I have never been ogled like this before. Men stop in their tracks as I pass by. Mouths drop open and saliva pools in the corners. Fantasies that have been laying as dormant as the old sports car they traded in for a mini-van are fueled once again.
You see, I drive a car I have no business even getting behind the wheel of. I'd give you the make and model but, frankly, it's too embarrassing. I'm not worthy of this machine. Besides, it's mostly women that read this blog, and the name won't mean anything to most of you. It certainly didn't mean anything to me before The Partner brought it to my attention. My old car had succumbed to an incurable radiator problem at 200,000+ miles; I was in need of wheels. It meant so much to The Partner to have this car in his garage that he was willing to take the extreme measure of letting me drive it.
Perhaps these thoughts are running through your head: "He lets you drive it? What do you mean, he lets you drive it? This is the 21st century! This is the USA! You have every bit as much of a right to drive any car as he does!" Well, you're wrong. Or at least you don't know the whole story.
The story is that I kill cars. Well, body panels, anyway. I've left plastic pieces and rim residue all over the northeast since I first started driving 13 years ago. I never met a curb I wouldn't kiss; there's no median I won't sidle up against. I'm fine on the open road, but I don't do well with barriers.
I've already done things to this car that would make men weep. There are two holes in the front bumper. The back passenger side rim has road rash. I've already gone through several tires, though I don't think all of that was my fault. It could use a wash. What I really should be driving is a 1989 Honda Civic.
I met my car in Queens one spring afternoon. I drove it home, adjusting myself to the 6-speed transmission and the growl of its engine. The Partner followed behind in my old car as it made its last hurrah. We stopped at a diner in Stamford for a bite to eat. Our waiter took our order. He brought us drinks. I didn't think much of it when I saw him walk outside and stand against the railing of the concrete steps that lead to the parking lot, or when I saw him come back in.
He looked at The Partner as he delivered our meals a while later. "Is that your car?" he asked. He had that moony look I've become accustomed to. It must be the kind of gaze beautiful women receive on a daily basis, just by virtue of being alive, by deigning to grace with their gorgeousness any given venue.
I have to give my husband credit. He didn't so much as blanch, or stutter to get the words out. "It's my wife's," he informed the waiter.
I nodded sheepishly. "It's wasted on me." He needed to know I was aware of that fact.
To this day I feel like a fraud whenever compliments come the way of my car. I know I should assume a macho air, thumping the hood in a way that conveys my pride without leaving so much as a trace of sweat on the paint.
4.9 liters, baby. 394 horsepower. Those are the vital stats I imagine myself offering when prompted. But it never happens that way. I get too flustered. I don't even know what those numbers mean. Usually I just shrug. "But, hey, look at this! It fits three carseats!" I gesture to the back, where my two children and another friend from pre-school enjoy their ride in the fiercest vehicle in the carpool.
Then I shrug again. "Totally wasted on me, I know."