In California ‘car’ and ‘status’ are synonyms. I drive a 19-year-old Toyota wagon. NO status, yeah (…and I dare ya to throw a massage table AND a tent AND an inflatable kayak WITH paddles AND a backpack jammed with pots, pans and clothing and even MORE into your family sedan!)
As a Wagon driver, I readily admit my limitations. No squealing ‘round the corners like a stuck pig in a pink haze of Porsche wanna-be illusion for me!
So it was particularly satisfying to find myself waiting sedately at a stop light not even thinking of racin’ when up pulls some kinda sedan who squeals to a stop and chafes beside me, engine revving, obviously ready to race da tortoise off da line.
Now, soft: I am NOT above a little light racin’. Especially when it’s a Toyota sedan huffin’ and puffin’ alongside me, driven by a zitty teen pimping for a little action. The fact that he’s challenging a 19-year-old Toyota wagon powered by automatic-shift, 6-cylinder engine driven by a 56-year-old girl obviously means NUTTIN’ to The Flash huffin’ for action alongside me.
So I’m checking out this competition through carefully cultivated ‘eyes-ahead-but-slanted-sideways’ glances, and I observe something that looks like a huge booger in his nose but upon more checking is actually one of those nose studs, and there are dragon tattoos (or some likeness thereof) racing down his left arm (ooooh – am I scared yet?? NOT!), and a baby face that attempts to look fierce but is only pulling off ‘ridiculously funny’ in my book.
And I confess, ribald laughter from my car is only causing his engine to huff, puff and rev more fiercely even though he can’t confirm he’s actually the wellspring of my mirth.
NO problemo on the race piece. I know this stoplight very well; so even as I act nonchalant and make NO eye contact with the pimply perp beside me, I am furtively downshifting my auto trans in prep for an off-the-line coup. Especially sweet since HIS lane merges into mine only a few feets ahead.
The light changes EXACTLY at the second I know it will, I step on it seemingly nonchalantly and effortlessly (i.e. with NO squealing tires: just an awesomely powerful 6-cylinder surge forward), and the teen, apparently caught off guard admiring his nose stud in the rearview mirror, finds his path of glory not only blocked by moi, but the jeep in back of me (obviously just as seasoned), who has also contrived to beat him off the start line, forcing him two cars behind us both! I am sure he sulked as he revved his manly sedan the entire 3 miles up the double-yellow-line, single-lane road with NO chance of exacting passing revenge. (Tip: admiring your looks in your rearview mirror is totally inappropriate pre-race behavior, and contra-indicates a win!)
I laughed myself silly all the way to the coffee shop even though as I sedately pulled in, PimplePerp roared past me and JeepGuy flashing something which looked awesomely like The Finger.
Is this where “revenge is sweet, sayeth the Lord” kicks in? Me: still laughing.
MADE. MY. DAY.
Jeep thrills from California, land of Diane’s rockin’, near-antique wagon!