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.


Claire said...

Then you and me both, because I'd be FAR more embarrassed to be seen in an Escalade. Ick.

Dr. Zaius said...

PT Cruisers rule!
While Escalades drool.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm with you sister. Escalades are a microcosm of what is wrong with the whole enchilada.

Sorghum Crow said...

Anyone who drives an Escalade is making a statement. That statement is in fact, "I am a wanker."

Fran said...

You have the gift of story Jess, especially when expressing something like this.

When we were in California this summer our rental car was a PT Cruiser, so I hear you. My stepdaughter called it the clown car and felt like it was not the coolest thing to be seen in while driving around LA.

That said, the kid HATES Escalades. So there. I think you know.

Escalade? WTF does that mean? Nothing good, that is for sure.

Anonymous said...

She was sitting in an Escalade. She deserves your scorn.

lahru said...

anyone who would pay $12,000.00 extra to get a Chevy Tahoe with added chrome and a few Cadillac thingy's embroidered on the seats is....... how does someone so dumb get enough money to even buy a Caddy?,

Karen Zipdrive said...

When I see an Escalade I think gangsta rap artist with a truck fulla guns, crack and porn.

Dean Wormer said...

I dunno but every time I'm driving my 15-year old daughter somewhere and we see a PT Cruiser she punches me in the arm and says "PT Cruiser, you're a loser."

Whiskeymarie said...

I've never cared all that much what people think of my car, but having said that, I would NOT want someone thinking I drove an Escalade. Or Navigator. Or Hummer.

I'd rather they see me driving a rusted out 1985 Honda. Or a Yugo.

Suzy said...

Let me just say that I drive one of the coolest cars on earth so I can look down on everybody else.

I wast struck by your lead up to the question. Great story ... and SO familiar when you live in this town! There are days when to go grocery shopping feels treacherous; you have no idea who you will meet in the next aisle, but you can be pretty sure you don't want to see them, sometimes anyway.

When our youngest kid went to kindergarten we were amused/horrified to run into a guy who was in another eighties rock band that was something of a rival to Ed's; he was enrolling HIS daughter in kindergarten too. This story has a happy ending, however. Our kids became friends and we became good friends too. We forgave him his big hair and navel exposing shirts, and all is cool.