). The red Geo convertible (doin' sixty in that felt about like doin' 120 in anything else). The black Bronco II (AC-DC's "Jailbreak" always reminds me of that one). The Bandit Trans-Am (same one My Mom took me to my first day of kindergarten in). Mom's '75 GMC. Dad's red '92 F-150 (the one I crashed my first Christmas Break in college). The black & grey 80's F-150 with the high-output 351 in it. The red '87 Suzuki Samurai (which was simply too short to sling out sideways in the gravel like the Ranger would). And last but not least, the white '91 Escort 2-door that taught me the difference between Rear and Front wheel drive. Heh. Even though it's a four-cylinder and a five-speed just like the Ranger, there is no way to make it sling sideways under power, no matter how hard ya pop the clutch. Heh heh.

Time to cars, that works out to a ratio of roughly two-point-five to ten.

Ain't much changed over the years; I dearly love the SHO that I got for graduation, but I still get a real kick outta parkin' it for a bit to drive somethin' else. Mom says it keeps the miles off the "good cars," that's why her "good car" is in the garage while she's drivin' her $400 truck. When I met Clayton, I was drivin' my grandma's bright-blue '96 Ford Contour. Well, the night we met, I was drivin' a diesel Ford pickup with a race trailer hung on it, but when I parked that, I hopped back in the little car, anyway.

Clay's neighbor has a little boy who's about four years old or so (I say "or so" 'cause I know I'm bad at guessing ages) -- he knows what's goin' on outside his window, I'm guessin' he's the best of the best when it comes to Alert Neighbors. Friday morning, I took the SHO to the Ford dealership for that Cruise Control Recall -- when I got to Clay's house that night, the little man pointed out the window and said "Clay got his other car back!!" I love that car so much, even a preschooler knows it!

That may not seem like much, but in the light of my "time to cars ratio," he's good! Clay and I have been together for almost three years -- it'll be three in July. In those not-quite-three years, I've showed up here with a lot of cars!

My Green SHO. Grandma's blue Contour. Mom's burgundy $400 '96 Ranger. Dad's white '03 F-150 "7700." The white '92 F-250 Diesel that I used to pull the race trailer with. The Ambulance. The blue '93 Taurus Wagon from Cra!gsL!st. The green '95 Windstar with the odd-colored front end parts (and "No Bells = No Fair" on the windows). Dad's white '91 Bronco that I borrowed while it was icy (that was the night The Black Keys played in Tulsa). The burgundy Taurus that I washed in the driveway 'cause it was naaaasty inside. The red '03 Mustang that I was driving the night we went to see The Gourds. And the Mark 8, which I got right after the Mustang sold in November and drove 'til I got the SHO out Thursday evening.

Just under three years. Twelve cars. Two-point-eight to twelve. Heh.

The Mark 8 has been consistently "the other car in Clay's driveway" for a solid six months after a string of others; but a four-year-old still remembers the Green SHO.

That kid will be a "car guy" in no time at all!!

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