Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Gospel According to Ritchie...or, Why Your Mechanic Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

I am bald, therefore dangerous. Actually, Mrs. R is suffering from bald tires, but those in the know understand that the fine line between Second Edition and her wheels is Oh-So fine. Rubber and steel belts aside, it's perhaps time for Mrs. R to move onto her next life, just as I have moved on to mine. Sigh. Yesterday, my auto mechanic, Tony, shook his head and announced, "I think you need a more rugged car. This one's takin' a beating."

Like a divorcee flipping through her wedding album (wait! I already did that!), here are my favorite memories of our journey together:

Speeding across the Hog's Back in western Utah, a rim road exactly as wide as Mrs. R. herself. The white-knuckle vertigo was worth the sweeping views of red rock country.

Illegally parking in a Los Angeles business complex for two weeks, while Second Edition flew off to lick her wounds in Hawaii (Boo. Hoo. I can hear your pity). Poor Mrs. R had her windshield littered with increasingly threatening notices. But I saved on airport parking!

Swerving through the lush, swaying vineyards of Napa and Sonoma valley with one lush behind the wheel and another swaying in the passenger's seat managing the Ipod. Despite nearly rocketing off a cliff and driving through a tree in the Redwoods, we never lost focus. Just socks, books and our inhibitions. Thank you, Thelma. Love, Louise.

The sweet valet boy in Portland who took Mrs. R for a much needed car wash and detailing, but refused to be reimbursed. "I did it out of love." She has that effect on the boys.

During one of the worst storms to hit the Northwest in 10 years, Mrs. R., under the sure-footed shifting of the Ranger, dodged flying trees, swung around mudslides and squeezed under a fallen shore pine that was blocking the road.

The full-rear, drop-your-pants search she endured while trying to return to the US from Canada. A bag of granola and two blood oranges were confiscated. I think it was the yoga mat that tipped them off.

A lil' bit of zoom, zoom, zoom in the driver's seat (ouch! my knees!) while venturing down Highway 101 to Coos Bay. Don't worry...we pulled over.

And finally:

Before leaving Albuquerque, my auto mechanic, Ritchie, made sure Mrs. R was road ready. I named her Mrs. R (Robinson) because she has midlife crisis written all over her what with her gangsta tinted windows, high tight ass, and rumble rumble of duel exhausts. I had no idea I'd meet a Ranger 18 years younger. Really. No idea. Anyway, back to Ritchie:

“Well Mrs. Perez, we downloaded the data off her computer and I have to say I wasn’t too happy with what I saw.”

“Name’s Romero, not Perez anymore. Why? What’s wrong with her?”

“You know, Mrs. Perez, this is a high-performance vehicle you got here.” He patted her ass like she’s a sorority girl. “She’s not built for toodling around. She’s built for racing, for constant, high speeds.”

“So what are you saying? That I need to go faster. That I should start getting speeding tickets.”

“Hell, Mrs. Perez, she’s got 280 horses under that hood, a six-liter engine, 24 valves. You gotta just open her up and let her fly. Quit being so cautious. It affects her memory.”

“My car has a memory? You’re kidding me, right?”

“Of course she has a memory. You drive her a certain way and that’s all she expects so she gets sluggish. You need to change her memories. Otherwise, she’ll forget she’s a sports car.”

And there you have it. For almost a year, Mrs. R was my forwarding address, my escape pod, my best friend, my ticket to ride. On the long journey north, out of the desert and into the forest, Mrs. R. remembered who she is. And I remembered who I am. A girl who really needs...a Subaru.

But not quite...yet.

1 comment:

Kylita said...

I have a 1994 Moonlight Blue T-Bird with Mocha cloth/velourish interior ... 2 matching decals of Egyptian falcons in the small "V" windows in back, a moon and star and blue crystal hanging from the rear view mirror, and an electric blue throw blanket with huge bright yellow sunflowers in the back seat. 6 cylinders ... 85,800 miles!!!!! and good tires...or sorta good ;o) Used to have a license plate frame that said: Happiness is a Blue Bird but it wore out. Oh, I look at other autos, but Birdie is such a good girl. You give Mrs. R a nice pat-pat from SisSTAR.