I Want My Car Back

I knew the roads were unpaved once you got in there. I had seen the photos from previous summers’ paintball scenario games: Brent and our two boys in the D-Day Adventure Park staging area, on the truck en route to the playing field, or hiking along a road toward the action. Just dirt tracks, some of them. This time Eric and his buddy would be driving up to Wyandotte, Oklahoma on their own, a day later than his dad and brother. I thought about Eric’s ground-hugging little sedan with its small trunk, and that stack of paintball gear they would need to take along. And here was my Honda CR-V standing proud and rugged in the garage, almost a foot of clearance under the chassis. It doesn’t know the meaning of the term “high-center.” Besides, its roomy cargo area, high enough to load and unload without fear of back strain, practically begged to be filled with guns, CO2 cylinders, boots and camo. Eric doesn’t much like driving it, but maybe he would be in Practical Mode today.

“Would you like to take my car to Oklahoma D-Day and leave yours here at home?” I ventured. It didn’t seem like any big deal at the time. I would be going to Houston and back while they were away, but surely I would be fine driving Greg’s Civic.

“Yeah, thanks. That would be great,” Eric replied, and that is how I came to get in touch with my inner teenager.

It all happened last summer, in 2009. The last of my warriors drove away for their annual D-Day reenactment game, leaving me all alone on the driveway. I waited until they were out of sight before I started doing the victory dance. Oops – I mean, I would be lonely, but would manage to get along somehow.

Greg’s Civic is one good-looking car. Dark blue, shiny, sporty – it’s cool, it runs perfectly, and he really likes it. I liked it too, until I was stuck driving 485 miles in it. All in one day.

At first it seemed like a fairly normal car, once I got used to the feeling that I was sitting inside a giant M&M and could barely peek out above the candy coating. Mighty low to the ground, a Civic. The hood seemed to stretch out several yards in front of me, and I was sure the doors on both sides were hanging over the edges of my lane. The next day I made it out to the grocery store, and later the hobby shop, getting back home safely each time. By Saturday morning, I felt like a pro and was ready to drive the Youthmobile to my sister-in-law’s home near Houston.

But first, a quick stop in College Station to pick up my then-future daughter-in-law. My legs felt a bit stiff when I got out of the car there, but a short walk around worked out most of the kinks. After collecting Heather, I continued south. My Capri pants that had looked so cute that morning seemed to be getting tighter all the time, but our pleasant chatter helped keep my mind off it as we drove to Jennifer’s.

I have never been so glad to see someone’s house in my life. Stupid sports car. I crept up to the front door as if I were at least 80. We had a lovely time together, all the family girls, fixing little favors for Heather and Eric’s wedding. I stalled as long as possible, but eventually we had to get back into that blue contraption and head north again. By the time we made Hempstead, the formerly-cute Capri pants had formed a tourniquet around each thigh and my tailbone was going numb.

College Station at last. Even though it was a bit early, I positively insisted on taking Heather out to dinner. Our meal took a while to arrive, but not long enough. The Civic lurked in the parking lot the whole time, a sinister gleam in its headlights.

All too soon I had bid Heather a fond farewell, and was back in the Civic’s diabolical clutches. Highway 6 seemed to get longer and longer, the Dallas Metroplex receding into the distance with every endless mile. I made one unnecessary stop for gas, and another very necessary stop for coffee. Even so, my legs kept getting stiffer and my spine took on a bucket-seat curve that could not possibly be healthy. But, finally—home! I didn’t so much get out of that iron maiden that calls itself a car; it was more like taking it off.

Normally when Brent calls from Oklahoma D-Day I ask how the games are going, whether they took any painful hits, did they have enough paint, where did they have dinner, and so forth. But not this time. All I could say between my clenched teeth was:

“I. Want. My. Car. Back.”

Thanks for reading!

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories), Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I Want My Car Back

  1. Hehe… sounds like a nightmare! I almost feel your pain!
    I like those high 4×4 kind of cars *dream on Nemo* I don’t even have my driver’s license yet! I do have a scooter though, which in Italy you don’t need a license for! *gasp* If anybody has trouble sleeping, just try reading a page from the driver’s manual… *must study, must not…. zzZ*


  2. diane says:

    LOL. I love my Civic., but the longest I’ve driven at a stretch is four or four and a half hours. It helps that I drive with my legs stretched all the way out – more room to move the legs, more room between me and the wheel.

    If nothing else, you should have gotten great gas milage!


  3. Melinda M says:

    I’ve driven from DFW to Chicago in a Sentra in one day. I feel your pain.


  4. joyceandnorm says:

    I remember the days driving little cars. Now we have the kids in tow and such. My sister swapped cars with my brother a few months ago so her CRV could go into the shop, and she was driving me somewhere but I forgot how low a Corolla was….the one I drove all through college. I like my RDX thanks.


  5. Marie says:

    Our old vehicles used to be hubby’s grand am and mine was a montana…I loved my montana….my hubby enjoyed looking ‘cool’ in his grand am……when ever I had to use his vehicle i disliked it intensely, the word hate seems so harsh…..if we had to take his vehicle mand drive for any length of time i cried and whined…it killed my back, it made you sit at a horrible angle…on an on and on….I would beg to take my montana…although hubby didn’t feel ‘as cool’ in it he would give in…just to spoil me….believe me, I was feelin’ your pain as your story unfolded!


  6. OUCH! I don’t know what I’d do if someone took, I mean borrowed, my van. I like my full size 12 passenger van! Have a great week!


  7. Judy P says:

    I was laughing so hard visualizing your ‘misery’! Sorry about that!


  8. Kathy Falley says:

    Daughter Lori has a Honda Civic. The shiny silver Civic was purchased new in OKCity in’03.Sister Betsy was having her Bridal shower the first day Lori drove her Honda. OOPS! No where to park.Backed the civic up in the neighbors driveway,and scrapped front undercarriage on the high curb


  9. Jan says:

    Well, thanks to the FEW of you who show proper sympathy for my discomfort! 😉


  10. LydiaCate says:

    Funny! I can relate. I have a hard time getting into any car now that I’ve been a minivan driver for 12 years. Guess you won’t be offering your car so quickly anytime soon huh? 🙂
    Have a great weekend!


  11. Eos Mom says:

    Wonderful story–very funny, I could almost feel your pain (the capris as tourniquets)!


  12. Pingback: Glory and Guacamole | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

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