Thursday, March 4, 2010

The disrespect of the mighty Woo

I drive a 10 year old Daewoo station wagon. I don’t love it or hate it – it’s just basic transportation but good enough for my minimal needs . The fact is I just do not pay a lot of attention to the care and feeding of my car. It has 4 wheels and runs (most of the time), a windshield (most of the time), doors that open, (most of the time) and that round thingy poking out of the dash that helps you turn - to radio stations?

Much of my attitude is my parents fault! I know it is fashionable these days to take personal responsibility and I preach it all the time but honestly, this one is all on my folks and they know it. When I was growing up, all the other kids were crawling under their familial machines getting soaked in oil and messing with hoses, wires, and car stuff. A lot of the Dads liked those kind of repair teaching sessions and passed their interests along to their kids.

I can only recall one time helping my Dad hold the door open on his van while he pulled out a heater control cable. Now mind you I said ‘PULL OUT’ the van’s heater control NOT replace it. We lived in California after all, so when the cable control broke “who needs a heater?” my father reasoned. You probably already noted that my job was to simply “hold the van door”. The reason for that was the normal detent hinge clip that keeps car doors partially open when required, was already broken and most likely removed as well?

You might think this PARTICULAR van was an anomaly and I am exaggerating for dramatic license. No, I recall on a fine Plymouth that my Dad purchased used and cheap, literally had the headliner falling down in our faces whenever we braked? Even he felt guilty about its horribly faded dull black paint, so he INVESTED in a new pastel TURQUOISE paint job. Color choice aside, my favorite memory of this machine was peeking in between the paint on the poorly masked windows and scraping that weird green paint off of the rusty chrome parts. It could have been a lot worse. My Dad's dad (my grandfather) proudly brought over his own van to show off. He had HAND PAINTED a racing stripe all the way around the thing with LATEX house paint - brush strokes and all! I know what you are thinking - must be a paternal gene mutation, poor kid?

No, that's not the problem as my Mother's history is not pure and without blame as well. While she always seemed to have the “better” vehicle of the household at any given time, she also was not overly concerned with mechanical perfection. If the car continued to run and as long as parts would fall off ‘quietly’so as not to rile my father, then that was fine with her. She only needed (and still only needs to this day) a gas pedal, a brake pedal, one AUTOMATIC gear each of forward and reverse, a steering wheel, and maybe a single roll down air hole of some sort for sunny days. It is immaterial what the thing looks like or if the clock is correct or air conditioning exists. The car does not even need a gas gauge since after every 50 miles or so, a mandatory trip to the pumps is required for a fill-up "just in case".

Now you compassionately understand my tortured youth, unreasonably devoid of parental car acumen. The world and NATURE ITSELF also haunts and disrespects my Daewoo to this day. Once I came out of a meeting to find a huge BOULDER on my dented hood. Yes it was probably hooligans but it looked more like an alien meteor to me? A year after that, I came outside to find that a giant tree limb had smashed a head-sized hole through my front windshield. I still chuckle at the thought of coating the windshield with catsup and driving around the neighborhood just for attention. Once I got the window fixed, I drove for months holding up the rear view mirror in my hand when I was curious what was out back. Whenever it gets really cold, the door locks will freeze and the car will not let me get in the front doors. So imagine my gentle grace as I butter-up and contort my body through the back hatch of the car, snaking through voids, impaling my ample girth on headrests and that stupid rear view mirror again. It is not a pretty picture.

So despite my whining, really "the Mighty Woo" and I were made for each other. We don’t expect much from each other (except for that clown-act exercise routine when the locks freeze). If the heater doesn’t work I have gloves. If the horn is misbehaving, I can yell. If the transmission won’t move until it warms up – I have the time to wait. We don’t much care what other people think - clearly we’re a match made in heaven! Uh, well maybe it’s not heaven – it seems awfully hot in here?? … Can somebody open the windows please?? – WHAT!? What do you mean they don’t work?

1 comment:

  1. As an amateur psychologist, I read this author as a Howard Hughesian type -- inventive, but eccentric. The type who probably looked out the window in Mentally-Gifted Minors class and rather envied the "ordinaries," who don't trust people like him. I'd guess he prefers Robots who act like eople far more than People who act like Robots. I'll keep reading, (and laughing) because he is refreshing. More, please.