Friday, July 13, 2007

Old Car File

Rifling through files tonight, I came across a folder marked "Old Car Stuff." I slid it from the straining file drawer, assuming that it contained old tire receipts, parts invoices, insurance cards and DMV documents dating back to the Mitsubishi, maybe even the Isuzu. What I failed to anticipate, though, was the journey back in time, on which this file would lead me.

Sure, those documents were there. Records for the Gallant. Records for the Pick Up. But there was also a repair invoice for the Escort and a bill of sale for the Rabbit.

The banana-yellow Volkswagen diesel Rabbit.

What shocked me the most, however, was at the bottom of the stack. There, I found complete records relating to the three-day adventure that was my first car. It was a lime-green 1979 Datsun B-210. And in the stack of papers, I found the only surviving photo...

And, well, here it is:

Of course, when I bought it, it had substantially less damage. Oh, and, did I mention that this was all Dr. Brian's fault?

See, well, it actually started, as these things usually do, with Tom. It was 1988. April, 1988, to be precise. (I still have the police report.) Tom was gainfully employed in the lucrative frozen yogurt industry, and hooked Brian and I up as bad ass yogurt slingers.

Pinching and scrimping, Brian and I both saved enough within a couple of months to buy our first cars. Mine was the lovely green thing pictured above. Brian's was a Sirocco.

In Christ-like fashion, after the passing of three days, Brian appeared one morning at my door tittering around in an excited manner. His beloved Sirocco was idling in my driveway. His bangs were bleached. His jeans shorts were acid washed.

"C'mon!" he demanded. "Let's go! you MUST come with me!"

Confused, but curious, I tagged along, and soon found myself strapped into a car traveling at ungodly speeds down my usually-peaceful suburban cul-de-sac.

"Watch this!" Brian announced with a maniacal gleam in his eye.

Famous last words... Some of my favorite words, however, ever uttered by Brian. (and there have been some good ones...)

And with that, he yanked the E-brake.

Seems he had been perfecting this Dukes-of-Hazard-like maneuver all morning, power-sliding 360s in parking lots, intersections, and god-knows-where. It was thrilling! It was impressive! I was psyched!

Unfortunately, my pleasure lasted for about 1.5 seconds, until I, or we, both realized that we were not actually free-spinning. Rather, we had turned approximately 15 degrees before our wheel caught traction, and we were driving at high speed directly for the concrete curb.

The noise, more than the shock of impact, made me sick. The sound of a performance vehicle having its undercarriage eviscerated has that effect...

Brian was unhappy. His dad was even more so.

The following day, as I still had my Datsun intact, Brian asked me to drive him up to his mechanic, whereupon he received the very BAD news.

As we drove back, we decided to take Lark Ellen Avenue southbound toward Puente Avenue, where Brian lived. (which leads to a side note, Dr. B, as I'm sure you are reading this, what in the name of all things tacky happened to the front yard of your old house?? I mean, holy fucking theme park Batman!!)

Anyway, so, there we were on Lark Ellen, four-lane highway, right-of-way, through traffic, good visibility, 30-40 miles per hour (according to the police report), when all of a sudden, some quasi-retarded haus-frau darted from a side street in her 1970's-style family van.

After entering and blocking my lane, she finally looked in my direction and saw me, and in fine defensive driving fashion, she slammed on her brakes and stopped.

Time, then, took on an entirely different quality. It slowed nearly to a stop. Everything became brighter. Smells became smellier. Sounds became louder. I applied the brakes in firm manner, and veered to the left. Brian braced for impact. We then proceeded with all deliberate haste to plow into the the broad side of the van. The resulting damage is displayed in the photo above.

Two cars. Two accidents. Three days. Between us, we had some minor stiffness to show for it. They say teenagers think they're invincible, and well, looking back, perhaps they are.


  1. As I remember, you bought the car from the next door neighbors who were quite shocked. There was something about that time in our lives. Maybe it was all the church we attended but, yeah, we were indestructable. I didnt even have my seatbelt on in your car when we hit that van.

    For the next 3 months I had to ride my bike you your house. It was humiliating. Finally I got enough nerve to ask my grandfather for a loan to buy my second vw scirocco.

    Do you remember all the fireworks that we bought that 4th of july?
    We found every bit of loose change that our houses had. Holy crap, that was almost 20 years ago.

    Thanks for the cool memories. You are still a fag but I am glad to have know you all these years.

  2. Mrs. G&T9:15 AM

    Hmmm. Given this history, and what I know of later older-and-not-quite-so-indestructable-Dr.-Brian-as-passenger accidents I wonder... does Mrs.-Dr.-Brian actually let you ride in the car with the children?

  3. Can you imagine trying to defend that yard now from the TP patrol? I dont think they make enough jolt cola for that.

  4. I only got hurt because I stopped going to CCV.

  5. Even Ive seen Dr B's old yard

    it looks like a golf course...

    Between us, we had some minor stiffness to show for it

    You two as teenage boys, I think minor stiffness was a permanent state..

  6. deuceworks10:56 AM

    I would so like to laugh at this, but considering my own shenanigans with the RatMother camaro, I still question why we're all alive.

  7. I believe Dave's Camero was responsible for an earthquake...

  8. deuceworks3:49 PM

    Mufflers are for pussies.

  9. Mufflers are for muffs??

    Is that what you're saying?

  10. deuceworks5:00 PM

    We call them "merkins."

  11. Talk of camaros always remind me of the Dead Milkmen song Bitchin' Camaro. A classic.

    I ran over my neighbors
    Now it's in all the papers.
    My folks bought me a BITCHIN CAMARO with no insurance to match;
    So if you happen to run me down, please don't leave a scratch.
    I ran over some old lady one night at the county fair;
    And I didn't get arrested, because my dad's the mayor.
    Doughnuts on your lawn
    Tony Orlando and Dawn
    When I drive past the kids, they all spit and cuss,
    Because I've got a BITCHIN CAMARO and they have to ride the bus.
    So you'd better get out of my way, when I run through your yard;
    Because I've got a BITCHIN CAMARO;
    And an Exxon credit card.
    Hey, man where ya headed?
    I drive on unleaded.

  12. Didn't someone's car get covered in frozen yogurt?

    TP Patrol - now those guys were pussies - stayed up all night and we still got you!

    Those were the days....with inappropriate "stiffness". I believe a sign of that was shifting the pants at the waste - isn't that right Tom?

    We were such bad ass kids -with our Jolt cola - twice the caffinee and twice the sugar - pure death!

  13. I never had to wonder when Dave arrived to pick me up for school. I just had to watch for the windows to shake and my dad to spill his coffee on himself. There is nothing like the sound of a big block chevy in the morning. That and seeing Lila's meatballs.

  14. Anonymous9:22 AM

    the premonition to save this kind of crap for a blog post 20 years later. It was worth it.


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