[personal profile] sinnamongirl
About 11 years ago, I bought a car. I hadn't owned one in years, but she came up for sale and I couldn't resist. A '68 Rambler*, powder blue, 3 on a tree, blocky and old and adorable. I named her Phaedra**. I only drove her twice, once on the way home where she died and had to be towed out to an auto shop; a second time when the mechanic refused to work on her at all and demanded she be removed from his business. This second drive was the most terrifying of my life. If you've never driven (or heard of) a 3 on a tree, it's a 3-speed manual transmission, the shifter being on the wheel shaft***. The car is practically unstealable because nobody knows how to drive one these days. I was given a crash course by the guys I bought her from and sent on my way; this second drive was weeks afterward, struggling to remember how it worked. Plus the brakes were bad, the turn signals didn't work and I kept mixing up my hand signals... and there was no speedometer. I collected my brother to be a pacer car; it was about 8 miles out to granny's house, much of it on busy roads.

The bright side? Every single person I passed over the age of about 50 brightened and smiled and waved enthusiastically as I went by. The down side? Everything else. My brother was supposed to go in front, you know, keep to the speed limit so I knew how fast I was going. But as I struggled with the transmission, he slowed down... and slowed down... and every time he did, I had to slow down too - with no brakes. I spent a lot of time veering into the ditch to lose speed, then swooping back out to catch back up. He'd see me come out of the ditch too fast and speed back up, then lose me and slow back down, so we had this sort of... slinky effect, I guess. Getting onto the highway itself almost gave me an aneurysm, I'm a biological coward, but I got it to granny's safely. I parked it there, intending to work on it slowly, enter it into some car shows, then got a job up in Portland and left.

Cut to about 2 years later, I'm on the phone with dad, wondering if I should sell it or order some parts and start working. My dad wasn't much for advice giving, not one of those dads like you see on TV, kicked back in front of the TV sucking on a pipe and ruffling his kids' hair. His nuggets of wisdom came, say, on the front porch, when he'd crumple up the roll of tinfoil he'd smoked his salvia/weed mix out of, and he'd whisper, "Oh my god, did you see that dragon? It WHOOSHED up the driveway!" When he did give input, it was surprisingly pithy. After a long and rambling deliberation, he cut in with, "Sometimes you just gotta cut your losses and walk away." Granny had been threatening to turn the damn thing into a flower planter, if only she could get the trunk open (it came locked, with some tantalizing rattling noises - never did figure out what was in there), then some old guy came over the mountains and knocked on her door. He offered her $300 for the Rambler, and he'd haul it away any day. I couldn't figure out how to hedge my bet on this one; I'd gambled and lost. I had her forge my signature on the necessary documents, and she collected the money. Next time I came to visit, Phaedra was gone. But I did have $300 (minus the $18 or so I used to buy granny a rack of Busch Light to say thanks for her patience), and a pretty good story. When I could remember it better, that terrifying drive knocked people's socks off. And other things... For whatever reason, girls who are into cars are either fetish territory or automatically suspect as lesbians****, so when I told guys about my cars, I'd get one of two reactions - "Oh my god that's so hot," or "Are you a lesbian?"

One night not too long after Phaedra's departure, I went out to meet a guy... I can't remember his name, actually, let's call him Colin. So, I don't really date to "type." Sincerely and truly, personality and intelligence are way more important than looks. That said, if I have a type, it runs to tall, skinny, fluffy haired, beaky nosed, and covered in tattoos. Colin was all of these things - about 6'4", built like a scarecrow, nose like Pinocchio after 10 lies. So there we are on our first date, having identified him in a bar thanks to his outlandish socks, and we immediately strike up a bizarre conversation where he tells me he's into the arcane. Like, Aleister Crowley type of arcane. Which, fine; I'm an agnostic Quaker Jew, I won't judge. After a few beers, though, he told me his trick to dating - masturbate beforehand and smear the juices all over your underpants. There may or may not have been a spell along with it. Wash your hands so it ain't so obvious, but go out laden with pheromones and you'll be beating the ladies (or laddies) off with a stick. On the walk back to his place, we started talking about cars. Over the Hawthorne Bridge, I waxed poetic, all about my '69 Rambler (that was a Freudian slip if such things exist, as it was a '68), all the way back to his place. After he showed me his collection of occult books and introduced me to his cat, we got a little snuggly. Stayed up late doing some light necking (for real, just making out... I might be fast, but I ain't easy), and the next morning he was kind enough to send me off with cab fare. I used the money for a bus ticket and grocery store sushi, stomach wobbly, head throbbing, the sunlight streaming ice picks into my skull.


*Like this but way more beat up.
**I was pretty obsessed with this song back then.
***I wish Youtube had existed in 2005, so I could watch videos on how to drive a 3-speed manual transmission.
****Let's not even get into the whole gender/sexuality identity spectrum problem here... just a subjective and fast explanation of my past experiences being judged solely on my hobbies and interests.

This has been an entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Please also see my teammates' entries (and vote for us all!), which are: [livejournal.com profile] i_love_freddie, [livejournal.com profile] ellison, [livejournal.com profile] inteus_mika, and [livejournal.com profile] prog_schlock.

What dat Idol thingie?

Date: 2016-02-17 07:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ed-rex.livejournal.com
Still don't know what this LJ Idol thing is all about, but I feel compelled to tell you that I rather enjoyed this entry, whatever it is.

I don't have a fetish for old cars, nor girls who like 'em, but I guess I have a soft spot for both. Anyway, good story, well-told. Even so, it's a shame the damned thing didn't give you a little bit of driving before it gave up the ghost. (I'll always be grateful for the 2 years of service my (then) 18 year-old, 1971 VW minibus gave me.)

Re: What dat Idol thingie?

Date: 2016-02-17 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you! If you keep your eye out, or if I'm able to get a post up while in Puerto Rico, there will be a poll you can vote in :)

Idol is basically a low-key, friendly writing competition. Based along the American Idol idea, where a contestant (or multiple contestants) are voted out every week, so it's like... the last person standing wins. We get prompts each week, and we have to write based on one of those prompts. If I did it right, and I've gotta go back and check, I hit all 4 prompts this week which I'm rather proud of!

I'd have loved to keep that car... Even starting off with the manual was like $80, had to be special ordered, and parts would've brought it up to a ridiculously expensive car. But I would've loved to keep it forever. I still have the hope that someday I'll have a house with a garage and can find a sweet project car to take care of.

It's good to not have that fetish, though a soft spot is fine. I've found in my life that there's a few things... liking cars, liking comic books, and being Jewish, that can all be fetishized. It makes me highly uncomfortable. But, if it means I've got something in common with the person and it's simply an interest for us both, it's totally fine.

Date: 2016-02-18 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
I loved this. I had a '74 Volvo I adored. Fun read and great humor! Enjoy Puerto Rico! It's one of my bucket list destinations!


Date: 2016-02-21 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! I like those old volvos myself. Puerto Rico is pretty awesome, you're gonna love it when you get here!

Date: 2016-02-19 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
That car sounds alarming. Blocky and cute kind of paled in the context of "no speedometer" and "brakeless." Holy cow!

That guy you had a first date with... charming. Or maybe would have been, without the oversharing? Sounds like it went okay between the two of you.

Date: 2016-02-21 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Yeah the car had its downside s for sure. The guy was okay, we hung once or twice after that and somehow just failed to click. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Date: 2016-02-19 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lordrexfear.livejournal.com
Dang for finding ways to hit all four prompts. I'm lucky I could wrap my head around 2.

Well written too cause I like the story. It's a good thing to don't date to type though, I don't fit yours AT all... 5.7.5, broad shouldered and muscle and big even when "thin", blah blah.

Anyways, good stuff. Also my "sister" loved driving stick shift with triples. She was raised in Tennessee and is about 55 now so she grew up on it.

Date: 2016-02-21 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
It was weird, i saw the prompts and it just clicked in my head. I think dating to a superficial physical type is a recipe for constant disappointment. I dated a guy who looked like Meatloaf, another one who looks like a small town redneck complete with cop mustache.... personality trumps looks. Thanks for reading!

Date: 2016-02-20 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You tell a GREAT story. This was too much fun. Especially as I had a '70 Maverick with three on the tree and I was the only one out of our group who could drive it so I was always designated....Damn. THEN I bought a Lincoln w/suicide doors and everyone wanted to go places in that car for the sheer enjoyment of arriving and once again, I was DD.

Nice work on the prompts! You make it seem effortless.

Date: 2016-02-21 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you!!!! This one fell into place for me, ich ost

Date: 2016-02-21 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Crap, my tablet is messing up so ignore that other reply. Anyway, suicide doors are awesome, i used to drool over those. Thanks for reading!

Date: 2016-02-20 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inteus-mika.livejournal.com
That Phaedra song is super trippy. I love this slice of life story. I generally appreciate a good non-fiction story over something made up.

Shima had an old pickup with that 3-speed transmission we used for hauling stuff around the farm... I learned to drive on that thing, so I'm not sure I'd realized it was so uncommon, but, then, there are a lot of things that are still plugging away as best they can out in the sticks - it's kinda the nature of the beast. In my experience, in those older cars, you can usually get into the trunk through the back seat.

Sorry you have to be put up with issues related to gender stereotyping... seems that's kind of the way of things, too, around here. Sad but true, though I would love to live in a world where things were different. You never say what happened with "pheromone dude" ...I'm guessing the next day he didn't seem as cool?

Fun story... thanks for sharing!

Date: 2016-02-21 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thanks for reading! Ive definitely seen a lot of random vehicles out in the sticks, if it keeps running it sticks around. I hung out once or twice more with that guy, but we didnt quite click. Something seemed a bit off, if i remember right, but that was so long ago...

Date: 2016-02-24 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I forgot one part! When I drove it home the first time, I had to go right past my aunt and uncle's, so I stopped to show it off (so I guess technically I drove it thrice, just... one drive was in 2 parts and it actually died and drifted down the road on leaving their house).

Anyway, my uncle was totally enthused and said his parents' Rambler's seats basically folded down into 1 big bed inside, so he was poking and prodding and prying and couldn't get the back seat to fold down at all.

Later someone gave me a Rambler back seat. Just a spare one they had around, because that's something people have? But it was black leather, and my interior was like a picnic-blanket pattern almost, definitely didn't match. And I wasn't there when they dropped it by, so Granny stuck it in the back seat of Phaedra. So there was a back seat on top of the back seat, which always struck me as funny.

Date: 2016-02-21 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com

Great use of all the prompts , they really fit effortlessly..:) I enjoyed reading this a fun-filled memoir ...Good job! Kudos!

Date: 2016-02-21 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you!!

Date: 2016-02-21 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
This was a great story -- just reading about driving it is frightening! With no brakes, that car sounded like a barely guided missile just looking for a crash landing. This was a lot of fun to read!

Date: 2016-02-21 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! Ive seriously never been so scared in a car, even going so slow. You know how in a dream you cant run and everything is weird and slow motion and molasses like? It felt sortof like that with the added fear of the traffic around me.

Date: 2016-02-22 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
Why do guys have a hard time believing girls could like cars? My niece took a year of mechanics in school simply because she loved cars and was broke and tthought it a good idea to learn how to fix them. My father was a mechanic and taught me a few things too and we used to play 'name that car'. Besides- haven't they ever seen My Cousin Vinny? Marisa Tomei knew her stuff! (Laughing)

I liked this piece a lot! Thanks for inking! Peace~~~D

Date: 2016-02-24 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
It's bizarre to me. Especially the guys that think I'm saying it just to impress them. Those ones piss me off.

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the late comment, but tech-fail.

Date: 2016-02-22 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whipchick.livejournal.com
I really want to know what was in the trunk! Great sense of nostalgia :)

Date: 2016-02-24 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Me too ;) If I'd been a faster thinker, I'd have called the guy up or written home (his info being on the receipt granny gave him) and asked.

Wonder if I actually have that receipt somewhere still...

Date: 2016-02-22 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prog-schlock.livejournal.com
Oh dear God, three on a tree. So insane. They really wanted to make that a thing for a few years.

I like how both your Rambler and your date had a sort of beat up, naive charm to them. And his method of seducing women... uh, ewww. It must have worked for him, but yuck.

Great entry - hope you had a fabulous trip!

Let's take a moment to celebrate the great boat-sized cars:

Date: 2016-02-24 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I like that "beat up, naive sort of charm" line, I think it's very apt!

Great song choice :)

Date: 2016-02-22 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fodschwazzle.livejournal.com
What is going ON with that last paragraph? I love it! It cements some of the pacing that already existed while shoving the whole thing into a blender. I don't know about that advice, though. Very fun piece.

Date: 2016-02-24 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Hahaha... I focused on your first sentence and almost didn't see the "I love it" part so was like OH GOD I FAILED ;) I'm really glad you liked this post, it was one of the very few that clicked into place mere seconds after reading the prompts, but I didn't have a lot of time to polish it so was nervous. Thanks for reading and for your comments!

Date: 2016-02-23 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
Aw, I wish you'd had more time with Phaedra. And I hope the guy who bought her treated her right.

A great read!

Date: 2016-02-24 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm sure he did; from what I hear he was an older guy, middle-aged or more, and was real into cars. Stopped by a few times and said he noticed her sitting there every time he drove by, so he was yearning for her and could treat her right (I hope).

Date: 2016-02-23 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] favoritebean.livejournal.com
Oh man! This is hilarious, if only because for years I heard my mom talk about the Rambler being her most hated car in the history of all the cars she had to drive.

I remember the first time I saw a 'three on the tree' in action too. It was in India, where those cars are still heavily in use.

Great piece.

Date: 2016-02-24 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Hahaha, your poor mom. I tend to go more for muscle cars or like... honestly, the Edsels. Love those. Duesenbergs. The... one I just forgot the name of... but Ramblers are cute in their own way! I feel for the countries where they're still in use, though if I'd just had more time with it, I feel it would've been okay.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Date: 2016-02-23 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dee-aar2.livejournal.com
What a great read ... And all 4 prompts ... yayyyy ... I love those old Volvos too ...I think I remember my dad having one ( by the way I suck at cars and their names and shapes ) ... have to go back and see if I have some images of that.

Date: 2016-02-24 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Yes all 4 prompts! First time I've done that!

I actually remembered - WELL after it was too late, that I still have a flickr account, and I have a picture of myself and Phaedra. That would've been nice to remember when I was posting it ;)

Myself and Phaedra safely in Granny's driveway.

edit: Also thanks for reading and commenting! Sorry for the late reply, I had a technology fail while on vacation.
Edited Date: 2016-02-24 09:36 pm (UTC)

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