Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You Had Me At "The Club"

When I was in high school, I drove a 1994 Geo Prizm. It was thirdhand by the time I got it. It was my father’s work car, then my older brother’s car, then my car. When it was my father’s car, it was just a small piece of junk. Then my brother used it for two years and transformed it into a small piece of abstract art. The trade-in value depended on how much gas I had in the tank. My brother is about six and a half feet tall, and people of that height are not meant to drive vehicles the size of a Geo. I’m pretty sure they named the company “Geo” because they knew they couldn’t fit any word bigger than three letters on the side of that tiny car. My giant of a brother had to fold like a lawn chair to get behind the wheel. And he had to lean the seat back so far that his head could be seen through the backseat window. The result his size had on a car that small was fairly predictable. He destroyed almost everything he could.

The seatbelt was forever in the “extended” position from being pulled beyond its capacity so many times. This resulted in me having to tuck it into the headrest behind my neck so it didn’t flop uselessly to the floor. And his knees had crushed the dashboard so much that only one air-conditioning knob was left. So I had to remove it and use it on whichever aspect of the air I wanted to change. If I wanted to change the air to cold and defrost my windshield at full blast, it took about ten minutes. It was like a master key for the A/C. And if I ever broke down, I’d need a coat hanger to turn on the hazard lights. His knee had also crushed that part of the dash, so the hazards button was about 6 inches deep and impossible to reach without some kind of improvised tool. And I couldn’t get a signal on the radio, because my brother had grabbed the antenna for support one day while getting into his seat and torn it clean off. And since the CD player was a $30 gift from our grandmother, it obviously wasn’t very reliable. So I was usually stuck listening to a Ray Stevens cassette that I found in the junk drawer at home.

I think the damage to the car was due to a combination of my brother’s size, his clumsiness, and the Geo’s cheap engineering. It was the perfect storm. So by the time I inherited it, he had turned it into a junked up, trashed out eyesore. And let me tell you, your stock with the girls goes way down when you drive a car like that. If there were some high school girls in existence who thought it was funny enough to give me a chance, then I didn’t know them. It wasn’t until college that the car became funny. By then, the shocks had stopped working on the passenger side so the tire scraped the wheel-well with every left turn. And the passenger door handle was fractured, so you could only get out through the window. I took my wife on our first date in that car. As an added joke, I locked the steering wheel with “The Club” from the 80s. She thought it was hilarious. That’s when I knew I’d met my soul mate.


The Grigsbys said...

That is hilarious! I remember riding in the back of that car on a certain (return) trip to Taco Bell and feeling the pavement under my rear the whole way there. By the way...I have not once eaten at Taco Bell since that day. I seriously love Katie.

Lindsay said...

The good ol' geo...
Those were strange & uncomfortable times.

Jill said...

That looks like a picture of your actual geo. is it?
also, the title of this post makes me think of rap songs.