If it has tires or testicles, it’s going to give you problems. The bumper sticker was catchy, and summed my life up to a capital T. I reckon I’ve had as many relationships as I’ve had cars, and at the age of 62 years, that could really add up. Fortunately there had been no major car accidents and only a couple of divorces.
I’ll always remember my first. It was a used Toyota station wagon, a god awful brown, definitely not a cool vehicle to be driving. But the price was right and it was the best I could afford after finishing college. It was good on gas, held a shitload of stuff in the back, and served me well for as long as it lasted.
My other first was somewhere between summer vacation and an alcohol induced haze in the 1970s. Too many lemon gins, ‘panty remover’ I think they called it back then. It obviously worked, but at least I still had the car and never had to see the guy again.
I was determined, my next set of “T’s” would be better. In fact, stayed married to the guy for a whole two years and drove his light blue Monza, that semi-looked like the closest thing I’d seen to a sports car. We were casually sitting watching the Oscars on TV when he turned in the academy performance of his life.
“ You’ve found another woman? Get your ass out of here and I’m keeping the car!” I drove that sucker into the ground, neglected oil changes and any other maintenance. It just seemed the right thing to do. When it died on the side of the 401 in rush hour traffic, I didn’t care.
It was time to start anew, find something with class, a good engine and was sporty. Oh yes, I found it in a second generation used Camaro, the last model with the long hood. It had a V-8 engine, blue racing stripes down the side, and was ridiculously fast. As I pushed the gas pedal, that guzzler sucked back on the fuel gauge as dollar signs spewed out of the exhaust pipe. I was making decent money at work, and life was good.
In the meantime, there were no men causing me problems. Perhaps, that’s why the Camaro was my favourite. Unfortunately back then, I never found a man worthy of being in the passengers’ seat for any length of time. Sometimes life is like that, but being single was cool and I did a lot of test drives.
When the Camaro sighed its’ last breath, I decided after considerable debate, that a virgin was in order. A brand spanking new white 1986 Toyota fit the bill. With popup headlights and a retractable sunroof, I was in heaven. It was good for the first few years, but perhaps the sun beaming through the roof addled my brain. Once again I found myself hitched as in wedlock. Perhaps lock is the keyword here.
The car worked well, the spouse not so much. I actually kept up the maintenance contract with this car, and tried to be supportive to my oft unemployed husband. But damn, if you can’t even fill out your unemployment forms correctly, some things need to be left behind. The difference this time, I had a child to consider.
My next two cars were as cheap as I could get them. The first was a Hyundai, eight years old, a bargain at $3,000. The only kicker, it was a standard. I’d never driven a standard before, and refused to take it on a test drive. Sometimes I can be bullheaded, a bit of a know it all, or at least pretend I am. I’d figure this out on my own, without anyone watching.
I paid for the car, jumped into the front seat and lurched out of the dealership parking lot. I checked my daughter frequently for whiplash as I depressed the clutch to change gears. Later on the expressway, I realized it actually had a fifth gear. Something most of the men had been lacking. That smooth ride that lowers the RPM’s and still keeps the motor revved.
That car lasted four years. In the meantime, there was no testicular activity accosting my single status. After all, I had a child and responsibilities. The next car made me rethink my past. Here I was, teaching my now 16 year old daughter to drive a newer but still used Hyundai, standard. We practiced in the library parking lot, worked on using the emergency brake and easing off to start from a full stop on a steep uphill climb. She aced it like a pro. A chip off the old block methinks. My genes, not his!
I’ve given up the whole testosterone thing, had a few high test jobs where I had to grow my own set of balls to deal with great and not so great men in the workplace. But for the most part, steered my own path to where I am today. Happy, confident and driving a brand new Hyundai. It was my second virgin and it has awesome tires.
Damn, my heart still yearns for that Camaro. It was a really hot car, sleek and silver, and when I think back so was I. Now I have the silver, mixed in with the gray, and sweet memories of those test drives.
Connie Cook lives in Port Credit, Ontario, and when she’s not working at her real job as a Registered Nurse, aka the one that pays the bills, she writes. She’s been a frequent flyer at Brian Henry’s courses and credits the classes for her development as a writer. Connie has had short stories published by Pacific Magazines, Commuter Lit, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Royallite Publishers and most recently Feminine Collective. Her novel Diana Darling Private Detective is currently under a final re-write. (Or so she hopes!)
"Vehicles and Men" was previously published in Feminine Collective. For information on submitting to Feminine Collective, see here.
See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.