Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Car Trouble. (Or, Can You Drive With Your Nose Up in the Air?)
There's a commercial on television that shows young girls playing. The voice over talks about how she was your friend when you were young and how together you got in all kinds of trouble that your dad secretly laughed about. The commercial urges you to call her.
Whenever I see that ad I think of my childhood best friend. Except that there is no way that I could ever call her. Nor would I want to. When I was thirty I made the mistake of marrying her brother. Eighteen months later he had a new girlfriend and I was asked to leave.
She never spoke to me again. She never called during the divorce process to say...what? Anything, I guess. She could have said she was sorry that I was going through a hard time, without being sorry for being related to an asshole. Assholes, by the way, were in extreme abundance in her family. That was ten years ago.
I was relieved after my divorce to move away from my hometown so that I wouldn't have to run into any of the ex's relatives, most especially my childhood friend, and to a lesser extent, her parents. But five years ago we moved back. I'm just blocks from my high school alma mater. I can refer to the house I live in by the name of the family who we bought it from and people know where I live. Last month I skipped a funeral where I knew my ex or members of his family would be, but otherwise our paths don't seem to cross.
Two years ago I was in a car accident. I was in Milwaukee, about 90 miles from home, when a woman ran an intersection and T-boned my car. The police officer took me to a car rental shop and arranged for my car to be towed to the auto body place. The car rental agency sent me home with a PT Cruiser.
If any of you own PT Cruisers or are fond of them, I apologize in advance. I don't like those cars and having to drive around in one for six weeks didn't improve my opinion of them. Call me snobby, but I was embarrassed to be seen in the car. Had it said "LOANER CAR" in great big letters on the door that would be one thing, I probably wouldn't have minded. But as it was, when I had that car it looked like it was mine own. My taste.
My daughters take dance classes at a studio that shares the building with a gymnastics company. One night after dance class I saw my childhood friend's husband watching their children in gymnastics. Every week after that I tried to time my exit so that I wouldn't run into them, rushing my girls out of their dance shoes and into their parkas and fleeing for the parking lot.
One night the timing was off. As I was getting into my PT Cruiser, I looked up and saw an enormous Cadillac Escalade parked too close to my passenger side. Inside was you-know-who staring down at me and my little PT Cruiser.
I've no idea what she was thinking. I don't know if I imagined scorn or ridicule. It was the last time I saw her in person.
The question at the end of this story is: Who is the biggest snob?
I think, though I would never never ever want to be seen in an Escalade either, the answer is probably me.