Sep 8, 2009

Drew and Me

I left yesterday morning, just as the rain started. It had been sunny for weeks and I'd done nothing particular with the good weather. The day I decide to do something is the day it rains. Yes, I'm that powerful. The weather is all about me and my bad luck.

It's a three hour drive, ten minute ferry, ten minute drive, fortyfive minute ferry, and fifteen minute drive to get to my dad's. Include ferry lines and coffee breaks and it's a good six hour trip from Victoria to Cortes Island. I did the drive in my little Pontiac Firefly, Drew, named after my cousin Andrew who gave me the wreck, because it seemed to embarrass him to have a car named after him. Family fun. Drew, with a smashed up hood and a tendency to shake violently if pushed up to 100km an hour. He's three-shades-of-red from random body parts being replaced and repainted by various owners. Drew rattles so loud when idling that other drivers will look at me in alarm while stopped at a red light. My sister commented he was only three apples long. This smurf reference almost made me hand paint Drew blue with a white roof. (Warning: this may still happen now that I have much idle time.)

Dirty, banged-up, patchy Drew - who looked out of place in the underground parking lot at my old corporate job, where most people worked their asses off and then spent their hard-earned money on cars that needed more hard work to maintain - fits in pretty well on Cortes. If it can make the trek.

I always find out something new about Drew whenever I take him on a trip. For instance, two years ago I tried to drive him to Prince Rupert and discovered he needed a new timing belt. I discovered this because the timing belt snapped and killed my engine right outside of Chilliwack. When camping in Oregon I learned that the gas line had been improperly installed. This was revealed by a large puddle of gas that appeared under parked Drew and began slowly seaping towards the tent. Knee-slapping hoots and shenanigans ensued. Question: will a Pontiac Firefly explode into a fireball if one attempts to start it and it's leaking copious amounts of gas? Answer: No. But it's scary to find out!

Yesterday's discovery wasn't exciting in an oh-crap-I'm-stranded-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-with-my-stupid-car-that-might-implode kind of way, but it was news to me. I gave a woman a ride from ferry to ferry, and we stayed huddled in my car to avoid the torrential downpour that hit as soon as we left port. As we chatted she kept touching her right shoulder. I finally noticed it was because of the water dripping from my door onto her right side. Apparently my passenger door doesn't seal well. Ironic as it's the driver window that has a tendency to fall right into the door. But this time my window was up snug and this poor stranger was getting a tiny, freezing shower.

I am aware how silly it is to have no job and no home but own two vehicles. Besides Drew there is my new acquisition: a 1983 Westphalia camper van. This was an inheritance (Yes, both my vehicles came free. Yes, I'm aware that many find this unfair. No, I don't care.) While I don't have any concrete plans for my immediate or long term future, the vague thoughts I do have all centre around this van. I'm not sure what I'm doing, other than driving a lot and having fun.

It really is fun to drive. In Drew it's easy to speed about, like a mouse darting around the big and awkward cats on the road. But the van is large and heavy and square, with big seats that are right over the wheel well, putting me pretty much flush with the nose of the van. With the massive steering wheel in my lap I can't help but go slow and steady, smiling around at the world like a jackass with a line of twenty cars behind me as I decide to take a leisurely drive during rush hour just because I can.

Yeah, I know I should get rid of one of these vehicles. But there's no way in hell I'm losing the camper. And Drew and I have been through a lot together these past three years. Plus he's just so cute and really great on gas and has Spiderman feet mats. So the camper is billeted out to my grandma's parking lot, and Drew stays with me, and so far it's a good arrangement.

It's not really a big deal to buy insurance on two vehicles when you're not paying, you know, rent, or anything.

1 comment:

m said...

Can you do the thing where you trade your crappy car (sorry, but it's true) in for bus credits or a $1,200 mountain bike? I think Michelle just did it.

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