I hate cars. Do you know that? You do now. I HATE CARS.
I hate them firstly because they’re necessary (can’t live with ‘em, can’t . . . forget it), secondly because they fill up with crap, thirdly because I resent what they’ve done to our sadly dissociated American culture, fourthly because people who aren’t otherwise total dickheads behave like total dickheads behind the wheel, fifthly because they fill up with yet more crap, sixthly because most of them still require a shitload of gas and still spit out a shitload of toxins that have slow-poached the Earth to the consistency of flan, seventhly because they require constant frickin’ maintenance, eighthly because the crap-up-filling never ends, and ninthly because with or without the maintenance, THEY BREAK DOWN. At the worst times. Why, I’ve had the experience of breaking down on BOTH Thanksgiving AND Christmas, and let me tell you, it’s a blast.
Also, tenthly: people crash into you uninvited! Yes, they do! You can be the bestest driver in the world, with the fastest reflexes and the coolest disposition and 12 compound eyes ringing your head, and still, some random human can rear end you at a stoplight while all of your babies are strapped in the back.
That happened to me when my kids were small. I was driving a ridiculously old and extravagantly dorky minivan of the old Butt Ugly Variety, the kind you’d see from a distance and have to shield your eyes, so ghastly was the vision.
That was probably the reason why the driver behind me failed to see the traffic light change to red and, instead of stopping, slammed the bejeezus out of my Butt Ugly butt. Remember my fourthly, above? That people who aren’t otherwise total dickheads become thus in cars? That was me. I thus became a total dickhead of the Mad Mama subtype, pulling over and spilling out and running up to the offending driver, spitting flames and howling WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?! and MY THREE KIDS ARE IN THAT VAN! and THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN HURT! and THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN KILLED! AND! AND! AND! until, finally, I noticed the driver’s youth, the sweetness of her eyes and the sheets of tears spilling out of them. And suddenly I felt like all the up-filled crap on the floor of my Butt Ugly van.
Filled with regret, I stopped.
I’m sorry, I said. I shouldn’t have yelled like that. I was just scared. My children are fine. I’m sorry.
I asked her if anyone was coming to help. She nodded, still crying. Her father was on his way. When he arrived, I told him what happened and apologized to him, too. He went to her. She cried more. The crappiness of my emotions knew no bounds. Poor kid, I’d traumatized her. To this day she probably remembers me as the Batshit Dickhead Mama in the Butt Ugly minivan who tore her a new one on Central Ave. I remember myself the same way.
I hate cars.