…or “I Know Nothing About Cars”
Posted in place of a Memory post.
It’s Halloween and my sisters and I have decided we will dress like rich people. I’m still about the same age, but my sisters are younger, one by only a few years but the other by over a decade. I think it puts us at about 30, 25, and 14. For our costumes we have very expensive looking ball gowns with long trains, matching gloves and shoes, and very fancy hairstyles.
We still drive the same car, a very old clunker that goes slightly faster than walking speed. In haughty voices we say it is “vintage” to keep with our “we are rich” costumes. A friend has told us where to find a good Halloween party, so that’s where we are driving toward. We are getting closer and see a very long line of people waiting to get in, which doesn’t sound like fun so we keep driving beside the line. At some point one of us notices that a few people peal off the main line and disappear. We realize they are going to a rich people party, so we decide to try out our costumes there.
I choose out a person and follow them in the car. Despite how noisy and smelly the car is, so long as I stick to the shade of some trees then no one notices us. I stop when I see the building everyone is going to, because now we need a place to stash the car. No one is arriving by car, they’re all on foot and we want to blend in. I spot a barn and drive there. One sister opens the door while the other goes in to investigate. She doesn’t come back out, so in the nature of dreams that means all is well and I drive in.
The barn turns out to be a fancy garage. Just about every high end car is present, and my youngest sister is walking among them spouting all the facts and figures of each one. Apparently she’s a car hound. Her chatter becomes background noise while I decide where to hide our car, but then she stops talking. My other sister and I hurriedly converge on the youngest, worried about her sudden silence. She’s stopped in front of a strange car, it’s one she’s never seen before so she’s speechless. She knows every kind of car across the whole world, but not this one.
The door entry looks strange, but she figures it out and gets the door open. I take that as a cue that it’s alright for her to investigate further, if it was dangerous or she wasn’t allowed in then she couldn’t have gotten the door open – right? I tell her she can back the car out and then put it back, it’s enough to satisfy her so she does it. While she’s lining the car back up to its parking spot (she backed up without a hitch) I see that someone is watching us. We both pretend we haven’t seen each other yet, me because I’m hoping we can get out of here with no problems and him because he wants to see if my sister can successfully park the car. She does.
“I’m surprised she didn’t kill herself.”
It’s the oddest comment and not at all what I expected him to say. As he walks around the car, still pretending to ignore me, I take a good look at him and his clothes. He is also richly dressed, and I get the feeling it isn’t a costume for him. He seems a bit nervous, so I assume that while he’s an invited guest, he isn’t supposed to be in the garage. I decide to go with the assumption that he thinks we’re allowed to be here and is nervous because we might make him leave.
“Why is that?” I ask in what I hope is the proper combination of bored and annoyed. It’s hard to keep the act up though as he starts to talk passionately about this particular car. He says no car has ever been made like it on earth. While I don’t think he owns these cars, he does seem to be very knowledgeable about them. He knows, for example, that the interface in this car is so foreign that no one could figure out how to drive it.
He goes on to talk about the other cars here, trying to make conversation. He seems to genuinely be ignoring my sisters now, so I listen to him with one ear and my youngest sister with the other because she’s back on her mine-a-minute recitation of car facts. I use those facts to sound like I know what I’m talking about. My only goal is to continue the charade of “I’m rich, I belong here”, but soon I realize he’s flirting and thinks I’m flirting back!
Time to go!
For a moment we’re all four in a grand glass ballroom with a very industrial/modern staircase in the middle. Each woman takes turns going up the staircase to show off the train of her gown. Mine is very long, maybe the longest, but just when we’re about to leave another woman begins to climb the stairs. We loose sight of her, but her train is still going up the stairs. “She wins,” says my youngest sister.
Then we’re back at the barn and my mind is whirling with how to make our escape. The four of us arrive at our old junker and I tell my sisters to get in because we’re leaving. They make no complaint, but the gentleman wants us to stay. I decline.
Since our car is so old and busted, it still only goes at a fast walking speed. He keeps pace with us for a while, watching me struggle to keep the car steady and moving. Before he leaves, he stares at me with a mixture of confusion, disgust, and regret. “You don’t know anything about cars, do you.” Statement, not question.