Princess Muse

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Musings about Cars

Sadly, I'm not getting a new one anytime soon....but I'm thinking about them....

When I was in high school, I took the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.  Despite not understanding the wonder of the combustion engine, I scored in the 95 percentile on the Trade Technical portion--the portion about mechanics.  The only question I remember is "The carburetor is located next to what part of the engine?"  I only got that question right because I was currently taking Driver's Ed.  Now, it's all on computer and I have no idea what is next to what, or even how to change the oil.  All I really know is that you stick the key in the ignition, turn it and the engine comes on.  Gas pedal is for going and brake pedal is for stopping.  I don't even drive a stick-- I had a boyfriend who tried to teach me once, but it was on his new car.   I was petrified of stripping the gears, so after one lesson, I refused to learn anymore.

When I worked for GMAC in Glen Burnie (later, Linthicum), Md., cars were not the topic of discussion in the Break Room. The Orioles, new finance packages Detroit came up with, yes.... cars, not so much.  (This was in the Dark Days, after the Colts had been stolen away by Bob Irsay and before Art Modell brought his team)  When I transferred down to the GMAC office in Raleigh, NC, I learned to be concerned with how GM cars were faring in the various NASCAR races.  First thing the guys would do upon entering the office was head for the Break Room and find a copy of the News & Observer and check the Sports Pages.  If more GM cars were in the standings than Ford, it was a good day.  It was a really good day if a GM was ranked higher than a Ford.

One of my favorite shows is BBC America's Top Gear.  I don't get to watch very much right now, and I haven't seen the History Channel's American version. I love the goofy races they set up:  the race across Sub-Saharan Africa in junkers.... the race from Miami to New Orleans in junkers.... the Demolition Derby in junker RVs... the "who-can-get-there-fastest" races between sports cars, bullet trains, or anything else.  It's such a guy show, if you know what I mean, but it's fun.

My dream car is a Ford Mustang convertible.  Odd, I know, since I'm a Chevy girl at heart (despite driving a Toyota now and a Mazda Protege in the immediate past), but I think that the whole Mustang mystique overshadows the whole Ford thing.  When we went to Oahu a couple of years ago, we only rented a car for one day.  I told Ken I didn't care what kind of car it was, as long as it was a convertible.  When we went down to the parking garage to pick up our car, Christopher (aka Younger Boy) took one look at it and said, "Oh, Mommy, that car's not our style at all."  I laughed and replied, "Oh yes it is, baby.  You just have no idea."  By the end of the day, he was converted.

When I was younger, my dad had a Triumph Spitfire convertible.  Baby blue.  I loved that car.  Daddy didn't drive it very often--not really a practicable car for a family, but when he did, he always took me  and my brother out in it.  Sadly, he had to sell it when we got back from Germany.  My aunt didn't drive stick, so it hadn't been driven in three years and was going to need a lot of work.  I almost cried when the father and son he sold it to came to pick it up... the quintessential Father and Son bonding experience.  My only consolation was that it was going to be loved.  Of course, I almost cried again when my dad told me that if he hadn't had to sell it,  I would've been able to drive it when I learned how to drive.

When I was in college, I wanted to get a Jeep Renegade.  Garnet, with gold pin striping.... cliché, I know, but it would've been like driving around in a little bit of FSU all the time.... sadly, I didn't have a car until I was a Senior, and it was my mom's old Chevy Cavalier hatchback.  With no air conditioning.  You don't know what misery is until you've driven around in Tallahassee, FLA in the summer with no air conditioning.

If I have to get a practical car, my next car will at least have a sun roof.  Or a moon roof.  I'm not sure what the distinction is, but I want one.  And a really good sound system.  Yeah, I'm not real clear on the term practical.  As long as it doesn't break down every five miles, I'm good.  And a compass.  So I know what direction I'm going in.  And air conditioning.

Time to go aMuse myself on the car sites.  Zoom zoom.....

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