Oh Look! A Meme

I saw it at Jay’s. Here’s the rules.

So here’s the meme. Long answers or short.

1. What was your first car? Model, year, color, condition?
2. What adventures did you have in it, good or bad?
3. What happened to it, what’s the end of the story?

1986 Ford Thunderbird with the V6.  It was white.  My parents bought it in 1987 from Hertz.  It had spent the first year of its life as a rental car, but was in pretty good shape overall.  It had a cigarette burn in the back seat from one of the renters.  And since my dad is so very fastidious  (you could real that as anal and still be correct), it was actually in better shape when it was passed down to me when I turned 16 in 1994. He’d even added a peculiar tape deck that only played through the rear speakers.  I learned that if my timing was just right, I could do interesting mash ups with whatever was playing on the radio and the tape player.

I obtained my drivers license the day after my 16th birthday.  Would have been the day of, but alas, my birthday was on a Sunday that year.  So on Monday, I pried my night shift working dad out of bed and we headed down to the testing place.  I had already gotten permission to skip school that day.  Test passed and I was a newly minted driver.  I dropped my dad back at the house and headed out.  By the time I had returned from the first solo drive, I’d named the car.

From that moment forward, the ’86 T-Bird was named “The Nude.”  Because I found it endlessly entertaining that I could go to school in The Nude, work in The Nude, and even drove to church in The Nude. My parents just rolled their eyes at such shenanigans.

There were many adventures had in The Nude.  And more than a few car accidents, only one of which I was at fault.  Once, a woman pulled out in front of my so close that I hit her front passenger side quarter panel.  We proceeded to pull over to the side of the road and had the most interesting conversation.

Her: I sorry. I sorry. I no speak English

Me: ok. (assuming that meant she had very limited English skills, like maybe she understood louder, slow English) Do you have insurance?

Her: *blank stare*

Me: Hang on. (At this point, I head back to my car to retrieve my insurance card and show it to her)

Her: Oh! (and she dives into the passenger side of the car and comes up with an insurance card)

About this time, the flashing light arrive. It just so happens to be the officer that had given me my very first speeding ticket. We all called him ‘Officer Manure,’ just not to his face.  I tell him what happened and explain that she doesn’t speak English.

Officer: (Apparently, also assuming she would understand loud, slow English) Ma’am, I’m gonna need to see your drivers license

Her: *blank stare*

Me: *stiffling the giggle*


Her: *blank stare*

Me: giggle-snort


I duck into my car so the officer doesn’t notice that I’ve erupted into a giggle fit.  He continues to repeat himself louder and slower, his Yukon drawl becoming more and more pronounced. I take my time in retrieving my own license and eventually show it to the woman.

Her: Oh! (and again dives into her car.)

The officer raises his eyebrows and looks at me.  I shrug.  Shoes, hair spray, and a few badgers are thrown out of the car in the lady’s rummaging. The officer looks on, bewildered. She emerges, triumphant clutching a document the size of a post card. The officer and I trade confused glances.  I indicate that maybe he should look at the document.  He proceeds to take it from her, then shakes his head and hands it to me on the way back to his cruiser so he can drive away. Apparently, I’m on my own.  I look at the document in my hands.  It is, and I am so not kidding, a Polish drivers license.

Me: *blink*

Her: *grinning like a loon*

I write down what I can figure out from the license and copy down the insurance information.  She’s got a decent sized dent; I’ve only got a scratch. I just needed something to show my dad so I would be in trouble for scratching the car anyway.  And I just had to have some kind of evidence to back up my story.  She pushes a piece of paper at me with a phone number written on it.

Me: thank you

Her: *grins and nods* Husband truck driver *points at paper* number

Me: You’re husband is a truck driver, and this is his phone number?

Her: *knods furiously*

I hand her back the license and insurance card.  She gets back into her car and drives away.

The phone number was legitimate, and her husband sent me $300.  I have no idea how he arrived at that sum, but I didn’t really care.  It had cost me the price of a can of spray paint and my dad’s grumbling to fix it. My dad kept the money, but I got a good story out of the deal.

The nose heavy rear-wheel drive car was known to get squirrelly in inclement weather.  The morning of December 30th, 1996 was cool and drizzly.  A friend and I headed out early to get our liquor licenses so we could take the evening shift at the restaurant serving the New Year’s Eve crowd. Because when you are cute and 18, you can make serious bank in tips if you can serve alcohol on New Year’s Eve. My friend had been in an accident a week or so prior and was still suffering from back pain, so I drive since The Nude rode far smoother than her 68 Malibu. As I was merging onto I-40, someone cut into my blind spot forcing me to swerve at the last minute.  And The Nude spun.  we did 2 360’s right there on the east bound side of I-40.  Each rotation bringing us closer to the median.  And then into the median.  I watched as the chunk of plastic on the front end that housed the headlights and grill flew off the front end and cartwheeled to a landing beside the car.  We spun twice more in the median coming to a rest perpendicular to the flow of traffic. Thus ended the life of The Nude. And I missed out on New Year’s Eve tips.


5 thoughts on “Oh Look! A Meme”

  1. I’ll bite. First car I owned was a silver (the gold one was just butt-ugly) 1994 Ford Escort (4-door version…yeah…such a chick-magnet, I’m still not sure why I was single for so long.). Say what you will about Fords, that little car took me on many a camping trip into the mountains, driving up 4WD trails (4-wheel-drive is just a state of mind!), and more places than most folks’ SUV’s could even dream of these days. I managed to drive it far enough to have it die and coast in to the pump at the gas station (put 13 gallons of gas into a 12-gallon tank….go figger) on a cross-country trip (one of many). Slept in the driver’s seat of that car on at least three cross-country trips when all of the hotels/motels/inns and one-hour boom-boom joints were all booked up (yeah…I quit looking when that last seedy-ish “motel” informed me they usually only rented by the hour, not by the night). Drove that little car for about 10.5 years, and when the guy at the Toyota dealership offered to give me $1000 sight-unseen as trade-in value on my first Tacoma pickup, it was a sad day but I had to jump on it. The guy was desperate for a sale, I guess, because he came back in from inspecting the car, and didn’t look quite so happy…later on he let slip that it was going to get a quick wash, oil change, and stuck on a truck and shipped down to Mexico. My first three speeding tickets were obtained in that car, and I found out that Escorts weren’t designed to go above 95mph…especially when traveling down a very winding 4-lane highway that crosses a mountain range in Hawaii (lots of cliffs and jungle on either side of the road)…the crotch-rocket being driven by a friend of mine, whom I was racing, was more suited to the job (found out later that I was chasing the wrong motorcycle…he was about 10 minutes behind me, crawling along at the posted speed limit, with a cop on his tail the whole way. Ha!). And before anyone tells you that you can’t jump-start a motorcycle battery with a car, lemme tell you that it IS possible. Probably not incredibly safe (something about higher voltages, explosions, hot battery acid and flaming gasoline spraying everywhere, Hollywood-style), nor sane, but *possible*. Of course, when you’re young and dumb, anything is *possible*.

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