March 27, 2011

Car Trouble, Quit Bugging Me

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When I become richer than God, I will buy every baby blue Volkswagen Beetle convertible on this planet, arrange them all into a neat pile and destroy each and every one with my collection of hydrogen bombs.

In case that wasn’t clear enough, I hate my car. Couldn’t you tell?

Well, let me self-edit, because it’s possible hate is too strong a word. I do love the Painted Lady. But I only love her in places other than Ithaca and in weather other than winter.

Just before Spring Break, there was a monstrous snow. The sky shat glitter all day and all night and I woke up to a two-foot wall barricading me into my apartment.

It seemed like days. I had depleted my ramen stores and if I had to watch another Dr. Phil episode on the Oprah Winfrey Network, I would have probably shot myself.

Really, I was only stuck until 1:25, when my landlord’s “people” finally unleashed me with their magical shovels. But that is neither here nor there.

Since the snowdrifts were basically as tall as me, I waited for Ithaca’s snowplow wielding magicians to clear the sidewalks before I set out to unearth my little blue monster. I say “set out” because while my car is usually parked outside my apartment, the dusting of snow that had fallen during the hour and a half I was at church the previous Sunday had all but rendered my car immobile.

I made it as far as the Ithaca cemetery at a whopping one mile per hour when the bug and I gave up, leaving me to walk home in a blizzard and the bug to freeze alone with the dead.

Retrieving my car the next day was a 4:00 p.m. walk of shame.

What would my father think? I recalled a conversation we had just before buying the car:

Infinitely Wiser Papa: “Get a Volvo.”

Blinded by the Bug: “But Volvos are old people cars. I want a bug. Or a 1956 Jaguar Roadster.”

This is Why My Hair is Grey: “Fine, a bug it is.” (I vaguely recall having this same conversation ten years ago … only it was either a dog or a pony.)

What would my friends think?

Middle School Car-Loving Ex: “What a stupid car.”

I Will Show Him That This 16-Year-Old is Cool: “You’re wrong, this is an amazing car.”

I Will Show Her That She is a Moron: “Pop the bonnet, let’s have a look inside.”

Feeling Less Confident: (After 15 minutes of figuring out what a bonnet was and then another 15 minutes figuring out how to “pop it”) “Aha! You see? This engine, it’s … it’s …”

Yep, She’s Dim as Ever: “It’s shit.”

Dejected: “You’re shit.”

When I finally reached the graveyard, I did not find the little blue mound of joy lightly dusted with powdery snow that I was expecting. What I saw was an igloo.

In fact, the only indications that a car resided under the massive pile of snow were the two sky-colored side mirrors poking out helplessly from either side of the snow globe.

“This has not gone well,” I thought to myself.

The situation would have been less earth shattering if I had had a shovel. But seeing as my shovel was locked inside of my buried car (for some reason which is totally unbeknownst to me), I decided to use the shovels God gave me: hands.

I can only describe the feeling of digging your car out with your hands like this: walking home at 7 a.m. the day after Halloween in a Playboy Gangster Outfit (which at the time seemed like a good idea), minus one thigh-high stocking, only to run into your parents chatting with President Skorton and your grandmother just outside your apartment.

More or less.

Exactly three frostbitten fingers and 15 minutes later, I had unearthed my shovel and exactly .3 percent of the snow from around my car.

Just when I thought the endeavor was hopeless, two incredibly gorgeous guys in a scandalously rustic pickup truck drive by, stop, and mutter those three words every girl in my situation so desperately wants to hear: “Need any help?”

They hop out in their flannel tees, stopping only for a moment to ruffle their deliciously ungroomed facial hair, before they both whipped out two enormous … shovels and got to work.

Within 15 minutes, the boys dug out my car and practically lifted the thing up and over the snow mounds that had collected under the tires.

I wish I knew who they were. But before I could even give them my thanks (or my phone number), they disappeared into the horizon just as quickly as they arrived.

I nearly wet myself with the cliché-ness of it all.

Once again, Blue Steel was back in business. Sure, I’ll probably have to wait until I have at least $100 to call my own before I can trade in this little spitfire for a proper vehicle. But until then, Old Faithful and I will just have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Forget guardian angels; if I’m in trouble, Lord, please send me lumberjacks.

Cristina Stiller is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at cstiller@cornellsun.com. Believe You Me appears alternate Mondays this semester.

Original Author: Cristina Stiller