Monday, August 18, 2008

Bitchin Camaro

Back in the day, Dave drove a Camaro.

It was loud. It was old. It was fast.

It was painted primer gray. It had fat tires and no seat belts. I think it was also missing the gas cap, maybe. I seem to recall a rag perpetually stuffed into the gas hole. Maybe not. Maybe I'm thinking of Mark's 'Stang.

Anyway... Dave drove a Camaro. It was his first car, and I have two memories about it.

The first memory occurred at 7:42 a.m., October 1, 1987. I was drying my hair in the back bathroom of our house. My parents were in their bedroom. My kid sister was taking a shower in the main bathroom.

A sudden loud roar was immediately accompanied by a bouncing jolt and violent shaking. The wood-frame house creaked and groaned. It was the Whittier Narrows earthquake, and it felt like the end of the world.

I grabbed a door way. My sister was screaming, and my dad kicked the bathroom door open into her forehead. A few dishes broke. The dog was freaked-the-fuck-out.

Like every kid in a 100-mile radius, I got to school late that morning, and once there, there was no sense of order. Teens tittered about. The staff was spooked. Aftershocks sent ripples of nervous exclamations across the campus.

I eventually made it to first period History. I think Tom and I arrived together, as we usually did. Dr. B was there too. Dave, however, was late. And, fashionably so.

He was the last one to walk in, clad as he was in his leather jacket and dark sunglasses, not unlike Fonzy. Well, actually, I think he had on his fedora as well, so perhaps more like Simon LeBon during his bad-boy phase than the Fonz. Either way, he arrived.

Having made his grand appearance, and with all eyes on him as he stood inside the door way, his face acquired a remorseful pose, and he said: "Folks, I apologize for the ruckus this morning, I'll be more careful the next time I start my car."

Ba-dum-bum

The second memory I have of Dave's Camaro occurred later. Or, maybe it occurred earlier. I don't really know, and it does not really matter.

There were three high schools in our school district. The school on the hill to the South for the rich kids, the school with the view to the North for the ghetto kids like Mrs. Tom, [just kidding Mrs Tom, luv ya, kisses...] and then there was our school, kinda in the middle.

Anytime there was something culturally important or academically challenging, it was held at the rich kids' school, and we were bussed up the hill. Anytime there was a drug-related gang killing, the school to the North was closed for investigation and clean up. Anytime there was a budget cut, my school lost more programs. We all knew our place.

One day, we were told that there was going to be a special dramatic presentation in the professional-grade stage theater at the snobby school up the hill. Unfortunately, the district could not afford to provide our school with bus service, so it would be up to each of us to car pool up the hill.

As it turned out, the special program was an embarrassingly bad one-man rendition of the entire works of William Shakespeare. To say it blew chunks is an insult to chunks.

Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to get out of class. The only problem was, though, that none of us had cars at the time. Well, none of us, but Dave. Generously, he offered me a ride. And Tom. And Dr. B. And a couple of other guys. Six of us in total, I think, all in the Camaro.

Now, don't get the wrong idea. Dave didn't own some fancy limo-sized Camaro. He didn't own the luxurious family-sized extra-cab edition. No. It was a Camaro. Two black-leather front bucket sheets. One tiny cramped seat-like bench in the back. No seat belts, but plenty of VanHalen.

(side note: CHRIST!! I'm sitting on my back deck while I write this, and I just stepped on a giant Oregon slug in my bare feet!! Fuck! Shit!)

Where was I? Oh right...

We crammed into the car like sweaty boy Tetris, hips and arms and feet packed painfully into absurdly-wrong positions.

We arrived without incident and sat to watch the horrible show.

At intermission, we all decided that our collective time would be better spent at Taco Bell. So, we left.

Now, while we were authorized to drive ourselves to and from the venue, technically, once we left early, we were truant. Although, in our estimation, it was a fuzzy and somewhat gray truancy...

Anyway, once packed back in the car, Dave decided, for some reason, to drive back to his house to get something. I dunno, maybe his drivers licence, maybe a Taco Bell coupon, maybe his gun. Whatever. He was driving, so we went with him, far across town to his house, making the least efficient line possible to our lunch destination.

Our return route took us down Workman Avenue, a small two-lane residential boulevard, which, as one of the main grid lines, was usually quite busy. Along the way, we made many stops for traffic lights and cars making left turns, and eventually, Dave grew weary of the wait.

One more car slowed to turn onto a side street. Dave zipped around the slower car on the right.

Almost instantly, the the red and blue lights on the police car immediately behind us lit up like a Christmas tree. The siren whooped. The sadistic asshole with the badge grinned with malicious glee.

He'd caught a muscle car dangerously over-packed with truant teenagers, and he was going to relish the moment. We were all ordered out and lined up on the curb. The car was searched. Dave was lectured. The school was called. Tom was afraid he was going to get strip searched. Dr.B was secretly hoping he would be. I was personally horrified that my crime would go down on my otherwise spotless permanent record.

The cop drug the scenario out for as long as he reasonably could. In the end, Dave was allowed to drive his car back to the school, but the rest of us had to walk the 8 blocks back to school.

We returned, then, after all of the other students who had simply stayed for the rest of the show, without lunch, hot, tired and sweaty. We were late for the next class, and we were lectured for that as well.

And now that I look back, I realize that was not a very interesting story.

Hmmm... perhaps the next time I tell it, Dave will have to fight a bear or something. Maybe Dr. B will get his secret wish. Who knows. I need to go wash this slug slime off my foot.

12 comments:

  1. To be fair, I did fight a knife-wielding bear on the way back to class.

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  2. 396 V8 with a double pumper carb, 12 bolt rear end and turbo 400 with shift kit. About 7 miles per gallon if we were lucky.

    As I look back upon my youth, being picked up by Dave in that car with the sound of the exaust and burning rubber...that's where my love of American muscle cars began.

    And there is no other music you can listen to in a car like that then Van Halen. Preferably the second album.

    My eyes are watering up.

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  3. the slug9:55 AM

    Fuck! shit! some gay ass lawyer just put his funky foot on my back.

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  4. Dude, you should have ran for Student Government VP or something. Not only to you get to eat lunch off campus, but the school district pays for it or you get hotel comps because the hotel wants to host your prom or winterball or homecoming dance.

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  5. Believe me, Tytainya, I have since learned this lesson now that I'm in management.

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  6. 68 camaro2:16 PM

    I miss you too guys. Too bad Dave neglected me for 10 years after high school.

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  7. Hey Dad sold you, not me.

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  8. bitchin' camaro7:46 PM

    I ran over my neighbor.

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  9. Yeah, b.s., doesn't it make you mad that you spent so many gay years tooling around in Volkswagens?

    And the Ford Escort???!!!

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  10. powder blue mustang10:26 PM

    You think the Volkswagens were gay, you should see him driving around in me!

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  11. I know I know!! dont remind me. I had 3 vw sciroccos. What the hell was I thinking?

    At least I didn't own a diesel rabbit.

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  12. What car did you use to run over cats?

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Be compelling.

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