Our poor, labouring car finally gave up her heroic attempts to keep moving despite a burnt out clutch on Tuesday . After a panicky call to CAA for a tow, we heard the news that I was stranded in town as, due to incredibly busy schedules, Siobhan couldn’t be repaired on the same day, and maybe not even until next week. The two automobile rental businesses in Orillia had no available vehicles. Return cab fare would cost more than what I earn in a day. Feeling orphaned, I began making plans to stay in a motel room. Luckily, a work colleague volunteered to take me home and back in the next morning, as she was actually going out past Moonstone en route to Wasaga Beach.
The shock and panic gradually wore off and the next day a rental car became available. My “Black Bomber” is a Mazda and pretty new. And here is where I felt like a country hick, arriving in town via horse and buggy only to find that airplanes had been invented.
Did you know that cars can start with a button? I certainly didn’t. This was my first introduction to a key fob, a little doohickey that just has to be near you as you step on the brake and depress the starting button. Cool! Automatic windows, yes, I knew about those. Automatic door locks – okay, I knew about those too, although that makes me wonder what these vehicle owners do when (okay, if) they accidentally lock their keys in the car.
But I was oohing and ahhing at the cellphone buttons on the steering wheel. The volume controls for the radio, also on the steering wheel, thrilled me. That got me wondering where the radio aerial on the car was, and as I really looked around at the traffic, I saw that many cars either didn’t have one, or had a little stubby thing off the back roof. I still haven’t found the Black Bomber’s aerial. I was really amazed to see a little USB connector beside an auxiliary battery connector, (for there is no cigarette lighter) and could begin to imagine myself lounging around in this new mobile office for days.
The real excitement though, is the plush, lush interior. All black simulated leather upholstery that wraps around me. The quiet motor, the calmly confident indicator signals, the subtle lighting all impressed me. Sitting in this unaccustomed luxury instantly recalled me to an evening ride home with a high school history teacher ‘way back when. It was after a play rehearsal during the winter when it gets dark early. The front seat of his sedan actually swivelled so I could sit elegantly, then swing my legs inside. I had been overwhelmed by the dimly-lit interior, quiet music and elegance of a vehicle I would ride in only once. The atmosphere seemed suddenly charged. Here was my history teacher looking distinctly unfamiliar. The short ride home seemed pregnant with romantic possibilities. I hadn’t ever been in a car owned by anyone other than family. The revelation that I could go somewhere far, and more comfortably and in a more exciting way hit me in the fragrance of the leather seats, the purr of the motor and the mysterious, velvet darkness.
It was a very short, ride home. Absolutely nothing happened but stilted conversation.
And Nick has called to say our car may be fixed by this afternoon, so my relationship with the Black Bomber may be just as short.
But what an unexpected thrill from an unwanted breakdown!