ADMITTING THERE'S A PROBLEM

    9 months ago

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    ADMITTING THERE'S A PROBLEM

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    Mary Beth Ellis Hunter posted in
    DRIVES WELL IN PARK

    I am a crap driver and I knew this even before my car burst into flames of its own volition. This happened to my Toyota about a month ago and I’m mostly mad because the neighbors said the flames were shooting out of the hood to heights of four feet and I missed it.

    My car is key to procurement of the things I need to run a household, such as raw chicken and heavy narcotics.

    Local woman, Crap Driver, Household Runner

    I start there because it settled the issue of whether my husband and I would become a one-car household. He is a pilot and I am not, and when he drives his car it would sit forlornly in the employee lot awaiting his return, whereas mine is key to procurement of the things I need to run a household, such as raw chicken and heavy narcotics.

    I had been driving my nephews around all day and was dropping them off at their house, as aunts do, to be fed and have their education, clothing, and medical care paid for. I am grateful that no one was hurt and also that I happened to park away from the driveway, because “You set my house on fire with my children inside of it” is going to win every argument, every time. My brother-in-law also saw his life dream come true of seeing me hauled off in the back of a police car, so really, win-win.

    “You set my house on fire with my children inside of it” is going to win every argument, every time.

    Local Woman, Crap Driver, Phenomenal Aunt

    So now I’m unexpectedly the captain of his car, which I drove to my volunteer post as a USO hostess at the airport, and which–and it should not shock you that I’ve done this before–I managed to lock with the keys in the ignition, engine running, because when this girl seeks adventure, she finds it by trying to squat on all fours in a white pencil skirt in the middle of the blacktopped airport employee lot on a 94 degree day, searching in vain for a hide-a-key. This was my cue to call and text and call and text and call and text and call and text IN CAPITAL LETTERS Josh The Pilot, who of course had not yet unsilenced his phone from morning church services. I am a charter member of AAA, because when you are me, you spend huge chunks of your life peering in at keys sitting jauntily behind locked doors, tires with odd metal objects sticking out of them at alarming angles, and, as we just saw, smoking husks of 2005 Camrys. But I was in a secure lot which is enterable only with a badge, a password, and photographs of certain Congresspeople in compromising positions, and my friends, there it was, true despair: I was in a place where even a motorist rescue service couldn’t rescue me.

    Then I caught sight of the employee shuttle and realized that there were adults about, real adults, adults who unlike me remember to turn the CrockPot on after dumping the raw chicken in. I flagged it down, climbed aboard, and informed the driver, two TSA agents, one Delta captain, four flight attendants, and a baggage handler that my Master’s degree and I had just locked the keys in my car with the engine running. Yes, it was my car. No, not on purpose. No, I have not reproduced, for the good of the human race.

    The driver, in her pity, dispatched a member of The Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport’s finest, and he came in his large scary car, opened his door, opened my door, got back into his car, which had been left unlocked, and drove away.

    By now Josh The Pilot had unsilenced his phone and had called to find out who was dead.

    ME: First thing in the morning, we are getting a hide-a-key for the stupid Vibe.

    JOSH THE PILOT: We have a hide-a-key.

    ME: WHERE.

    JOSH THE PILOT: Somewhere in the house.

    The up side is, we now know who is dead.

    BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE

    As we all know, the world's real danger stems directly from German Catholics with no sense of direction and a pair of figure skates which have somehow become tied to the Halloween tablecloth in the closet.

    “I need your right shoe,” said the security agent, because of course he did. “There are some chemicals on it and we need to scan.”

    That would be the orangy substance Josh applied to the soles in order to remove the fresh chewing gum lying in wait for me at a parish festival the previous weekend and that is what we German Catholics mean when we say our freedom of religious expression is in horrific peril.

    THERE'S A POINT TO ALL THIS AND HERE'S WHAT IT IS

    Crap drivers, we suck at driving behind the wheel; we suck in the rental car line; we suck in driving on the left side; we suck driving on the right side; we suck at navigation; we suck when we're *not even in the car yet*.

    What does this mean?

    It means we admit it.

    We drive poorly, but in honesty humility, and with a fire extinguisher forever close at hand.

    Local Woman, Crap Driver, Not Much Else, Actually

    It means we admit it; because when we admit it, we get help. We text Josh the Pilot, we give doe-eyed looks to the shuttle bus driver, we helpfully direct the nice policeman wielding the coat hanger to the unpowered door lock. We do not get in the way of the competent drivers. We do not careen through toll booth plazas at rush hour and wonder why no one else has thought of this yet (see below for visual aid.) I mean—we *do* do things like this, but we at least realize, at some point while the toll booth plaza goes sailing beneath the undercarriage, that perhaps this was not the best cost-saving measure we could have affected.

    We drive poorly, but in honesty humility, and with a fire extinguisher forever close at hand.

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    Comments (6)
    • So appreciate it! James May guides me about the town I grew up in, so we have something in common.

      7 months ago
    • Great writing - I love it! I can totally relate. I haven't locked my keys in the car in a while, but only because it won't let me. James May had to help me set the time on the clock in my car. But that's okay, it happens.

      7 months ago
    • Thanks so much for reading.

      9 months ago
    • Very funny!

      9 months ago
    • You wouldn't say that if you were caught behind me on the highway as I search in vain for e.g. exit I passed 8 exits ago.

      But thank you.

      9 months ago
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