Monday, November 16, 2009

Do you remember your first?

I do.

She was cheap. (I paid $400 for her)
She was experienced. (Clocking more 200,000 miles before I got my hands on her.)
And she could be temperamental. (Throwing mechanical hissy fits at the most inopportune times)

But she was mine. And memories of her came flooding back when I spotted her doppelganger on the streets of Culver City. I particularly remember the day our relationship came to a crashing halt.

It was a summer day. Four buddies and myself were on our way to NYC to partake in the beauty of Brew Burger -- cheeseburger, fries and all the beer you could drink for just $7.95.
To five teenagers from the suburbs (with unsophisticated palates and an unquenchable thirst for Schaefer, the one beer to have when you're having more than one), this was nothing less than Nirvana.

Of course, we never made it past the county line.

Coming down a steep incline on Rt. 59 I applied some light pressure to the brakes. They did not respond. I pushed harder. Still nothing. The '66 Plymouth picked up speed. So did my heart rate. My buddies, who were too busy passing a joint around, seemed unfazed by the events. That is, until I swerved over the double yellow line to avoid a decapitating collision with an 18 wheel truck.

We ran a red light.
Then another.
I yanked on the emergency brake.
I threw the transmission into Park.
Nothing would stop her.

Then Sir Isaac Newton intervened. I made a hard swerving right turn and aimed the car up a hill. I angled toward the curb and brought the car to a stop. I exhaled and looked down at the speedometer and it mercifully read "0".

We pushed the car to the nearest gas station, where an amused grease monkey popped the hood and quickly determined that I had sprung a leak in the brake fluid line. He unscrewed a wing nut and handed me the Master Cylinder, "Take a look, boys. It's bone-fucking dry."

That phrase might conjure up images of a sun baked desert or a Martian landscape.
But to this day it will always be a reminder of that fateful day in Spring Valley.
And it explains why I have never owned or even step foot in another vehicle manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation.

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