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Revisiting The Past - My High School Car
Revisiting The Past - My High School Car
Do you want your own car in high school? Get a job when you're 15 that's far enough away that you can't ride your bike. This accidentally happened to me in high school. That's not the point of this story but...I got a job as a busboy when I was 15 at The Rusty Scupper. It was about 20 minutes away located at the entrance to the BIG mall. The Rusty Scupper is no longer there. It's now an Olive Garden. They say a restaurant or any businesses success depends on location, location, location...with the exception being The Olive Garden. They can park their restaurant at any failing location and be successful. Anyway, my parents were glad I took the initiative to get a job in high school as long as my grades remained good. My Mom was more than happy to drive me 3 times/week to and fro...until I got my driver's license. Upon reception of my driver's license started the ever so subtle transition that the family car was now my car. So then I drove to work all the time. Then I started asking to drive to school every Friday...which led me to asking to drive to school more frequently...which led to me driving every day. A nice subtle progression. My parents were cool. I know they secretly enjoyed having one of those kids who got to drive to school every day. It made them cool too. Street cred and all that. Plus they were teaching me responsibility...ya da ya da ya da!
Recollections of having a car in high school is what the story is about. A few recollections anyway. Having a car in high school in the first place was what made it possible to have any recollections at all. Recollections only come about when you have lots of opportunities for them to come your way. Here are a few that I remember.
My car was a baby blue Buick LeSabre. It was called the blue boat. It wasn't a car that turned girl's heads. But it was the blue boat I could drive. Plus it was a cooler blue boat with the Jensen car stereo and Pioneer speakers that were put in it via my tips at The Rusty Scupper. It was the blue boat that picked up my friends and drove them to school cranking out UFO, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and a myriad of other great bands and songs that I associate with my rockin' high school days. Ah, music association. That's a topic in and of itself! The Rolling Stones make me want a beer. Bruce Springsteen reminds me of trying to open Heineken not twist off bottle caps on any part of the blue boat because we failed to remember a bottle opener... at lunch during high school...only on Fridays, come on! Bob Seger reminds me of a keg party I was at on a farm. I remember first hearing Van Halen for the first time...at the public library...that was a mind blow! Anyway, these positive associations were constantly being reinforced because I could drive to school every day and were exponentially better by my exponentially louder Jensen stereo.
When you're a kid with his or her own car, you unofficially join that group of kids with their own car. I remember the kids who drove. I remember which kids had which cars. I remember the stories associated with said kids and their cars.
There was me and some others that had the family cars. Hey, we were glad to have them. There were those that had cars that their parents sprung for. And, of course, there were those kids that were in auto shop that bought the muscle cars and fixed them up. Loved those muscle cars! Wish I would have had one but to this day I only know how to put gas in my car. I even call AAA if I get a flat. The kids who drove the family car always upgraded by installing the nice stereo. The kids who got a car from their parents had a nicer car that came with a nicer stereo to match the nicer car. Then there were the kids with the Oldsmobile 442, the Dodge Challenger, the '69 GTO who had the nicest car and the nicest stereo to match...also wheels, rims, something called a Hemi and something called a Holley. You get the pecking order. Muscle cars did neutral drops, Parent bought cars did burn-outs, family cars went really fast...eventually.
The family car did have it's qualities. Seats more...and it was safe. Case in point. I had a friend who drove one of those little Italian cars. He actually happened to be Italian. When you sat in the driver's seat of his car you could see the bumper of the car in front of you when you were inches away from it. So in an odd sense of regularity, the little Italian car would see me on the way to school in the morning. Reminded me of John Cusack being chased by the paperboy in the movie "Better Off Dead" yelling "Two dollars!!" He would just show up out of nowhere skidding around the corner. He would get as close to my car as possible like he was driving in a restrictor plate NASCAR race. Drove me nuts. My point is, I could have slammed on the brakes at any time and heard the sound of an Italian accordion. But he's Italian. For $2/week he said he would stop tailing me AND my car would be protected. John Cusack and I...$2.
Everyone who had a car in high school had memories of the adventures that were had in their car. Also the trials and tribulations. My last story of my car and I...proper English...was actually a riot for everyone in my car that night except for me and my car. Many years later over dinner with my parents when, as is the ritual in my family, we talk about what actually happened that day or night back in high school in contrast to the prevailing story. I have two younger brothers so we have a lot of stories to tell and a lot of dinners to eat. An incident is brought up. Your parents tell their perceived version of the story and then you come clean as to what actually happened leaving everybody in tears laughing. So while this last story was very stressful for me at the time, I enjoyed telling the story these many years later immensely.
This turned out to be a story where I had actually told the truth, but not the whole truth, so help me God? My friends and I had heard about a party. It was a party at the house of a guy from a different high school. We stopped by in my blue boat and checked it out. We didn't know anybody. We scoped the place out and decided to leave. When we got back to the car one of my friends mentioned that there was a full keg of beer right near the edge of the back yard. We could easily heist it from the adjoining backyard. We went stealth...not really, we were all giggling and trying to trip each other because that's what drinking does to high school kids. We confiscated said keg and placed it in the trunk of the blue boat. Mission accomplished! Driving back to my friend's house to enjoy the spoils of our victory we took a short cut through our high school parking lot. At the other end of the parking lot, the gate was closed but not padlocked. Me not thinking I needed to get out of the car and open the gate decided to push open the gate with the blue boat's ample front bumper. I slowly pulled forward and met the gate with the bumper. I slowly pushed the gate open. While still having contact between bumper and gate I sped up just a little to give the gate some momentum away from my car. Ta Da. It worked. The gate swung open. I was a master of this particular craft. I start pulling through. My eyes notice the gate has reached it's intended end of its trek and is now swinging back right towards my car. It swung back at a much faster velocity than that from which it went forth. I got stuck in a suspended state of paralyzation as I slowly kept moving forward and the gate mockingly prepared to strike my car...which wouldn't necessarily be that big a deal but for the gate masterfully jamming into that small location which is the place between the front and back door... thus like a bottle opener pushing the front door in. No need to go further. This was not a cosmetic small blunder. After getting out and assessing the damage, coming up with no plausible lies, I decided to drive straight home after dropping all of my friends off at one of my friends house so they could consume the keg. So I drove home to tell my parents what had happened, minus the keg theft, and received the looks of disappointment that I was in for and faced the music. While I was sober.
There are many car recollections but this was the most memorable. This is the one that all my friends in attendance will remember to this day. I mentioned earlier that I remember the kids who had cars. I also remember some of their adventures. This is the story of my car and my adventure that all the kids that had cars will remember about me and my car.
My Dad did his handyman job on the blue boat. The kind where there is no investment but time. He wadded up a bunch of "material", crazy-glued it in the "door injury", and spray-painted it. Talk about a scarlet letter. Daily guffaws by my friends were the norm. Driving home right away kept me out of trouble. The blue boat was still mine. The Jensen still looked "glorious" as Will Ferrell expressed about the apparent sighting of one Joseph "Blue" Palasky after he fell down the stairs and was accosted in the movie "Old School." Will Ferrell, aka Frank Picard in this particular movie, would not have exclaimed "glorious" about the outside of the car now, particularly in the door region. It was not "glorious." Not that it ever was glorious. It's a baby blue Buick LeSabre. Good memories trump car aesthetics any day! Besides, every time I opened the door I was reminded of being responsible...NOT!!! Let's bust open a Heinekin, it's Tuesday!!