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Friday, 17 February 2012

A Driving History: Interlude- The Shitvette

I know what you're thinking.  HE never owned one of those.

You're right.  I didn't.  But I did drive one of those.  Once.

This is a mid eighties Pontiac Acadian, and with the snow and dirt hanging off it, its also pretty much as I remember it, although, its missing the front airdam.  This car is even the right colour- black.

I'm not 100% sure of the timeline here.  I know it was around this time that I begged my brother- the owner- to give me a driving lesson in it.  This car marked my first attempt to drive a manual.

The lesson was brief.  My brother, it turned out, didn't have the patience to sit through more than 20 minutes of someone grinding the gears in that car.  It takes more than 20 minutes to gain the coordination necessary to properly drive a stick for most people, and longer for uncoordinated me, but after a couple of frustrating manoeuvres, we called it quits.  Probably just in time too, before he ripped my head off, or before I ripped the gears to shit...

But the lesson isn't the real story.   The Real Story is the trip he and I took to Cadomin.

It must have been the summer of 1996.  I'm pretty sure it was before Shelley's first heart attack, but it was also after I owned the Diplomat.   I know it took place during the June, July and August we were getting our condo renovated.  It wasn't long after we moved into the apartment that James (the infamous brother) and I decided that it was time to drink piss up the bush for a weekend.  So we gathered our supplies.

I remember waiting for him to show up in the foyer of the apartment building, with all my gear.  He was late.  I wanted to get there with plenty of daylight left, but I think it was neared noon or 1pm when he finally rolled up in that car.  The ass end of it was loaded and already low to the ground as he drove it under the awning.  I'm thinking, where the hell am I gonna put my supplies?  To be fair, James brought most of the supplies, but we were still missing some key personal supplies for me... including Vodka, Beer (not the "beer" my brother drinks) and cigarettes, because in those days I loved to smoke ciggies in front of a fire.

The suspension groaned, as my brother stepped out of the car.   I'm looking at him- a bit angry (he was late), and gesturing at the full back end of the car.

James smiled.  "Don't worry, there's heaps of room in there." and opened the back end.  I leapt back, fearing the hatch would spring forth its contents like an open can of rubber snakes, but it didn't.  He spent about 20 minutes repacking the car.  We agreed that leaving any beer behind wasn't an option (Blasphemy!), and he somehow found the room.

The ass end of the car sank even lower.

Now my brother and I both weighed in excess of 200lbs in those days, though I think at that time he was marginally lighter than me, and after we forced slammed the hatch shut, we got into the car, and the suspension groaned loudly in complaint.

James started the car and we drove away, back end scraping over the curb as we entered the street proper.  My fiance watched us drive away, and she always swore that the back end of the car rested less than half a Coke can's height off the ground.  We were lucky the suspension handled it at all.

Needless to say, the trip back was easier as most of the beer had been consumed.  The ass end of the car had considerably more clearance.  Space was still issue, though, as we had to contend with the empties.

It was a good weekend.

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