Thursday, May 9, 2013

Clown Car

We are selling Mark's  Honda Civic to Mario, the window guy's helper.  We recently got new windows, thankfully, or we may never have unloaded that old car!

The car has been sitting in our driveway since November, when the tags expired, prior to the expiration there had been a good deal of smoke coming out of the tailpipe.

Mario seems to be a handy fellow and has assured us that he can fix the smoking problem.

Last night we stayed up until midnight searching for the title.

Wading through 15 years of paperwork.

A messy tribute to our life together.

Piles in brown paper bags.

Stuffed into drawers.

I finally found the title folded in thirds and tucked in with some old medical records.

"I'm really glad you aren't dead.  I would be totally pissed if I had to go through all of this alone."

The reality of our extreme disorganization is amplified anytime there is a serious reason for needing important papers.

We never reform.
We remain steadfastly disorderly.
I was proud that neither one of us was snappish, that is a big deal.
We tend to be cranky.

"I am feeling sentimental about selling the car." Mark said.

No surprise there, Mark is sentimental over stuff, not unlike me.  I like different kinds of stuff, but in the end we are hopeless hoarders.

"I might never have married you, without that car." which is not true at all, but I like to say that when I met Mark, I vowed to go against type.

I would stop dating artsy types without jobs, dental insurance, cars or bathmats.

He had all of that stuff and so I could green light the relationship. 

I had dated men with cars before, of course, but his car was reasonably new, ran reliably and wasn't held together with bungee cords.

The man I dated briefly, until I met Mark, was a psychiatric nurse. He worked with people that had attempted suicide.  He was chronically depressed and drove a 1968, purple Volvo, which I adored.  He totaled it one afternoon after working a double shift, driving while tried.  He happened to be drinking a beer at the time.  He was not drunk, he was just driving around on a hot day, with a beer between his knees, and someone hit him, or he hit them, but in the end the car was trashed and he got into trouble over the beer, but not as much trouble as I thought he might.  He made me very nervous, with his devil may care beer drinking and overly tiredness, otherwise I liked him well enough.  He did not own a bathmat.  He did have excellent teeth.

Before the nurse I had a long, tortured relationship with the badman, who did not own a car, or a bathmat.  He was a compulsive gambler and totally unpredictable, wildly irresponsible, yet I loaned him my car on a regular basis, for years.
It was like my form of gambling- will he come home tonight, so I can go to work in the morning?
For some reason, I, someone that hates to loan anything, ever, felt totally comfortable with the badman driving my car.
I never thought twice about it.
He worked through the night waiting tables, or occasionally playing music, and would leave me a note in the kitchen, indicating where the car was parked.
Sometimes he stayed up after his shift, smoking at the breakfast bar in my kitchen, until I got up for work, "the car is on Everett, across from the gas station."
It was a different type of life. A life so supremely unsuitable for marriage or children that I can't imagine that I lived it.

When I met my friend Don, he had never driven.  Not even as a teen in his parent's car.  Having grown up poor in a family with five kids, driving was just not in the cards.  He moved to Boston for college, where having a car would have been an unnecessary expense. So I taught him to drive at the ripe old age of 24.  I taught him to drive a stick shift, ensuring him, as my mother had me, "if you can drive a stick, you can drive anything!" I was not a patient teacher, but he learned and is still careening around Portland.

In high school I dated two boys who drove.  One was a terribly mean preppie in an orange Volkswagen square-back, and the other my dear sweet long term love, with a Volkswagen van.   The sweetie taught me to drive, when my mother bombed out on the task.  Her primary teaching method involved yelling "WHOA"  every few minutes, without further instruction.  I failed the test once before passing and getting my license.  I failed because I stalled.  That seemed sort of unfair to me, because if I had taken the test in an automatic, it would have been a lot easier.  I felt that I should have been given some type of bonus points for being brave enough to take the test on a stick shift.  The teacher didn't see it my way.

So now we are selling off the car that Mark drove from Austin to Portland in, in 1996.  The car we drove to Sauvie Island's bird sanctuary in on our first date.  I'm happy it's going to a nice man, rather than to the junk yard. 

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