Kinda sorta. My Dad bought me the perfect car for a sassy girl like myself. It had attitude. It was fun to drive. I could fit a bunch of friends in it. Not such a perfect car, it turns out, for a terribly incurable flirt though.
It was maroon in color with black interior. It had a V8 engine. Boys loved it.
I’ll never forget the day my Dad came to pick me up from school in it. I was in 10th grade. Technically it was probably not supposed to be drivable at that point. But he had to see if I liked it. I came out the front doors of the school and saw him standing there next to it.
Walking up to him I asked whose car this could possibly be.
“Yours if you like it,” he answered.
My first thoughts were something along the lines of, “Holy COW! Dad is going to *buy* me a car?! He must have gotten a good deal on it!” You see, it really pays to be the third child. My older sister had gotten one grandma’s car, a 1972 brown Cadillac. It moved and it had wheels so I guess it was a car but it was really, in all other ways, a boat. My older brother was the lucky recipient of my other grandma’s car, a 1960-something Plymouth Valiant. Dad gave him a sweet black paint job though so it actually wasn’t such a trial for him. And truly, my sister’s Caddy wasn’t such a trial to her either. She had a very thankful attitude about it. But by the time the driving world welcomed me into its sacred fold there were no cars from grandmas left to inherit.
So Dad showed up that day with my 1975 Dodge Dart Swinger.
After telling Dad that I definitely did want this vehicle for my own, he had it overhauled. When my father bought this car for $900 it needed some work. He had the whole engine completely rebuilt, he had it painted, a nice stereo installed and he had the interior replaced. When it was done it was one sweet ride.
I went with my Dad to pick up the newly refurbished automobile. When we got the keys we both went over and sat in the car to turn it on for the first time so that my Dad could make sure that it was up to snuff. As the engine turned it made the distinctively loud rumble (that heavenly sound) that is definitive of a V8 engine. He looked at me, stuck out his tongue and got a crazed crossed look in his eyes and began to feign drooling. He then regained a bit of his composure and gave me this very wise piece of advice, “If you ever let a boy drive your car and he makes this look, ” he then recrossed his eyes, raised his eyebrows by a few inches and wagged out his tongue again (just in case, I suppose, I had forgotten which look, exactly, he was referring to), “WATCH OUT!”
I took that piece of advice and filed it nicely in a library catalogue box somewhere back in my psyche where I placed things that I thought I’d never need. Oops.
It must have been about a year later when I was driving around with a not-a-boyfriend-but-I- liked-him-and-he-didn’t-think-I-was-too-bad- either-friend-boy. We were stopped at the very romantic Taco Bell to pick up something to eat or drink. Upon getting back in the car I decided to offer to let him drive my precious car. Excitedly he got behind the wheel. As he turned the key in the ignition and the engine revved, his foot did not immediately withdraw from the gas pedal. No. Instead he floored that puppy just to hear the glorious roar! No sooner had he brought the car roaring to life when he turned to me with his mouth agape, his tongue hanging out and his eyes fairly bugging out of his head.
Suddenly my life not only flashed before my eyes because I realized I had just decided to allow a 16 year old boy drive me somewhere, but I suddenly saw my father in a little thought cloud above that boy’s head, warning me about this look, as I watched his tongue wag and his eyeballs popping in slow motion. I came to and said, “Oh dear Lord. My father warned me about boys like you!”
“Huh!” I thought to myself. “So my dad did remember what it was like to be a teenager. Wow. Who would have thunk it?”
Several weeks later I had been up at this boy’s house where a bunch of us school buds were watching a movie and hanging out. The get together lasted quite a long while so that I would be having to drive home alone at around 1 or 2 in the morning. My mother did not feel particularly comfortable with this arrangement. She was not comfortable with the neighborhoods I’d be driving through alone that late at night. Her instructions were that I let my boy-friend-not-a-boyfriend drive me home, take the car back to his house and we would pick it back up two days later when we got back from a short family trip.
I argued and tried to convince her that I would be fine and that I was nervous, with good reason, about this boy driving my car. She insisted though so I obediently complied. When we came back from our trip we went and picked up my car. I asked my friend, whose shoes I was wearing though they were too big for me and whose jacket I was wearing because he let me borrow it and I was no one to argue about such things (read: I did not take it off for at least four days straight. I have mentioned that I was an incurable flirt right?)… I asked him if everything went all right and double checked that he had just taken it straight home as I had instructed, warned and threatened death or something like it if he hadn’t.
“Oh, well, I did take it to go pick up Mark because he really needed a ride and we got some doughnuts. I hope that’s okay.”
Okay, that wasn’t too terrible of an infraction so I decided not to pluck out his eyeballs and feed them to my brother’s iguana. However, the next Monday at school, my very best friend came to me and told me something in confidence that Mark had told her in confidence that my boy-friend-not-a-boyfriend had made him swear upon his life that he would not tell. No. They had not just gone to doughnuts, not just any doughnuts anyway. Maybe they ate doughnuts at some point on their TWO HOUR DRIVE to a city 90 miles down the freeway going a very conservative 90 Miles per hour. We know this number because Mark apparently didn’t have much of a poker face and not much of an ability to keep a secret.
Well, few confidences were kept in this little escapade. I took my newly acquired information along with a certain leather jacket and I threw them all back in the no longer friend-boy’s face and asked him to explain his little self.
He had no excuses to offer. Just a lot of sorries and the all important, “How did you find out?”
“My father keeps track of the mileage you idiot!” (which was a bald faced lie because c’mon I had standards people… I wasn’t going to tell him that April told me! I wouldn’t rat out my best friend for passing on her little piece of info!)
But ya know… I never did give him back his pair of shoes, a checkered pair of hi-top Converse. I sold them for a handsome $10 in Berkley at a hip consignment shop. He owed me!