Okay, I’ve been all Drama-Mama. Even I’M tired of it. After the cumulation of this week’s woe, I was ready to spring back like a downtrodden dandelion.
Given, that is, the right circumstances.
First the exposition: we live in a type of neighbourhood where people don’t personally fix their own car. Surely I’m exaggerating. No. I am not. I’ve lived here for over two decades. I’ve seen men wash their cars with great ritual. I’ve even once witnesssed a guy changing his back tire. But I’ve never seen anyone other than my husband fix their vehicle on their driveway.
My dH–he of the clean white nails and fancy tie–can change both back brakes in a little over an hour. I know this because once he starts I usually have enough time to have a shower, blow dry my hair, tidy the bathroom and consider my eyebrows before I have to sit behind the wheel and put pressure on the brake pedal. “Put your foot on the brake. Have you got your foot on the brake?”
I’m lucky, aren’t I? I’m the girl whose husband has a car sensor. We never pay exorbinant mechanic bills. It’s a win-win, right? Well, there’s just one tiny flaw. If a guys really, really handy with anything mechanical, he gets kind of…mulish…about losing to a car part he can order online at a 70% discount.
Bottom line: Our cars can’t die. My husband forbids it.
It becomes a battle of wills between Mr. Fix-it and the Car Gremlin which eventually erodes to a comedy of epic proportions as the car ages. The more the car gremlin spits in his eye, tighter clenched jawed he gets. Out comes the tools, the jacks, the red scootie-bed-thing.
I wish he’d give it up because it’s becoming clear that we really, really need a new vehicle. This is not a vanity issue. Our cars are aged 12 and 11. I pointed out that the summer is coming and the heater on the driver side of the gold car only blows out hot air. “No problem,” he said before disembowling the dashboard.
It’s not really a cricket rasping its back legs but it sure sounds like one. Whenever you hit a bump or brake the gold car chirrups. Loudly, gayly, impudently. It’s the most annoying thing you’ve ever heard. Recently, my son drove the gold car through downtown Toronto traffic. He turned to me and asked in quiet horror, “Do you think they can hear it on the street?”
Me to husband that night. “I’m not driving the gold car anymore.”
Husband: “Why not?”
Me: “It chirrups.”
Husband: “No problem–”
Me: “Then you drive it.”
He spent the weekend fixing it. Making it all nice and shiny, and to his ears–cricket free.
“I fixed it,” he said, wiping his hands. “It’s good now.”
“May you live happily ever after.”
“Great. I’m still not driving it anymore.”
Tonight he came home, got changed into a t-shirt and a pair of jammie bottoms, and then disappeared into the garage. Half an hour later, he asked me to help him.
He was outside on the driveway, crouched by the gold car. Wearing the flannel pants he refuses to answer the door in. “I need to find the squeak. Get in the car and drive it five feet forward. Brake. Then reverse it ten feet.” He waved me into the driver seat then knelt, ears cocked. “Go ahead.”
I’ve lived with him for 28 years. I got in the car and drove. Back and forth. Forth and back. Car chirruping.
“Stop!” He lifted his hand. “When you brake you have to make sure that the back wheel is right in front of me.” Just in case I needed a pictogram he did one of those you’re-the-plane, I’m-the-guy-with-the-orange-vest” hand motions.
I stared at the top of his head. “You know, I could run over you. It could be one of those death by accident deals.”
“You won’t run over me.”
“I’d like to.”
“Back and forth. Make sure you stop exactly–”
So that’s what we did for twenty minutes–once again, firmly cementing our street reputation as the odd couple. Him on his knees in his flannel jammies, head cocked like rover. Me at the wheel going up and down the driveway. Braking hard enough to make the car squeak.
Tonight, the squeak won.
But I warn you, Cricket. He’s coming for you.