The True Story of the Shitmobile

My brother tells it this way:

One delightful morning, an Angelic Boy was riding to school. As his older sister drove, he innocently rolled down the car window. Being a model child and upstanding citizen, he was not doing anything improper. It was just that Angelic Boy was channeling his inner Thoreau. He wanted to appreciate the early spring morning and align his chi before the craziness of high school began for the day. As Angelic Boy was revealing in Nature, a big bad voice, that of Older Bossy Know It All Sister, told him to shut the (deleted for the sensitive ears of the viewing audience) window. While Older Bossy Sister did not give a reason for her unreasonable and foundless demand, Angelic Boy was raised to believe in good manners and listening to one’s elders. With a sad sigh, he complied. Slowly, as if was protesting the injustice, the very wrongness, of closing Angelic Brother’s great gateway to nature, the window crept up. Then, without warning or provocation, it stopped. Just like that. The window would no longer go up, but remained in limbo, halfway up, halfway down. The end.

Clearly, the way my brother tells it is wrong.

The real story behind the Shitmobile goes something like this… Our school district didn’t have any high school bus service. They claimed it was to save money, but everybody knew better. If the rich area Mommies and Daddies gave their little darlings cars the minute they were old enough to get driving permits, why bother? But not all Mommies and Daddies are loaded and/or believe 16 year-olds should drive BMWs. Nope. My parents gave me the Shitmobile. And that was only because they were sick of driving me to school.

The Shitmobile came by its name honestly. Many moons before this particular story occurs, my parents had bought a used, decade-old Honda for my father to commute in. At the time, he happened to be stationed in Pennsylvania and we lived in Central Ohio. For about a year, he drove eleventy bajillion miles to see us on the weekends. Eventually, he retired and for awhile, so did the Shitmobile. Oh, and did I mention that at some point during one of his trips back to PA, Dad hit some black ice and took the Shitmobile over a guardrail? Thankfully, he was safe, but the Parents decided not to fix the damage to the car. Who would when it was a tenuous step above Junker?

At some point after I was given responsibility for the Shitmobile, it was mysteriously love tapped in the back. In an effort to avert grounding, I had tried to hide the damage by finding some white paint and finger painting over the scratch gash Grand Canyon sized gouge. Except the garage was really dark when the repair attempt occurred and I didn’t know that the general car dirtiness was mixing with the paint. The haphazard patch actually accentuated the damage and the area retained a general dark gray tinge from that day. To add to the ghetto aesthetic, the Honda emblem had been pulled off during this love tap incident and I crazy glued it back on. The glue didn’t hold long and eventually the Honda emblem was lost in the streets of Columbus. Classy. (On a side note, I would like to take this opportunity to confess. Mom and Dad: that the love tap did not in fact occur in the Junior Class parking lot, as I’m sure you know. I hit a mailbox. Angela Hu’s mailbox, very late at night, as I tried to gun the car, in reverse, over the two foot deep drainage ditch in her front yard. Yes, I was parked in her front yard. Also, I might have actually been breaking curfew. And there might have been 8-or-so teenagers with varying levels of intoxication crammed in the back seat. I can’t remember exactly. Just so you know, it’s too late to ground me.)

Anyway, to compound the Shitmobile’s shitactularness, the car was in the early stages of rusting out. And the thing would overheat. Driving could only occur with the temperature blasting at the Living on the Face of the Fiery Sun setting. Not a huge problem from October to May, but man, the summer sucked. But the real crowning glory was the front passenger side window; the window my stupid little brother broke and my father later secured in the up and closed position with an entire roll of duct tape and sheer willpower. Because the window story has entered the family mythos, I would like to make sure it’s recorded correctly. Little Brother claims my telling is inaccurate, and in response I’d like to say three things to the stupid turdface. First, my version is the correct and accurate telling, so shut up already. Second, I have a blog and my audience is bigger. I win. And third, nana bobo.

So, without further ado, I present a recounting of the events related to the Shitmobile’s broken window:

For several days, while I drove Little Brother to and from school, he’d been randomly rolling the passenger side window up and down, up and down. It remains unclear what his purpose was, but I am pretty sure it had something to do with boredom and a general state of obnoxiousness. Occasionally, I think I also heard counting. At one point, I swear he said something like, “432, 433, 434…” My theory is Little Brother wanted to see how many times he could roll the window before it broke. And apparently, that number was pretty high. Regardless, Little Brother denies that he was doing anything with the window before the day in question. Whatever. *teenage eye roll*

The morning the window died, Little Brother was once again on an up/down rolling rampage. After the fifth or sixth time he’d lowered it, I asked Little Brother to knock it off. I asked nicely and cited the cold ass spring weather as the reason to shut the window. I know I asked nicely. I was always nice. Anyhoodles, because Little Brother was often a Little Shit, he said something along the lines of “make me.” Once again, stretching the very essence of teenage patience, I quietly asked him to roll the window up. No big shocker; he wouldn’t do it. So, I asked him one more time. But this time, I included something like “and if you don’t, you’re walking home after school.” Knowing I might get in parental trouble for making good on my threat but also realizing I could make his entire life Generally Hellish, Little Brother began to roll up the window. Except it stopped halfway up and wouldn’t budge.

Now, Little Brother might not be totally responsible for the window power switch burning out. The car was old, it was shitty, stuff breaks, yada yada yada. But I know all the pointless up and down action over the last few days hadn’t helped. Any little stressor is bound to break something that’s held together with duct tape, spit, and the Grace of God. Little Brother should have known better than to unnecessarily fiddle with the window. And as anybody with siblings understands, if Little Brother was the last one touching it, then he broke it. That’s how it works in Sibling World. So, even if there were extenuating circumstances, Little Brother was ultimately responsible (and to this day remains to blame) for that window breaking.

Because he was so clearly at fault, I let Little Brother have as we drove for two blocks. There is nothing quite like a rampaging teenage girl whose car (even a crappy, sorry excuse for a car) has been victimized by a younger sibling. In my fury, I produced screams only dogs could hear and I’m pretty sure Little Brother’s hearing was irrevocably impaired. Eventually, we reached a gas station and pulled in. The details remain fuzzy, but I know I continued to yell at Little Brother as a mechanic tried to get the window up. After about an hour, gravity had overcome any remaining strength in the window seal and the glass slid down into the door frame. The nice mechanic tried to retrieve it, but in the end, he had to settle for taping plastic over the hole. Off Little Brother and I went, me still yelling like a fishwife, him still cowering, the window still down. As we parked at school, I prayed for two things: first that my friends wouldn’t see and second, for justice.

It rained that day; the gusty, lashing rain that sometimes sweeps across the prairie states and dies a spectacular death over Central Ohio. The temporary plastic didn’t stand a chance. When Little Brother and I emerged from school and opened up the Shitmobile, a small river of water was running from the front passenger seat and collecting on the all-weather floor mats. And Little Brother, despite a perfectly dry back seat, insisted on sitting in the front. His teenage dignity demanded it. To this day, I vividly remember the sucking sound as the water-logged seat began to bear his weight. I can still see the little fountains that squirted up around his hinny as he sat. But most of all, I remember my satisfaction and utter belief it cosmic justice. It seems God does listen to sincere and heartfelt prayer.


4 Responses to “The True Story of the Shitmobile”

  1. LivitLuvit Says:

    The first car I drove was my mother’s Nissan Quest minivan.

    When I got to college, I had no car. I bought an 87 Civic hatchback for $550. It had 4 gears, no A/C (IN NORTH CAROLINA, MIND YOU, WHILE DRIVING TO WORK IN A BUTTON DOWN SHIRT AND TIE), no radio, and no power steering. That’s right, folks, no power steering… on a manual transmission.

    I do kind of miss the street cred I got from it, though.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    My first car was an ’81 or ’83 Toyota Corolla that my current boyfriend paid my ex-boyfriend $150 for in December, 1994. My boyfriend, responsible adult that he was (30 year old state trooper “serving time” as a university campus cop) then paid over $800 to put me (an 18 year old college student) on his insurance so I could drive the thing. THEN he taught me how to drive a stick shift using HIS car, not the POS one I had recently come into ownership of.

    Only now do I realize the significance of these acts, and how head-over-heels in love that man must have been. *sigh*

  3. kjohnsonesq Says:

    LL — And this thing ran? Because, wow.
    Jennifer — that’s devotion!

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