There’s an old joke that goes, “We bumped into some old friends yesterday, my wife was driving.” Ba-dum-tish! Dudes love to rail on women’s driving skills, with my father being no exception: “Women driving minivans are the WORST!” he always complains, punctuated with an eye roll. What he fails to understand is that many of these women are moms who are multi-tasking behind the wheel: one hand sticking a straw in a juice box; the other hand shoving a pacifier in a screaming baby’s mouth; one foot filling out a field trip permission form; the other foot dumping Splenda in a large Starbucks latte. Which means the minivan is actually driving itself! True story. So if anyone is the bad driver, it’s the Chrysler Town & Country. Uh-huh. Bet you’re eating your words now, huh, Dad?
In my dad’s defense, however, he has always praised me for being a good driver. And I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m his look-a-like baby girl. (The nurse’s first words when I was wrangled from my mom’s womb: “WHOA. She looks just like her dad!”) Okay, so maybe being his mini-me has afforded me some fatherly privileges here and there (DAD: You can either go to college or get a car. Which do you want? 16-YEAR-OLD CANDY: College. DAD: All right, you win: you can have both.), but to be perfectly honest? I am a good driver. Yeah, that’s right, I’m tooting my own (car) horn. Unlike many families in which dad is The Driver, I am usually the one who drives Mr. Candy, Skye, Skye’s posse of dolls and myself around town. I love driving. I am confident and alert on the road, with nary a car scratch on my driving record —
— Until three weeks ago.
Yes, people. It’s bad. Like, REALLY bad. Like, so bad that I-couldn’t-even-bring-myself-to-write-about-it-until-now-bad. The brand new Lexus SUV we bought to replace my less family-friendly convertible…? As in so brand new that a couple of tires were practically still attached to the car assembly line in Canada…? Yeah, that brand-spankin’-new SUV. Well, the environmental gods put a curse on me, wherein I unwittingly misjudged a tight turn in our building’s garage and the curse forced — yes, forced! — the beautiful, new vehicle to scrape the pole next to our parking spots.
No, more like WRAP itself around the pole.
That scraping sound will forever haunt my dreams. Even worse than nails on the chalkboard. Or Paris Hilton’s baby voice saying, “That’s hot.” Turns out, the most gut-wrenching sound is that of $2,800 for a new door on my new car, plus my stellar driving record, being flushed down the drain.
I honestly thought I was going to throw up.
Having exacted their revenge, the gods then decided to get a few chuckles at my expense by saddling me with the Rental Car from Hell: A Kia Rondo Wagon that reeks of cigarette smoke (a lovely aroma for a pregnant woman with a hyper-sensitive nose), requires me to step on the brake approximately five miles before my intended end point and, best of all, is equipped with a moody stereo system that completely goes out with a loud POP! if I so much as drive over a pebble — and randomly comes back on at full volume (once it’s had time to regroup with a relaxing cocktail, I guess).
“No biggie. I’ll be getting my car back soon, anyway,” I shrugged to the cats, who flashed me a knowing look that laughed, Yeah, right.
I’ll be damned if those cats weren’t right. It’s been three weeks since I uttered those foolish words; the door has been on back-order because they don’t have any 2011 parts on-hand. I mean, who would need a new door for a vehicle THAT NEW, right? Except for a woman who lost a battle with a freakin’ pole.
Great. Now I’ve armed men with yet another bad joke: “We tested the sturdiness of the pole yesterday, my wife was driving.” Wah-wah-waaahhh.