A few months ago, I spilled an entire Dunkin Donuts iced coffee down my stick shift. After I finished cussing, I called my dad to see if I broke my car. After all, this is the man who taught me how to change my own oil, and take a car out of a skid (after first listening to me scream when he put it into the skid). He also made me parallel park so often I can probably do it with my eyes closed.
It’s probably more relevant, however, that I mention this is the same man who once brought home a distributor cap which my five year old self promptly used to hold crayons.
When I told him about spilling coffee down my stick shift, there was the briefest bit of silence. Then he told me I should be fine, that the coffee probably just dripped right out of the transmission housing and I shouldn’t worry. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked dad, just as I’d thanked him a gazillion times before for being there whenever I have goofy automotive questions.
But then I got to thinking – my iced coffee had three packets of Equal in it. Would the sugar make the transmission all goopy?? I envisioned my car running slower and slower, like some mechanical behemoth trying to fight its way through molasses
I dialed dad again. I explained my question again. There was the briefest moment of silence again. Then dad assured me I’d be fine again. But this time, I think he was trying not to laugh.
Dunkin Donuts coffee damage is not evident for thousands of miles. I know this because even though everyone tells me differently, I just know it was my coffee clumsiness that caused my transmission to die with only 188,000 on it.
Fast forward to little ol’ me buying a car so gently used it still smells new. I feel like a queen – all the parts work on this car, it has no wear, it smells good and its shiny. Most importantly, I can go 60 and the tach needle isn’t on 4. I am decidedly protective of my new car. I scout parking spaces in the ouback when I go to the mall. I hand wash it at least once a week even when it’s snowing. I cover the floors with cardboard and carpet pieces. I dust off the dashboard before I get out of the car. Having learned my Dunkin donuts lesson, I’m careful to hold on to my coffee cup now whenever I brake hard.
Which is why I was unprepared for the Jelly Belly incident.
Jelly Bellys are my favorite guilty pleasure. Not only do they look like little jewels, each one is a tasty little surprise. My favorite flavors are pear, mango and grapefruit, but I’ll eat ‘em all. Yesterday, a friend gave me a little packet of Jelly Bellys as I left work. I immediately poured them into one of my two cup holders so I could snack my way through rush hour traffic.
But when I got into my car this morning, something turquoise caught my eye. A Berry Blue Jelly Belly was winking tantalizingly at me, resting just beneath the emergency brake handle along the console. Ooooh – a Jelly Belly for breakfast! Without thinking, I pulled up the handle to grab it. . . and watched the Jelly Belly disappear into the nether regions of my cars inner workings.
I rested my head on the steering wheel. Not only had I lost a Jelly Belly, I’d already broken my new car. With a sigh, I pulled out my cell phone and called Dad. This time the period of silence was perceptible.
“Suse?” Dad finally said. He’d called me by the nickname I’ve had since I was little, which was appropriate, because I was feeling very much like a five year old who’d just broken off Burnt Sienna, Marigold, Fuschia and Evergreen crayons in a car part she mistook for a toy.
“Don’t eat in your car anymore. You'll break it.”