I was driving my minivan down the highway through stop and go traffic in the pouring rain when it started to act up. It being the only car we own that's both reliable and practical for my family of six. My husband has a 1966 International Harvester that does currently run (this week at least) without a working gas gauge or windshield wipers (but I think we all know those are optional). We have two old Volkswagens decorating driveway that are undriveable. And my oldest is between cars, having sold his a few days before to buy his first car (a 1972 Scout) back from the guy he sold it to. (I had just dropped my oldest off at college for a class when the car trouble started.) Fortunately, I managed to make it home safely. Unfortunately, the auto shop couldn't even look at it until Monday. It was clear we'd have to rent a car until the minivan was fixed.
My husband reserved a sedan over the phone, but when we arrived at the car rental office (in the Harvester, in the rain, without windshield wipers) to pick it up, there weren't any available. All they had was a Ford Focus, which barely has room for a family of 4, let alone 4 teenagers. The only other option was a big ass truck. Which we originally declined, until the clerk said she'd give it to us for the same price as the sedan we'd originally reserved. And bonus, it was available immediately and seated six. My kids are going to be so excited. And then dejected when they find out that the rental contract forbids them to drive it.
You may not know that the only thing that unifies my kids is their new found love of country music. (Which, by the way, I hate.) But, now they have something else to bring them together: their shared love of this big ass truck. And blaring country music from it's superior sound system. I've never felt more like a stereotype. While I'm talking about stereotypes, driving a really big ass truck around town makes me feel like I have a small penis. Except, this shifter isn't particularly emasculating. It's actually just a wee little knob. Which is a huge let down: to have so much power under the hood and yet, to feel so ill-equipped at the same time.
So, there I am, driving a big ass truck. Towering over other cars. Occasionally, accidentally squealing my tires and then cowering from embarrassment in the cab. Because, especially when I burnout, I know other drivers are judging me for thinking I'm a bad ass with a small penis. When I'm just bad at driving this big ass truck (apparently, I don't need to give it that much gas to get it to go.) I'm just trying to get my kids where they need to go without killing anyone. Which is harder than it sounds when people look like specks from 3 stories up in the driver's seat.
And pulling into a parking space? I can't even see the lines from the cab. I'm so worried I'm going to hit another car, which is why I usually park on the far outskirts of the parking lot about a mile from my destination. But, sometimes, I have no choice. Like when I took my daughter to her basketball tournament last Sunday and by half time of the first game she'd already lost her water bottle. So, I got in the truck and ran to Trader Joe's (the nearest store) to get her a bottle of water. Do you know who's at Trader Joe's on a Sunday afternoon? EVERYONE! Leaving me no choice, but to carefully park the truck next to other cars in the lot. Then, when I came out, I performed the slowest, most painful 30 point turn known to man to get out of that parking spot. Without bodily harm or collateral damage of any kind, may I add. Of course, by the time I returned from this pilgrimage, my daughter discovered her water bottle was inside her sports bag all along.
On Monday, the auto shop called. Not only do I need a whole new, very expensive transmission. It's going to take 7-10 business days for them to complete the work. And I'm going to be driving this big ass truck for a whole other week. At least.
I'M NOT MOTHER TRUCKING KIDDING YOU!