Monday, April 30, 2007

How I Roll: Part Deux

(This is part two of a series.)

Going from Piggly Wiggly to Food Fair may not seem like a big deal to most, but it was the first move of my career. It meant a higher wage, more hours, and at last, my very first car payment.

As I look back, I realize that my parents either found or handed me down my first four cars. I'm not sure if my Dad had some kind of connection with the crap car black market or what. But in the summer of 1989, the car they found to replace the Monte Carlo was a baby blue 1984 Ford Escort.

The Escort was Ford Motor Company's finest economy car offering. Well, at least since the Pinto. It came standard with a 1.6 Liter sixty-eight horsepower engine, which is roughly the equivalent of three Husqvarna lawn tractors. Mine featured sport stripes down the side and louvers on the back window. Yes, louvers. Back when louvers were "in" of course.

Another feature of the 'Scort was an equalizer for the AM/FM radio and cassette player. Now I don't know if a previous owner removed the subwoofers when they sold the car or what. But the speakers I heard were standard factory speakers, at best. Which made the equalizer about as useful as an extended forecast.

Finally, the 'Scort was stricken with SBD, or Squealing Belt Disease. If you've not experienced this personally, you've surely heard it from other cars. The one and only symptom of SBD is a high-pitched squealing noise, especially prevalent when the car first starts. It can be a bit embarrassing, especially for a 16-year-old in the high school parking lot. But after awhile, you learn to just turn up the radio and pretend you have no idea what everyone is staring at.

There were good times to be had as well. I had my first official pick-her-up-and-take-her-home date in the 'Scort, with the Algebra teacher's daughter. She was also the Physics teacher, which might help explain how I fell asleep at least two days a week and still got an A in the class.

We went out twice. Our first date, we stood outside her house until her Dad starting cutting the porch light off and on, and I ended up breaking my curfew, not getting home until around 1 AM. On our second date, we went to the mall. I bought a New Kids On The Block cassette. And we never went out again.

I was also driving the 'Scort when I began dating Rachel, my first real actual girlfriend. Sometime in 1990, I wrecked the 'Scort, rear-ending another car as I fiddled with my radio or gazed at the countryside or something. It was totaled. Not that it was a bad accident, but as the car only cost $1800 when I bought it, hitting a bird would have probably totaled it.

As I write these posts, I'm beginning to realize they are more about memories of myself and people from my past than they are about any one car. Still as I think back now, I can't help but wonder, were louvers ever really in?

"You're my popsicle. From the very first time I met you girl, you captured me..."


  1. ..."about as useful as an extended forecast."
    WHERE do you GET this stuff?? I wish I had your brain...well, sometimes ;)
    I love your writing...we just don't get enough of it :)

  2. I'm not sure if my Dad had some kind of connection with the crap car black market or what.


    What do you know... another Bone post and TC's laughing a paragraph in. Uff da. :)

    I think most car stories are about the people and the memories you make in them... I mean, really what more do you need to say about the 'Scort other than it was baby blue (haha) and well, yeah, that's enough. :)

    Her mom must have really liked you then, cuz most teachers I ever knew would have LOWERED the grade of any boy who took their daughter out!

    Oh and I don't think you can blame it on the NKOTB cassette (but I'd like to hear how it is that you remember that over some other things...*er*), but the louvers. And no, they weren't ever cool. Then again, neither were mullets...

  3. Love reliving the past with you Bone. This is cool.

    I should take this trip too.

  4. Yes Bone "about as useful as an extended forecast" is a great metaphor for just about anything

    Everything that starts out to be a memory about a material object ends up as a memory about a person, if you're lucky

  5. NKOTB killed your relationship! :)

  6. Great post as always! You've given me a great idea though. How about everyone do a post called "How I rolled" and post pictures of cars we've had in the past? I'll stick something on my blog about it as well but you'll have more success in getting the word out since you have the readership comparable to viewership of Grey's Anatomy while my blog has the viewership of a Ginsu knife commercial on PBS.

  7. Jennifer: Aww, thank you :) I am a firm believer that a colorful analogy or two can liven up even the most mundane of tales.

    TC: Her mom must have really liked you then, cuz most teachers I ever knew would have LOWERED the grade of any boy who took their daughter out!

    Hmm, I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess she did. I don't know how to explain my remembrance of the cassette, except to say that music is very important to me, obviously :)

    Renee: Thanks. You should! I seem to remember a comment from you on my first car post about a car you had but never drove?

    Pia: I guess you're right. It's amazing to me the things I remember once I start writing that I wouldn't have remembered otherwise.

    Sizzle: You're right! I'm sure I'm not the only guy that's ever happened to though... surely.

    J-Mo: Well I don't think I have pictures of any of my past cars. Maybe I could find some replicas in a bad car museum or something.

    LOL Hey, the ginsu is a fine product. It can cut thru a shoe you know.

  8. New Kids were the ending of many a relationship. Fear not, it was them, not you. And hey, you got an A out of it. :)

    Thanks for the guy point of view on my obsessiveness. Patience is not one of my virtues. But I'm really trying!

  9. Sorry to break it to you, but I can confirm louvers were NEVER in.

    I think there are things that are 'memory stickies'. A single object that holds many memories that aren't necessarily related except to the object. My old cars are like that too.

  10. You always have some excuse, don't you Bone? 8-)

    Yeah, she really liked you... otherwise you'd have been flunking, especially as there was no date #3.

  11. what is the point to louvers?

    Seriously. Keep the rain off?

    And I find it hard to believe the girl didn't go out with you again because you bought a NKOTB cassette.

    Because I would've been your girlfriend just so we can listen to it in your 'Scort!

  12. I posted it. I should modify it to say that I never drove the Beetle. LOL!

  13. I bought a New Kids On The Block cassette. And we never went out again.

    Awww . . . I'm sure it had nothing to do with the tape! Now, if it'd had been Paula Abdoul or Tiffany, she may have had just cause. Perhaps she just wasn't woman enough to handle the man that is Bone. It's possible that she felt overwhelmed by the irresistible combination of NKOTB, louvers and the sexy grocery boy smock that I'm sure you sported.

    Poor girl, she was overcome!

    Baby Blue's not so bad - in fact, I'm singing it right now. :) And it's not so bad for a car either. It could have been worse: It could have been Gold.

    Has a more heinous color ever been invented? shudder Maybe it's just me.

  14. Carmen: Yeah, I wound up with an "A" and a NKOTB cassette. I guess that was a decent trade :)

    Lass: Sorry to break it to you, but I can confirm louvers were NEVER in.

    Well, I was afraid of that.

    TC: Maybe she thought if she gave me a bad grade then I'd definitely never ask her daughter out again. Who knows.

    DCChick: what is the point to louvers?

    I assume you mean other than the fact that they're cool-looking :)

    Seriously, I don't know. They were hard to wash and made it impossible to clean the back window.

    If only more girls shared your opinion.

    Renee: Cool! I can't wait to read it.

    Avery: True, it could have been coincidental. There was a smock. A maroon smock. I never wore it on dates, of course. I mean, I would have. But no one ever asked :)

  15. First the tight body and now a smock? YOU'RE KILLING ME! hee hee

    Yeah, I've heard that everyone who's had a stick likes it better.

    The one cool thing I did with the stick that I never got out of 2nd gear was I used to just pop the clutch to start it. Probably terrible for the car, but it was cool and I knew how to do that. I had this one friend who was forever leaving his lights on...and since I was light (under 100lbs) I got nominated to pop the clutch.

  16. Oh, I just thought of something! *eg*

    Maybe she gave you an A because you only took her daughter out twice... O:)

    (I'm officially cracking myself up with this comment even though I suspect you're going to want to do bodily harm to me so that I am unable to comment on your blog ever again.)

  17. I'm not sure that she liked you, but her mother sure did.

  18. OBVIOUSLY aside from the fact that they are cool.

    They are only slightly cooler than those purple tinted window decals that you could "tint" your windows with!

  19. Hmmm, a song I don't know....I'm intrigued!
    I think all Dad's know where to get the craptastic cars!
    I think it's easy to start with something from your past, like an old car, and the memories just start flowing, one leading into the next until you've got an entire post :-) Your memories are great though, and include things like Piggly Wiggly's, which I swear I thought was all just part of Larry The Cable Guy's comedy bit!!

  20. Great storytelling! Thanks for the chuckle

  21. Fun post! I too had a baby blue escort - but it was a station wagon. Not very deserving of louvres. I'll have to do a car history sometime. Oh, and I too am a SBD survivor. 12 years SBD free. I wear a black rubber ribbon in memory.

  22. Renee: Why didn't you get out of second? The hardest part about learning a stick to me was starting off. Once I got going, the other gears were easier.

    TC: Oh no, not bodily harm. That would be too easy. Beware, however, of comment revenge ;)

    Pia: That's how it always was in high school. Mothers loved me. I found how much the mother liked me was normally inversely proportional to how much the daughter liked me.

    DC Chick: Oh gosh. Those were horrid! I had forgotten about those. lol

    Arlene: I daresay if you recognize that song you'd be in the minority :) And no, Piggly Wiggly is real. All too real.

    Sage: Thanks. With a baby blue Escort, the comedy is automatic.

    Balou: Ooo a black ribbon. I like that idea. I thought maybe they'd found a permanent cure for SBD by now, but then I heard a car suffering from it just the other day.

  23. Ahh, the Piggly Wiggly, Ford's Finest and the New Kids. Does it get any more nostalgic? :)