A bus passenger one morning told us that she had followed a new-to-her path to a parking lot, where she had left her car.
When she got to the car, she activated her card or doodad that opens
her car. (Not familiar with these doodads, as Dolores and I prefer
actual keys that we can lose or bend so they won't work) According to
all the latest technology available for such doodads, the car lights
flashed. (Why do car lights have to flash for you to unlock your car?)
But the flashing lights were from a car two or three vehicles away in the parked row.
Nice story. We all have them. I told the passengers my wrong-car
story, only it took place before doodads helped us find that we were at
the wrong car -- or SUV or pickup.
Mine happened with a Subaru, which, I think somehow makes any car
tale a bit better -- unless it's a tale about a Toyota to which we
switched about 20 years ago due to their getting better gasoline
My Subaru, a blue one as so many were during a certain era of the
little beasties, was parked at the post office. I came out with my arms
loaded with mail, including a lot of junk mail, your typical postal
collection on any given day, and was looking down at it, thumbing
through it as I walked toward Sally (I always named Subarus before
Dolores and I began naming Toyotas.)
I saw the blue and, still looking through the mail, reached for the
door handle. Just in time to see a lady sitting in the driver's seat.
The wrong-car passenger of the recent morning said, "I'll bet she wasn't your lady."
"No," I replied, "and it wasn't my Subaru."
No one got to tell these true car adventures back in the good old
days of horses and wagons. Another reason to prefer the good-now days.
But most of my Subaru adventures didn't concern mistaken identity.
One did concern a would-be Subaru burglar, who tried to break into the
locked right front passenger door while not bothering with the unlocked
tail lift where my laptop and camera were hidden in the trunk space
A friend and I had been at the movies in Auburn, and, returning to
the car, my friend noticed scratches in the glass of the right front
passenger window. Scratches were always common on my Subarus, but never
in windows. We decided that whoever had been trying to break and enter
had been frightened away by someone approaching in the parking lot.
The computer and camera were safe.
Why the lift was unlocked was probably typical of cars whose owners
had backed them into tree stumps, which they hadn't noticed. At least
that was Sally Subaru's sad tale. No dents were there. It just would not
Dolores' cousin didn't know that, which made our Boston trip a little
more bearable, because I was a card-carrying cynic. Dolores had
suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and had been at Massachusetts General
Hospital for a couple of weeks after they miraculously saved her life.
When it was time for her to return home, a relative had taken her to
another relative's apartment in a not-too-pricey suburb.
Dolores' cousin agreed that she and I would go together to bring
Dolores back to her house. (Dolores and I had had three dates when the
rupture had occurred, so I was not quite on the outside, looking in.)
On a snowy morning, I drove through Bucksport on the way to pick up
the cousin, when Sally's windshield wiper broke. I stopped in Bucksport
for a half-hour to have it replaced.
"You're late," the cousin noted when I arrived at her midcoast home to pick her up.
We drove to the seedy neighborhood, arriving in late afternoon.
"Be sure and lock the doors," the cousin said.
I did. I locked all four doors. I didn't tell her that Sally's lift
wouldn't lock.The next morning Sally was untouched. Who in Massachusetts
wants to steal from an ancient, rusting, blue Subaru with Maine plates?
We brought Dolores back to Maine in a snowstorm, arriving at the cousin's house in the evening.
I thought Sally had done a remarkable job considering the at least 150,000 miles under her tires.
Sally always did a remarkable job, such as getting my son and I home
one evening in a blinding snowstorm. Visibility was so poor I suggested
Scotty get out and walk ahead of Sally to show us the road. He declined,
but Sally still got us safely home.
One morning Scotty was driving after another bad snowstorm. (I don't
recall any good snowstorms.) He pulled over into a rest area because he
became nervous about driving in the deep snow. The snow was deep and
unbroken in the rest area.
"We'll never get out of here," he said.
"Yes, we will," I responded.
Dads have to show confidence around teenage sons.
We switched seats, I put Sally in gear, and out she went as if it
were a bright summer day. I always appreciated Sally after that, showing
a dad to be a better driver than a teenager.
Our first Subaru was an ancient critter with four-wheel drive and a
frozen oil-drain plug. So we never changed her oil. My oldest son
dragged it home, having bought it from a high-school buddy. I don't
forget the price, perhaps a pack of cigarettes -- my son did smoke and
dragged those awful odors everywhere he went, including home.
My son sold the little beast to another buddy, and the last I recall
seeing it was when it was parked nearly atop a snowdrift in the
front-yard of the high school. Probably the centerpiece for an
After Dolores returned from Massachusetts General, she was afraid to
drive so we had no need for two cars. She had just bought, before her
sudden illness, a 2002 Toyota with some 23,000 miles on her. Since Sally
Subaru only had about 189,000 under her tired tires, we gave her to my
youngest son, now that he had learned that you can drive a Subaru out of
a snowed-in pullover as well as into one.
The little "brat" (I'll call him that for what he did with Sally.)
removed her duct tape, patched those cancerous rust spots, and sold her.
Neither Dolores nor I have ever been able to sell anything, and we'd never have thought of selling old Sally.
Maybe kids aren't as dumb as we make them out to be.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at email@example.com.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012