“Noun!” Instructor Jennifer Crystal pointed at one of my classmates. “Lion!” my fellow student immediately responded. Jennifer wrote it on the board. “Okay, adjective,” she gestured to the next person. “Beautiful!” Some of us were quicker at this game than others. I think for “verb,” I finally came up with “punch.”
After several go-rounds, we had constructed a twenty-entry list comprised of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, proper names, exclamations, and a color, place name, and number. But this was no grammar class. We were working on personal essays. Today, instead of answering a traditional prompt, like “write about a scar,” Jennifer assigned us each to take the next half hour to create a story that used all the words on our list–sort of a reverse Mad Libs.
See if you can figure out the writing assignment that made me produce this ridiculous piece.
Acceleration is not Moxie’s strong suit. Bodaciously blue, she is a baby butch. Ceding genuine butch to my friend Ruth’s larger Subaru Crosstrek, I steadfastly maintain that my Impreza Sport, tricked out with extra trim and interior delights, is cuter. Dykiness aside, Moxie’s driver’s seat fits me, which is important given my height impediment. Ergonomically, she hugs me tight, and her seat warmer soothes my muscles after I play soccer.
Furtively, I admit that she doesn’t have enough space in the back to accommodate coaching. Groceries are squeezed out by soccer balls, cones, spare uniforms, and other gear. Having the back neat and tidy is important me, but just not possible. Ice packs run loose, stuffed into tiny voids. Jumper cables worm around the spare tire that hides under the cargo area.
Kayaks, however, they could go onto the roof–I added racks to make her look like a junior version of the jumbo-sized Outback Subaru now makes. Light sparkles off the metallic paint, adding to the contrast created by those racks, the dark rain cloaks over the windows, and a rim that protects the tip of the hood from being chipped by the gravel that flies when you storm down a country road. Moxie is what I built her to display: “courage, force of character; ingenuity, wit.” Never would I have thought I’d love a car so much. Overhead she has a moon roof. Power ports in various places mean I can charge my laptop in a standard electrical outlet, my iPad through its lightening cable, and the GPS in the cigarette lighter, all while playing music from my phone over Bluetooth.
Quandaries remain. Reverie aside, dare I ask how long Moxie will have my heart? Standard shifting is what I prefer, but I bought an automatic to make it easier for my son to learn to drive, something he still hasn’t done. There will come a time when I’ll need another Lesbaru. Unfortunately, I won’t have the luxury of trading in two cars as I did to buy Moxie. von Salis’s death: it was trading in her car that enabled me to justify that extra trim, spoiler, roof racks, window cloaks, and electrical outlet. Without Susan, bereft of my partner of almost 24 years, my consolation prize was Moxie. Xena-like, I sit in my car, without my Gabrielle. Yes, it can be melancholy, particularly if I think of Moxie’s mortality: that I will someday lose the car I created by melding our old station wagon and Susan’s no-frills Yaris.
Zephyr-Moxie: don’t worry about what is to come; let’s enjoy our time together, car and driver, gadgets too, courageously facing the hills before us, and looking good.
It was best to get a running start. Push the yellow faux-motorcycle handles until the fixed blue pedals on the big front wheel were moving just quickly enough that you could jump on, get your feet on them, push your butt against the yellow seat back, and crank even faster. Then, careen at full speed down the driveway. Half way down, force your feet against the turning pedals and pull the brake handle against the right back wheel so that you skid hard left and come to a rest in the two feet of cement before the asphalt of the street, ending up parallel to the road, or even with your back facing it, having made a 180. Though it was really just a molded plastic, low-riding tricycle, our Big Wheels felt like a machine built for speed, even on the flats. Continue reading Grinding Down Memory Lane→