the tao of automobiles redux: how many nuns does it take to get a dodge charger out of bondage?

Kudos to the brave souls who stepped up for their personalized automotivology readings! You can drive yourself over here to eavesdrop and also to submit your own request. The oracle remains on duty 7 days a week.

It only seems fair at this point to ‘fess up to my current automotive issues. They involve the planet Saturn (twice); Senator Ron Paul; five singing, joking and jiving nuns; innumerable miracles; and a Dodge Charger. Are you with me so far? Good.

Since I rolled and destroyed my then-uninsured Jeep Cherokee in the desert of southcentral Utah five years ago, I have kept company with a procession of what my friend Sasha calls “gap cars.” Gifts, loaners, $300 specials, all much appreciated, but none were, well, you know, The One.

In a spontaneous burst of spontaneity, I sold Transportation Planet Saturn on Christmas Eve 2007. The young son of a friend got himself a 14-year-old car upon which he immediately slapped a Ron Paul for President sticker, and I (almost) got to pay a month’s rent. I proceeded to then go car-free for some months, and was reminded how energizing it truly can be to (1) walk 3/4 of-a-mile to the bus stop, all the while wondering why every clock in view is telling a different time; (2) stand in the sharp, wintry wind alongside single-occupant cars traveling 55 miles per hour; and (3) listen to loud cell-phone conversations in which people say, “Well, right now I’m riding on the bus,” in languages romantic, slavic, and celtic.

All this time I dreamt of my perfect vehicle: comfortable, fuel-efficient, sleepworthy, a practical, not-overly- showy workhorse that could get me everywhere I wanted to go. A friend generously loaned me a newer Transportation Planet Saturn, but I never stopped envisioning my next true vehicle, secure in the knowledge that I would miraculously manifest it in no time. (The car didn’t have to be great, but the story sure did!)

Fasten your seat belt; this is where it gets interesting. A friend invited me to a performance of “Nunsensations,” which features five nuns in a Vegas lounge act. When the Sisters ventured into the audience asking for volunteers to participate in a prize drawing, I immediately went airborne and nearly leapt into the arms of Sister Mary Amnesia (who was fluent in ADDitz). Around the fourth number, a large one-armed bandit was wheeled onto stage, sporting three spin-wheels bearing images of Faith, Hope, Charity, Will and Grace (both looking fabulous as always, girlfriends!). The big winner would receive (Gasp!) a new car!

Blah, blah, blah, some guy named Lee who won a consolation prize. Next, they called my name and scanned the theatre and I waved my arms wildly once again! “Over here, Sister! Over here!” Sister Mary Amnesia looked into my eyes and asked, “Are you Catholic, dear?” “No,” I replied. “Ohhhh,” she said in a melancholy whimper, “What are you?” “Jewish!” said I; “Close enough,” said she. They spun the wheels and Charity, Charity, Charity lined up in a perfectly divine row.

The Dodge Charger was mine! All 12 inches of him, adorned with emerald green and silver flames, amazing mag wheels, and a scratchy, loud, endless-loop rendition of “Come on and take a Free Ride, Free Ride!” “It’s a miracle,” I said to all the theatre-goers who congratulated me, who wanted to be in the aura of the miracle, to lightly touch my back and to gaze upon the box I held cradled in my arms. I floated home and placed the car, still in its display box, onto my altar next to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

When the spirit moved me, I set to release the CHARGER from its box and give it free rein to morph into a car offering a bit more legroom. The car was bound and shackled in its cardboard cell like a load of Oregon logs on a flatbed on icy I-80. No less than three tools were needed to cut through the plastic, cardboard, and metal fasteners. Infinitesimal Phillips-head screws secured the chassis to a molded plate, clearly to prevent pre-pubescent chop-shoppers from making the big heist at Wal-Mart and then making a fortune on the black market. My 30-year-old Swiss Army Knife snapped to attention and performed its duties admirably. I knew that my entire automotive future was wrapped up in this holy relic, and Easter was mere days away.

As the pile of packaging detritus grew, my hopes soared. The Charger was a gift from above, delivered directly to me by the Nuns, for Heaven’s sake! I pushed the rooftop button and the lights winked at me conspiratorially while the siren wailed and the taunt of “Come on and take a free ride!” bounced off the walls. Only one more piece of molded plastic lay between me and the unfurling highway for which I was so utterly ready.

Oy! Vey! The two remaining screwettes were at an ungodly angle! The Swiss Army Knife was too big. My tweezers did not carry the name Phillips. My Charger is charged and ready, booted by an unholy chunk of something vaguely DuPont. “What does this mean?” I implore skyward. My wheels spin rapidly, though forward (or backward) motion eludes me. “Tomorrow,” I tell myself, holding the car up to the sky, Kunta Kinte-style. “Tomorrow, as Sister Mary-I-Forgot-Her-Name is my witness, the sun moves into Aries and I’ve got a Dodge Ram that’s ready to roll.”

“But first, a visit to the Oracle…”

3 comments

  1. Laurie

    Since I witnessed the handing over of the “gift from the heavens,” I thoroughly enjoyed reading how you unleashed the ol’ girl from her bondage!

    Like

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