July 18th 4:22pm - Passat

When I turned sixteen my parents gave me the big white van to drive. I had been trying to get it stolen for years. I would leave the keys in the front window on the dashboard and the doors unlocked. Nobody ever took it. When we drove through Death Valley a couple years before on a road trip, the air conditioning broke. The temperature gauge in the van read one hundred and twenty-one. It remained on one hundred and twenty-one for two days. Without air conditioning. Having the front windows down (the middle and back windows weren't mobile) did not help. The sliding door broke years before that. Everyone who got in the van had to climb through the front doors. A piece of rope held the door closed for months until my dad got it fixed. The cloth seats bore remnants of the pen drawings Trent, Krista, and I illustrated on the many drives to Southern California. The ceiling had a burn mark in it from when Trent's friend Tyler lit his hair on fire while my mom drove them to the movies. Paint was missing off the front bumper from my mom pulling too far forward in the garage. My dad finally hung a tennis ball from the garage ceiling. Mom was supposed to stop when the ball rested on the windshield. She still ran into the staircase leading from the garage to the house ten times too many. To describe the van in one word, I would say rickety. And old. A big, old, rickety van we had had since I was in second grade.  

When I turned sixteen I was given the soccer-mom-mobile coupled with the promise that I would get a new car soon. I wanted a silver Jetta. While at my friend Kimmy's house one day my dad called and told me to get home immediately, he had a big surprise for me. I thought I had done enough nagging about getting a new car. I had put some good, solid effort into the get-Kara-a-new-car project. It must be a car. Only explanation. 

I pulled into the driveway a little while later to find a beautiful, sparkling clean silver Passat in the driveway. The largest red bow I had ever seen in my life sat on top of it. Dad and Krista were outside smiling. Trent videotaped. I got out of the van and started jumping up and down, shrieking my happiness in unintelligible sounds. Trent still videotaped. I eventually asked Dad for the keys. I wanted to drive. His response was, "Well... actually... you're not twenty-five." I questioned him. What does that mean? He revealed to me he had actually taken his car into the shop to get some things fixed on it and they had asked him if he had a preference for a rental car. A stroke of brilliance had illuminated upon his brain and he requested a Jetta. They had a Passat. It was decided a Passat was close enough. He had just happened to find an enormous bow in the closet at home, he remembered where the video camera was, and things had just fallen into place...

As a sixteen-year-old, one dreams about the car they want. It is imperative to one's happiness. I was absolutely depressed for about three minutes. Then I just found it highly amusing. We had a great laugh about it. And I vowed revenge!

1 comment:

Flash in the Pan said...

I'm telling you, I wish you could have seen the proud look on your dad's face when I rehashed this old tale with him. Please find that videotape.