Monday, July 18, 2016


I was invited to go to a ladies' weekend in Keystone for a wine and jazz festival.  It was just what I needed, time away from the kids, up in the mountains with girlfriends.  But, it was also the weekend of a huge milestone for my oldest; he was buying his first car.  I was crushed with guilt that I wouldn't be there to witness his proud moment.  But, I was also glad that I wouldn't be there to teach him how to drive it.  Because, although my son has his license, his new car had a manual transmission and we'd never taught him how to drive stick.

Maybe I wasn't so crushed after all.  

When I returned home from a relaxing weekend, I saw it in the driveway among the other classic cars.  After I looked past the '77 VW bus with a defunct engine.  The '66 International Harvester with newly refurbished but not yet tweaked DIY brakes.  And my mostly impractical '69 Karmann Ghia that seats two both uncomfortably and unsafely that my husband drives to work every day because the other two vehicles are still unroadworthy.  And my son's "new" '72 Scout.  Why didn't we teach him to drive on a stick?  Because looking at my driveway ornaments, it seems pretty obvious and inevitable that he'd fall in love with old cars just like his father.

I couldn't wait til my son got home from work so I could congratulate him on his new car.  He couldn't wait to work on his car.  So, my husband, my son and I went out to the driveway to help him check the timing.  That's when my son handed me the keys to start the engine.  I would've normally declined such an invitation anxious that I'd screw something up.  But, with my husband under the hood, I was the only other driver experienced driving a manual.  So I did.

You know how temporary insanity is a thing?  I suffer from temporary idiocy.  I'm normally a fairly intelligent level-headed person.  And then given just the right situation mixed with my anxiety and impulsiveness and I snap and become an absolute  idiot.  Like that time I bought my family super cheap tickets to London because I didn't actually purchase the return trip.  I have a pretty sizable stash of other examples of this debilitating condition, but I think what comes next will suffice.

I put the keys in the ignition and it started right up.  And began lurching forward.  Hurling directly toward the back of the Ghia my husband surprised me with for my 40th birthday that was parked in the garage.  And crushed it.  Did I mention the name of my Ghia was Crush?  I'm not even joking.

Clearly, something was wrong with my son's car.  

Except of course there wasn't.  Not only did I fail to check that the car was in neutral, I also had my foot on the brake instead of the clutch.  (Please note: I've driven a stick for 30 years.  I also learned on a stick at age 17.  And this is after I flew a plane by myself at age 16.  Amazingly, I didn't crash the plane because I'm actually intelligent and capable sometimes.  I SWEAR!  Also, I put this part about the plane in so I could feel better about myself right now.)  There is something inherently wrong with me.  And that thing is temporary idiocy.  

And I'm crushing it!

ADDENDUM:  The important thing is that no one was hurt.  My son's car is completely unscathed.  And the Ghia did not go completely through the wall into the family room on the other side of it where my girls were watching Baboon Queen on the National Geographic Channel.  Not knowing the real Baboon Queen was outside putting on her own show, until it was over and done.  


Nathaniel Edwards said...

What a good read, sorry to hear about the accident though... one of the first vehicles I drove was an old Int. Scout... also had a 71 bus, drove a 67 beetle, had a 78 Scirocco... lots of fun, if occasionally frustrating them Volkswagons... again great read.

Marie Loerzel said...

@nathaniel-I knew I liked you! And thanks so much!

Nathaniel Edwards said...


Nathaniel Edwards said...



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