Coming to America 10



As a miserable and lonely Dallas newcomer, I had a way to get around town now with my new best friend, "Blue". Cab drivers were so yesterday. My unimaginatively named Ford Pinto possessed many characteristics of a best friend... he was somewhat reliable (and even if he wasn't - I refused to see it), was always there for me and wasn't embarrassed or shy about coughing, stuttering, gagging, squealing and occasionally (ahem) farting.

Initially, Blue and I experienced a few 'getting to know you' challenges.

To this day, mastering the art of gear-shifting was never my strong suit. I've never understood why anyone would want a car with standard transmission. Too much to think about while you're trying to drink a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette and apply eyeliner all while travelling at 40 mph in the city was almost an impossibility.

Blue was a 'no frills' sort of car and was not taking to the "after-market" air-conditioner very well. This proved to be a wee bit of a problem in the spring, summer and fall of Dallas, Texas.
I soon learned that when the AC was turned on, Blue would 'die' at the most inopportune times -during heavy traffic, while downshifting or as we were perched on a steep incline. In fear of our lives, I chose to drive without AC for the rest of Blue's life and just let my hair go it's naturally frizzy self.

Blue could also be a little 'sluggish' and this would prove to be problematic for us.
In the 80's, Central Expressway, (Dallas' main thoroughfare) was designed in such a way that traffic lights were installed at the entrance ramps.
Imagine this... we are at a full stop on the very short entrance ramp. Suddenly, the light turns green. With full foot force, I would put Blue's 'pedal to the metal' in anticipation of accelerating from 0 mph to 70 mph (within say... 30 seconds) so that we could merge onto the most inanely designed and dangerous expressway in the world. Blue was never up to the challenge but we would eventually reach 70 mph. Judging by the cacophony of horn honking, my fellow Dallasites were not amused. I would like to report getting shot some dirty looks and being able to read mouthed expletives from scornful faces but... remember the Ford Pinto's reputation for rear end collision explosions? My eyes were glued to the rear-view mirror, in anticipation of "The Big Bang". Part 11: Blue's Swan Song

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