Friday, May 27, 2011

Fun With Dick (Bro) & Jane (Mom)

The "Boltmobile" as I like to call her.
Logo has been blurred to protect my secret identity.
I worked until five this morning and then got roused from a solid sleep by Bro who called shortly before nine to make arrangements to accompany me to the garage.

My truck needs work done to pass safety inspection, and my usual mechanic was kindly offering me a rental in the meantime since it’s going to be Monday or Tuesday before I get my own wheels back.

I pried my eyelids open and collected him and a coffee at Timmy Ho’s. We dropped off the car and picked up the keys to the rental.

“Which one is it?” I asked the guy behind the counter, and knew I was in for a treat when I heard his reply.

“The one with the lightning bolts on it.”

Bro took one look and started in with the commentary, something which was to ensue for the better part of the day.

“What a hunk of junk. It’s got GARBAGE in the back!”

In all fairness it did not have garbage in the back. What it did have were plastic green lids to two garbage cans in the back.

Bro wrestled Da Nephew’s car seat into the backseat and I climbed into the passenger side, since my sleep quota is sadly lacking again this week and I wasn’t yet awake enough to drive, despite the caffeine.

“This car is hardly a good rolling advertisement for car maintenance,” he observed. It was a massive understatement.

The garage’s logo, complete with lightning bolts, and slogans and phone numbers covered the station wagon’s white exterior on all sides, but even if we could get past the gaudiness of the car – and we couldn’t – it was still horrifying to behold.

The front windshield was cracked almost completely across just below the wipers, and the interior was filthy and reeked of cigar smoke. Ashes and dirt appeared to cake every surface, and was swirled throughout the interior and onto us because we needed to keep the windows down in order to breathe.

“I’m embarrassed,” declared Bro as he pulled out of the lot. “I’m gonna have to duck down at traffic lights.”

I laughed because he was dead serious and I was feeling pretty much the same way. “Hopefully no one we know will see us.”

We hit the Bedford Highway and Bro started bitching. “This car is uncomfortable.”

“Don’t I know it,” I said, trying and failing to not actually touch anything. I had running around to do and didn’t want to have to shower every time I got in or out of the vehicle.

“The armrest is uncomfortable and the center console is too high.” We hit a traffic light and he ducked down lest someone see him driving The Boltmobile.

“This thing is held together by the dirt,” I realized. “It’s Dad’s hat!”

Dad used to have a crazy looking, favorite and supposedly lucky hat. When he used to win at darts his opponents would snatch it off his head and stomp it into the floor in frustration.

After two decades of smoky bars, bad weather and no care whatsoever, my Mom could no longer bear its sight or smell and threw it into the washing machine. With all the grime removed, the hat completely disintegrated and Dad has never really forgiven her for it.

“Adhesive filth,” Bro agreed. “We’d best not wash the car.”

“We need gas,” I told him.

Bro raced for the next light, lest he be shamed into stopping where people could see him again. “I’m going. I don’t care if we get hit.”

He whipped up around the corner and we started up Flamingo, a long, steep hill. “This is a Rolls Can Hardly.”

I don’t know who came up with that expression but it was appropriate. This car rolled down one hill but can hardly get up the next one. Compared to my zippy 6 cylinder truck riding this thing brings back longings for horse and buggy days.

We finally reached the gas bar and when Bro tried to yank the key from the ignition he found another thing to critique.

“Even the damned key is backwards! This car makes no sense!”

He climbed out to pump the gas and when I exited to pay he was bitching about the rust.

“What rust?”

“When you remove the gas cap there’s rust everywhere. Enough to fill the tank with it! Is that a car part?” he asked, peering into the cargo area.

“I’m sure it’s not a car part,” I said, coming over to have a look. “It’s a car part.”

“Must have fallen off and they threw it in the back.”

I paid the $20 for the gas and came out to find him shaking his head as he sat behind the wheel.

“Listen,” he said, preparing to shift into gear. “I’m going to hit the brakes.”

He applied pressure and the brakes groaned loudly in protest. We were laughing in horror by then. He cranked the wheel to the right and it let out a shriek for good measure.

“Don’t tell Mom about this,” I warned him, since we were headed home to pick her up prior to running our errands.

“Oh no. We’ll share the joy,” promised Bro.

We parked at the house and headed into the building.

“What the hell are you wearing? A gold lame coat? What are you? Solid gold dancer?”

It's LEATHER damnit! Not lame!
“It’s LEATHER!” I told him indignantly.

We collected Mom, and the stresses of the past two days combined with lack of sleep were clearly getting to her on the elevator ride down.

“I want to sit home and drink and watch the hockey game tonight.”

“I could use a drink myself,” declared Bro. “A few actually.”

“Yes we’ve earned that this week for sure,” said Mom.

“You have no idea,” said Bro.

I resisted the urge to poke him in the ribs, and he handed her the car keys so she could drive. We stepped outside into the morning sun and Mom finally spotted The Boltmobile parked in our usual spot.

“Screw that!” she said, and threw the car keys away.

Bro scooped them up and we laughed at Mom’s revolted reaction to our temporary ride.

“I wouldn’t have even taken it!” she snapped. “It stinks in here of cigar smoke.”

“But we have this cute coconut scented pine-tree-shaped air freshener!” replied Bro. “That ought to help.”

We ran our errands and I finally decided that enough was enough. It was my turn to drive and I was no longer keen on the novelty.

“I’m over the entertainment value of this car. Maybe we should get a real rental.”

“When’s our truck going to be ready?” asked Mom. “We need to know how many days to rent a car for.”

“I dunno. Call the garage.”

“What’s the number?”

“It’s painted on the side,” said Bro as I pulled onto the highway to head downtown. “Everyone stick your heads out the window.”

While he and Mom tried to crane their necks to find the phone number I watched the speedometer struggle to reach minimum safe cruising speed on the highway.

“This may have not been the way to go,” I warned them. “I’m not sure this car can do 100.”

Other, better, bigger and less interesting vehicles blew past us and we finally reached the exit we wanted, only to get held up at a light.

“Get out and look for the number,” I said, and to the amusement of other drivers Bro did just that, reading the phone number off the side of the car.

By the time Mom called the garage we were all laughing like idiots, along with anyone else who had been caught at the light with us. Between guffaws Mom managed to find out that my truck will be ready hopefully by Monday, and Tuesday at the latest.

“What did he say when you were laughing?” Bro wanted to know. “Did he laugh too?”

“No,” replied Mom. “I don’t think he liked it very much actually.”

HE doesn’t like it?” asked Bro incredulously.

We walked into the car rental store only to find out that (a) the girl behind the counter has a sick sense of humor and (b) there are no available rentals and a waiting list of 38 people ahead of us.

“I like it,” she said, when I pointed out the Boltmobile to her and cited it as the reason I wanted something else. “I’d totally drive it.”

But alas she was unable to offer me an alternative and left with no option we headed for the mall in our rolling eyesore. Bro finally got into the spirit of the whole thing, waving and saying hello to pedestrians from his open window.

“Go to (insert name of garage here)”, I said, shouting alongside him.

“Stop it!” snapped Mom, and she was laughing but unable to control us.

“He should be paying us to drive around in this,” replied Bro.

“It’s free,” answered Mom. “He’s not charging us for this rental.”

“Like I said, he should be paying.”

We hit the mall and each went our separate ways.

After stopping for coffee Bro found me at the checkout in the bookstore.

“There you are. No trouble to find you with that gold lame coat.”

The salesgirl started giggling.

“Oh please don’t encourage him,” I begged her. “He’s been at it all day.”

Meanwhile Mom had dropped off some paperwork regarding her pension only to be insulted by the receptionist behind the desk.

“Did you fill out your name and social insurance number?” she asked.

Mom resisted the temptation to reply “Duh” and slap her upside the head. “Of course I did.”

The girl opened the sealed envelope to check for herself. “So you did. Good stuff.”

“Did she think you were senile or what?” I asked when Mom told me this later.

“I don’t know. But I want to cry. I just want to sit and drink and cry.”

Apparently Bro will join her, and they will watch the Bolts and Bruins game until the wee hours. Alas I cannot join them. I go to work at midnight and work until eight in the morning.

“We’ll be going to yard sales in this tomorrow,” Mom told me after we had dropped Bro off at his house. “You’ll be driving.”

But tomorrow night I’ll be drinking. A lot.


  1. Sounds like a marvellous piece of rolling machinery you have for the weekend. At least you do not have to pay for it and you get a laugh or two.

    Yep could be worse they could be charging you for it.

  2. As Monty Python likes to sing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". I'd never pay to actually drive this thing. Never.


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