Ugly Volvo Wednesdays!

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Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover in Recovery)

Chapter 39—Nice Car, Can I Have Your Phone Number?

The young boys really liked my car, and more often than not, they got pretty freaked out once they realized they were racing a woman several years their senior. I guess I reminded them of their mom, in one of those excitable moments a young man rather not be reminded of his mom. Nevertheless, I like to think I had a hand in helping them learn just a little bit more about themselves.

The men my age (and older) also really liked my car. The guys my age needed a moment to process the conflict between what they had come believe what a fast car was and my car, while the older guys were much like my dad—they had long been fans of my car’s reputed safety and stability so find out that there was also a sleek look and remarkable speed did not seem so much a stretch.

The male attention my car helped me garner was one big circle of karma. I freaked out the young boys, I shared confusion with the men my age, and the older men just kind of freaked me out with their unsolicited attention. I decided to let go of both extremes and just enjoy the awkward advances of the men my age. I had never really experienced this kind of notice and calibre of flirting before. These guys actually wanted to talk car, and I could keep up. Sometimes I did more than just keep up.

One such time was when I dated a mechanical engineer. He was a bit of “Fjord” (post colonization) fan and saw the differences between my beloved import and his beloved domestic as subtle at best. We would engage in lively discussions during our time together.

He was a funny guy with a dry sense of humour. He offered to teach me how to drive a standard transmission—he called it “a stick”. I thought perhaps he might offer me another perspective, or new technique so I took him up on his offer. It had been a while since I drove “stick” and I was keen to revisit my shiny blue youth.   If he seemed a little chagrined with what could only assume was my natural ability to drive “stick”, I didn’t notice at first because I was having too much fun.

This mechanical engineer, I thought, might have been trying to a little ironic when he offered to teach me how change tires. I thought, perhaps, he was pretending to have difficulty getting the lug nuts off just for instructional effect. That is why I showed him my special technique that I developed using the special torch arm my dad gave me for my 21st birthday. I think he might have even said something really sweet like “wow!”

Undeterred by my mechanical-savant savvy, this engineer decided to help me learn how to change my engine oil. I thought it was just plain adorable when he was explaining to me how to prepare the oil filter. Certainly he missed a few key details for my instructional benefit, so I reminded him before he continued with his oil change. Our lively conversations seemed to be slowing down with each “lesson”.

During one particularly quiet drive home I realized that this guy’s humour was not so dry as it was kind of sullen or even sulky. Was he always this brooding? Perhaps he was starting realize that I had the better car, and was feeling a little sorry for himself. I really was only learning about all the vagaries of the male human species. When I dropped him off at his place, he had difficulty finding the door handle in my car. I am a sucker for irony, so I found it hilarious. I tried to point it out to him: the humour in the fact that a mechanical engineer having difficulty finding his way out of a car. He was not amused. His ears turned shades of red that really seemed inhuman. His face puckered into a withering grimace. Once I reached across and helped him with the door, he offered me a cold, kiss-less and clipped “good night”. It was the last time I would ever see him. It turns out that I inadvertently trampled all over this guy’s deal breaker. He wanted a girlfriend primed and ready to bask in the light of his intelligence and instruction. It is a shame, because I was looking for a guy who could really enjoy working on cars, and celebrating the many ironies in life.

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