If I’d been born a boy, I would’ve been a total gearhead, and am happiest behind the wheel driving anything, anywhere. I don’t know if it’s the driving or the going that’s most satisfying, but both at once? Oy, heaven. When I was young I generally always drove a little too fast and imprudently, and got a ticket for that once, Failure to be Reasonable and Prudent, that was the actual charge. The cop informed me that was what they hand out when the offense isn’t quite bad enough for the Reckless Driving jackpot.
The first car I was allowed to drive didn’t exactly set the road on fire, though. My dad’s beloved ’66 Corvair had all the torque of a sewing machine.
So, 14 years old, Saturday afternoon with best friend Nancy, driving by the house where the absolutely most cutest boy in class lived and just happened to be in the yard with his friend, the other most cutest boy in class. We didn’t exist in their world which was pretty liberating actually, permitting us to indulge in dunderhead behavior trying to get their attention without all the risk of actually getting it.
By this time I knew I was ultra talented with the clutch and hardly ever killed the engine when the light turned green. Of course this allowed us to drive ultra fast past his house with Deep Purple on 11 and hair streaming out the open windows looking ultra sexy. My extra smooth driving skills at their peak, I missed second gear and hit fourth and we drove by lugging the engine at 15 mph with no hope of going any faster, at which point I dropped it back to first and we bunny hopped by his house, teeny tiny Corvair engine screaming pain and humiliation along with Nancy.
It’s probably a good thing Dad garaged the fragile little Corvair because I would’ve killed it, but that meant I inherited the vast 1970 Ford Sturdywagon with its very own snotty Republican bumper sticker. However, it also had an 8-track, which made up for some; the fact you could pack 15 people and a pony keg in it made up for the rest. And it taught me an incredibly valuable life lesson I’ve used a lot: knowing your ground clearance is a good thing.