Friday, May 05, 2006

Wheels and All

The fastest car in the world is a rental.

Forget your Ferraris, Porsches, Bugattis, Abschiedsmusik and Pasta Al Dentes. I’m talking ’76 Dodge Aspen, as long as Avis holds the title. Strangely not so with my current rental, but more about that later. We first found the joy of abject rental speed running cars between two major North American cities in the late seventies. Airport to airport, we gave 24 hours of Lemans a run for its money with our spirited sprints up and down the circular ramps of the airport parking garage. If we’d have done what we did with rentals a few latitudes more south, we could have legitimately claimed inspiring Nascar.

As it was, we couldn’t consume that much liquor and drive. Also, we had too many of our own teeth.

Ah, and we could spell.

Spelling: I’m riding around right now in a PT something or other. It’s designed to look retro although it needs no retro firing devices to slow it down since simply turning on the air conditioner will slough off ten to twenty miles an hour. The easy acronym for PT is, well, too easy, so let’s just call it my little rented Porcelain Tub since that’s what it handles like, an inverted version thereof with wheels.

I’ve had a lot of rental cars, most of them silly little sub compact jobs that are more likely to wind up mashed in the wheel wells of full sized pickups than actually out on the road. My first rental was an 84 Ford Tempo that I got in Wisconsin. The right turn signal was broken so in order to get it to flash, I had to jiggle the signal stalk the way you’d jiggle the handle of a runny toilet. The comparison was appropriate. I drove the bridge by the lake in Milwaukee in March and one gust of wind damn near took me off the expressway.

I got upgraded to a four wheel drive SUV in Cleveland once and decided to try its potential out.

Uh, sorry about the lawn donuts, but it seemed fun at two in the morning. Most things do, come to think of it.

I ride around in two very distinctive vehicles when I’m not renting something to abuse. One is a little European sports sedan with a five speed and a six cylinder. I call her Lolita since I succumbed to her fully loaded siren song and my wife at the time was not there to pour cold water on my head and hot oil on other parts to calm me down. Every man should shop for cars with their spouse since we, the men of the world, are clearly idiots when it comes to the purchase of motorized vehicular transportation.

Note that I call it what it is. Not wheels, or a ride, or a lifestyle choice. It’s motorized vehicular transportation and looking at it in that light is as much fun as thinking about sex as procreation for the purpose of offspring.

A car is an extension of many things which is why wives are needed at the car dealer’s lot. It keeps you from getting into trouble with that extension the way you tend to get into trouble with the other one.

We bought an SUV once showing the perfect yin and yang of the married couple buying a car. While I rolled my eyes in the back of my head, pointed, drooled and said monosyllabic things like “Want truck. Want nice truck now” my wife lied about the price another dealer had offered us for the same car. I got “nice truck now” at a cost below both of us had expected. I often pat myself on the back for this strategic role playing success when I am feeling particularly delusional.

My other car is an old beater of a pick up truck. I love it in a strange but non perverted way, before you go there. It runs well, doesn’t leak any fluid unless it rains and I accelerate from a stoplight to dump about twenty gallons of water on the Lexus behind me. Heh heh heh.

I also like to pull up alongside new BMW’s and see how close to cowering I can get their drivers. Scratches and dents? Hell. My truck’s scratches and dents have scratches and dents.

All of this bumpkin bravado is of course offset by the fact that I double the thing’s book value every time I fill up.

But both my vehicles are at home right now and I am running around in the Porcelain Tub. Its meant, as I said, to look like a retro ride from the thirties so in the spirit of the thing I stashed some homemade gin and a Tommy gun in the back seat. Saturday night I plan to use the secret password at the speakeasy and plan the next big bank heist.

Or maybe I’ll just get a pair of spats. Rent them of course.
Bunny on.


Blogger Thimbelle said...

When I met The Wrench, he owned a pickup truck such as yours...

His name was Fred.

Fred was trustworthy, hardworking, and hideously LOUD.

In a moment of madness, TW *gave* Fred to a guy he worked with... I forget why.

Along the way, TW has also owned various Loti, a couple of English Fords, and of all things, a Jensen-Healy.

But I'm the one who still gets the better price at the dealership, along with mopping up the drool. Once we select the model we want, TW and The Twinkster are banished to the parking lot, else their sighs and jumping up and down in excitement *distract* the sales personnel.

12:44 AM  

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