Funny Story About A Car: Now You Tell Me!

Funny Story About A Car: Now You Tell Me!

Funny Story About A Car: Now You Tell Me!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, folks. I’m not as smart as I may appear sometimes. Or at the very least, I have very bad luck more often than not. If there is something that can go wrong in any given situation, it almost always happens to me. I’ve grown to accept this fact of life.

My funny story about a car begins with the history of my Chevy Monza. We bought this car fresh off the lot in 1979, exactly 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. We had 2 little boys at the time so by the time we had driven this car for 2 weeks, we had already outgrown it. However, things being tight back then, it wasn’t quite in the cards yet for us to get a new car.

I do have to say that as much as I disliked this car, mainly because of its small size and the fact that I felt like I was Fred Flinstone pedaling along the pavement since I was so low to the ground, that car served me very well indeed. Tomorrow marks the day 27 years ago that I drove this car with my 3 children (ages 3, 5 and 8 – one who was legally blind and one who had ADD) from Chicago to Tacoma, Washington all by myself with a snowstorm nipping at my heels the entire way.

I precipitously slid down the pass into Spokane the day before my 30th birthday in this car with no seat belts, no chains and no brains (obviously). Bob had been transferred to Tacoma, Washington with the government and I had been left behind to pack up and get us ready to move and then had the daunting task of driving with 3 small children across country alone. To say that it was a ‘trip’ would be an understatement.

Now all that said, that little car ended up being not such a bad thing after all since it did get me from here to there safely. The trip itself was full of excitement so perhaps another day, another hub. All in all though, the little car served us well. What it lacked in terms of safety devices I guess I made up for in terms of packing the blasted thing so full that there was not an inch of room for anyone to be thrown about. I had actually built little wooden lap desks as well for the kids to use on the trip to keep them occupied.

I never did forget what the little car did for me although as the years went by and we literally grew in terms of our family size and proportions, it did begin to become evident it wasn’t going to serve us that much longer adequately.

public domain photo

Funny Story About a Car: Now You Tell Me!

So where is this all going? Well, when I arrived with the kids in tow, Bob had already picked out our house and moved what little he had into it before the rest of our things arrived. It was a new house which was cool, but his idea of ‘needing minimal work’ and mine seemed to have lost something in the translation over the phone.

When we finally arrived back at our new house that night, before we went to sleep, I saw only part of the house but upon awakening the next morning, I quickly realized that he could have been a cars salesman for the bamboozle he had done on me. I remember clearly the words over the phone, ‘minimal work, Audrey, minimal’ – ringing like a bad echo. Minimal my Chevy Monza!

Minimal in his terms meant that the entire downstairs level was unfinished save a bathroom, there was no fence, and there was no backyard – just mounds and mounds of dirt and rock left for us to create a yard from. There was a bit of a strip of front yard but that, too needed major work. Yes, it was new, and yes, it was ours…..and the very best part – there was no garage. There was a carport and that was it.

So where does the funny part come in with the car you ask. Well, I’m getting to that! I arrived in early November. As my luck would have it, I have never had a problem getting a job. In fact, I already had one at the local hospital by the time I pulled into Washington except that there was one little problem – I had no clothes because all our belongings were still in transit from Chicago.

Eventually though, things arrived, we set to moving in and starting our new life in the glorious state of Washington. Of course, winter was coming on and the only car we still had was our little Chevy Monza. I worked evenings and weekends as we never left the kids with babysitters and worked opposite shifts to get around that. The first year that we were in Washington, they of course had one of the worst winters they’d ever had with lots of snow and ice.

Coming from Chicago, I was totally used to that. Except in Chicago, you are on flat land. You don’t have those pesky little hills and fir trees to worry about sliding down or running into in a car that is basically a tuna can on wheels! All this said, I had to learn to drive all over again pretty much because driving to my job in the Chevy Monza was a bit like sledding – hold on and hope to God you made it in one piece going down the hill without hitting something.

I was getting used to it though and really, for an area to live in, back in the early 1980s, Puyallup (a suburb of Tacoma) was a wonderful place to live and raise kids. As the Northwest goes, you couldn’t imagine more beautiful surroundings. I even loved the snow and the ice. With all the beautiful trees, it was a pristine beauty I’d never seen before and every day felt like I was on vacation in the mountains.

As I mentioned, it was a very cold winter. Half the time when Bob got up to go to work at the VA Hospital, the engine on the little Chevy Monza wouldn’t start because it was too cold. We took to blocking off the carport so that he could generate some warmth and keep the wind from blowing into the engine at night.

Enter Audrey on her way to work at the local hospital one Saturday morning. I got up, spent my remaining time with everyone, donned my dress, heels and lab coat, kissed everyone goodbye and bid them adieu until afternoon. I clickity clicked my way down the stairs, got into the Monza and turned the key.

Well, it was fairly early in the morning and I had had my coffee and all, but somehow I thought I couldn’t have heard what I had heard. When I turned the key over, all I heard was a sort of whirring and then a sort of sucking sound and then dead silence. And of course the key did not turn over – so I tried it again. This time not even a whirring and definitely no sucking. Hmmm…….

Clickity, clickity, clack, clack, clack – I tripped back up the stairs to the front door, threw it wide, and standing on the landing yelled up to Bob who was in the kitchen ‘Hey – something seems to be wrong with the car – it won’t start!’

I can still hear his voice as if it was that very morning – ‘Oh PAAALEEZE – Tell me you DID NOT start that car.’

What is he like deaf? ‘Well, of course I started the car – didn’t I just SAY I started the car? Or tried to start the car?’

I’m getting the flavor here that I’ve done something terribly wrong but what in the heck could I have done wrong? He saw me go out the door – he certainly knew my intent, right? Was I all dolled up and ready to go so I could trip around the neighborhood looking for cans? I don’t think so!

He slams down whatever he’s doing in the kitchen and stomps down the stairs towards the front door, throws it open and races out the front door before I can say ‘what the heck?’ I quickly tell the kids to wait there – and clickity click click down the stairs again after him.

Well – I wasn’t quite ready for what I saw! He had jumped down the stairs and had thrown up the hood of the car and was standing there bellowing at the top of his lungs – something about ‘How in the hell can anyone be so smart and so stupid all at the same time?’

‘Hey – I totally resent that – what the heck? How dare you speak to me like that! What did I do?’

Hmmmm..Well, it kinda just took one look to see what I’d done. Apparently Mr. Einstein in all his infinite wisdom had placed a blanket (a very huge blanket I might add here) over the engine to keep it warm.

You see, I know that it was a blanket because I could see the tufts that remained of it and I recognized the tufts. I have to say that there wasn’t unfortunately very much else LEFT of the blanket for me to recognize because this queen-sized warm blanket was now the size of about a handkerchief and it very unfortunately (for me) was sucked into the fan belt. Oh THAT’S what that sucking noise was!

Bob is so furious that his neck is bulging veins I didn’t even know he had there. His face is contorted as if he’s going to give birth to an aneurysm any minute. I do not have a good feeling about this.

He turns on me definitely controlling himself as I have a feeling he wanted to shake me until my teeth rattled and through gritted teeth, his left eye now twitching a merry rhythm, he rasps out ‘Didn’t you NOTICE the damned blanket hanging out the side, Audrey before you got in and turned the key over????’

What a stupid question! If I had noticed the blanket, did he really think I would have gone ahead and turned the key over? What a moron! However, let me insert here that I’m not stupid (well….about some things). I didn’t think now was the time for name calling and I certainly didn’t think that pointing out that HE was the stupid one was going to be winning me any popularity contests so I demurely said ‘What blanket?’

Hmmm….guess I got him on that point! He proceeds to keep yelling about the blanket that he put on the engine to keep it warm. I just played dumb like he was speaking Spanish or something because seriously – I never saw the blasted blanket so how would I KNOW that there was a blanket there in the first place? Do I look psychic, Bob? Psychotic maybe, but definitely NOT psychic. Hence the vacuumized blanket in the fan belt!

By now of course, the neighbors have come out and are laughing and strolling up with their coffee to get a gander at the Chevy Monza with the blanket in the fan belt and giving their various and sundry advice, some of which I might add I didn’t care for. Some went along the lines of having me dye my hair blond so I’d better fit the part – whatever. I get no respect!

The kids had come out and Katie started to cry because she thought I’d killed the car – I might add our only car. I tried to assure her that her big smart daddy would be able to no doubt fix said car in no time flat which seemed to cheer her up a bit. The daddy in question of course is still sending me electrical impulses from his eyes no doubt aimed at my brain.

As things would have it, I mentioned that I really needed to get going – after all I was late for work now thanks to this little escapade – and solicited one of my kind neighbors to drive me to work, leaving the mechanic to determine the fate of the downed Monza.

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Funny Story About a Car – Now You Tell Me!

As I told Katie, I had not killed the car….just set it back a few years I suppose. Bob had to take the engine apart and spent the better part of that day with the kids outside playing in the nonexistent backyard (in the mud I might add) and then having a neighbor drive him down to get new parts. Luckily, it didn’t have to be towed because he was smart enough to fix it himself. 

Too bad he just didn’t happen to be smart enough to LEAVE A NOTE or TELL SOMEONE that he had put a blanket on the engine!  (Did they have sticky notes back in 1983?)

The moral of that story is this – you can’t know something that someone neglects to tell you and I’m still not taking the blame for that little Chevy Monza fiasco.

He eventually calmed down over it though he still shudders when I bring up this story.  Our friends happen to love this story and especially my reenactment of the sucking sound as the blanket went into the fan belt.

Mostly I bring it up when I want to remind him that he has a tendency to leave out very important details and what can happen when said details are omitted. Again, I’m pointing out that I’m not a mind reader, Bob!

The Chevy Monza lived a long and happy life. It eventually died on the side of the road ironically with me at the wheel on my way to drop it off at the dealership as our trade-in. Was that somehow karma or what?

It was very embarrassing having to hitch a ride home with yet another neighbor and calling the dealership where I might add Bob was waiting…..

‘You’re not going to believe it, Bob but I was driving along and I heard this whirring and then a sucking noise and then nothing’.

I think you could have heard him sigh around the world and then silence.

They sent a tow truck to tow our car to the lot. And no matter how Bob felt standing there explaining all this to the car dealer, he certainly couldn’t have felt HALF as stupid as I felt standing on the side of the road explaining it to the tow truck guy!

This is only one of my several (I know it’s hard to believe) funny stories about a car. I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to machinery!

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