Beggars and choosers

Posted by Gail Gabrielson at 22 January 2014

Category: Memoir

It’s true that beggars can’t be choosers, as I’m learning firsthand. My car is in the body shop, getting a new front bumper. Winter’s been tough on my car this year!

So while my car is next door getting a new piece of expensive fiberglass, I’m driving Mom’s car. Oh, it’s going to be a long week. My car is a Kia Sorento — considered an SUV or at least a small SUV. I sit a little higher in it, and I like being able to see. It’s a Zachheus thing. Meanwhile, Mom’s car is a Ford something… I think a Taurus. It rides along the ground.

Mom and I are approximately the same height — she’s done some shrinking — but we’re definitely not built the same. She must have longer legs and a shorter torso, while I’m just the opposite. I tried to get into her car to back it out of the garage, and I thought I was going to have to take off my head to get in. I fell into the seat, brought in my legs and put it in reverse. Whew. Got that far.

Once I was in, I couldn’t get out again. I tried moving the seat back. That seemed to help. I crawled out, and checked the seat adjustment buttons. Ah-ha! I could move the seat down as well as back, so I could fit my fat head into the interior of the car. My head fits, now if I could get my feet and legs to follow!

I moved the seat back still farther, so I could just barely reach the gas pedal, while still being able to touch the brake pedal easily. If I don’t wear my snowboots, I think I’ll be able to maneuver into and out of her car. Her steering wheel is still too close, and I’m still reaching down to find a phantom stick.  I might get used to having the shift lever on the steering column by Thursday.

Parking on Tuesday was a losing proposition. I had to park out in the South Forty — probably a block and a half away from any door at work. I thought about leaving the car at home and just walking to work. Well, maybe not. It’s really cold and windy. I found out just how cold and windy when I went on my supper break. I knew that car was out there somewhere, I just didn’t recall exactly where.

And her car doesn’t have an Astro Start, so I couldn’t set off any alarms or flares or even a toot to give me a clue as to where it was hiding. Did I mention it sits rather low to the ground? At least when I’m looking for my white SUV, I have a few targets to choose from. Mom’s car is low and red — we tease her that it’s her mid-life crisis sports car.

After 15 minutes of checking out low red cars in the back lot, I finally found her car. I was just about ready to call a taxi to help me in the search. I’ll have to say this much for her Ford: It does warm up quickly. Now if I could get the seat adjusted so I don’t feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame hanging over the steering wheel… I think it’s the headrest that’s a little low.

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