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Monday, August 15, 2011

Suspect is Believed to be Driving a Car. Yes, a Car...

I stood on my front steps last evening, talking to my neighbor, a woman as vigilant in her park surveillance as I am.

You see, there’s a public park across the street from our properties, a lovely green spot with big trees. There’s soccer and baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter, large intra-mural colored-tee-shirt-wearing competitions between teenagers of different churches (“Current standings: Lamb of God has walloped Christ Our Lord at the three-legged race; House of Mercy has trounced Abundant Life in punt/pass/throw! Up next: The Church of the Nazarene against 34th Street Southern Baptist. You have two minutes to the starting gun! Two minutes!”)

Screaming/laughing kids, bull-horned announcements, and cars.

Sometimes there are cars.

Sometimes the cars pull up, cut their engines, make phone calls, wait for other cars. Thug-Life tattooed men move things from one trunk to another and then speed away.

And there I am, on my second-floor porch, watching, trying to get a license plate number.

Difficult to do, but the binoculars I got for my birthday help.

And no one ever looks up.

Those aren’t hotdish recipes they’re trading.

I call every time, but the cops haven’t made it in time to catch them yet.

The cars – who can describe them? That’s the problem when you can’t get the plate number.

“Ummm. It was a white car. It had four doors and tinted windows. I’m pretty sure it had tires. And there was chrome. Lots of chrome. Oh, and I believe “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” was on the DVD player in the back, but I might be wrong about that.”

Have you seen that car?

When did I stop knowing things about cars? I like to think it was when, at least in my eyes, they stopped being distinctive and interesting; but it could actually be about the time I didn’t have to know anything any more, aka after me and the Lug Nut broke up.

I think I became willfully ignorant after that, just because I could.

Ha! Take that, ex-boyfriend! I refuse to remember what you taught me!

That’ll teach him to, uh, teach.

Anyway, what I know about cars would fill a thimble, and get your thimble ready because here it is: You absolutely can flush your own radiator by following the directions on a package; if you’ve just changed your oil and yet nothing registers on the dipstick you might want to check if you put the plug back in; no matter what anyone tells you, your Van Allen Belt is not loose; and there’s not been a single recorded instance of someone being dangerously low on blinker fluid.

And when you absolutely can’t tell a Honda Accord from a Honda Civic, you keep your camera at hand.

Bring on the arms traders.

36 comments:

That Baldy Fella said...

Your car knowledge is encyclopedic compared to mine. And I'm now legally allowed behind the wheel of such a beast for to drive it and such. I know, terrifying.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Gladys Kravitz: I love you! You're going to reduce the crime rate in your berg, one gotcha at a time. But you a telephoto lens to take pictures with, I think.

R. Jacob said...

oh. I so miss stopping at white castle at 3:00 am to get a bag of burgers, onion rings and a strawberry shake positive this time it will fend off the huge hangover that is waiting for me when I wake up, sure that I had swallowed cotton when I was sleeping...but I digress...about cars...

GYPSYWOMAN said...

girl, i can't tell a honda from a fonda - oh, wait, is a fonda a car or just something i'm fond'a but can't remember! ;)

i know - my jokes are sometimes as empty of meaning as is my knowledge of vehicles! ;)

powdergirl said...

Did there used to be way fewer kinds of cars? I really think so!

jenny_o said...

And another one: a tire cannot be flat "just on one side", even if it IS the "road side". Blush. Yeah. Even though I know the anatomy of a tire, I fell for it, because I thought that maybe, just maybe, he knew more than I did.

Linda O'Connell said...

Cars, thugs, they all look the same. Put down that pen and paper and for a laugh, read about my little drip, take a spin to my blog.

Simply Suthern said...

Cars do tend to look alike nowadays. As everyone tries to make them more aerodynamic they will all end up looking like an egg.

Oh, and dont fall for the "Low reverse anti-clunk spring".

Eva Gallant said...

I used to be able to tell cars apart, too...but today they all look alike!

Tom G. said...

Not only do the cars look alike, but so do the Thugs. I can remember when identifying someone as having tattoos was an actual distinguishing feature.

Leenie said...

Still laughing about,"Lamb of God has walloped Christ Our Lord at the three-legged race."

Remember details about cars? That's why God let us invent cell-phones.

I DO know the Van Allen belt needs to stay tight and almost any liquid (like Hires root beer) will work as blinker fluid.

Gene Pool Diva said...

Um, I'm really good at distinguishing trucks from sedans!
And Pearl, thanks for leaving the first ever, and so far only, comment on my new blog. Which let me guilt trip my sibs, to, uh, no success.
Kelly :)

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Instead of using your binoculars use the zoom on your camera and remember to press video. Those guys oughta be in pictures.

Sarah Has Moxie said...

Remind, me, my dear Pearl, to get you the night vision goggles for your 34th birthday, too. ;)
xo from Brussels!
Sarah

WrathofDawn said...

I thought Van Allen Belt was funny and then I read blinker fluid! HA!

It is fun sometimes being a woman who knows a bit about cars. I had a mechanic try to tell me once that the problem with my car was probably that it needed a new carburator. My car with the fuel-injected engine... Oh, how I laughed!

fishducky said...

All I know about cars is that God gave them to us so we wouldn't wear out those things that come out of our hips. What do you call them, again? Oh, yeah--legs!

the walking man said...

Ever try walking out your front door with a loaded shotgun leveled at the trading packages car? A simple "take that shit somewhere else" works wonders.

Seriously it would not hurt to learn the badges on cars like a chevy bow tie or ford oval or chryslers new wings accura's fancified a, that looks similar to lexus' fancified l. that would help if you don't want to be caught up in a possible gun battle.

Kay Dennison said...

All cars look alike to me!! I do recall cars were actually distinctive -- even within a brand, e.g., a Chevy Bel Air and a Corvair didn't look at all alike. And NOTHING looked like a Volkswagon!! I actually miss that sort of variety and creativity.

Saimi said...

Uh, I think I need my camera....

Pat Tillett said...

If you are going to be doing surveillance, you just gotta get yourself some proper equipment. For a minimal investiment, you can buy a device that will let you hear what those thugs are saying to each other. Heck, you may be surprised to find out that they are, in fact, the police!
good one Pearl...

alwaysinthebackrow said...

The cops should be paying you for doing undercover work for them. You are under cover, right?

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! You should totally invest in hi-powered surveillance equipment. And one of those pulley-wire things like Tom Cruise sweated from in Mission Impossible. Mmmm-hmmm. Indigo x

Jules said...

I use to live in a place like that but instead of spy glasses I bought a BB gun. My targets were the lovely ladies of the evening attracting thugs in the unremarkable cars. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Crystal Pistol said...

Ex-boyfriends... I have a few winners in my sack of memories as well.... What were we THINKING?!

Ryan said...

It really wouldn't matter if you knew every detail of all cars ever made or if you had trained at the Columbo school of detectives. The cops are too busy filling their faces with coffee and doughnuts while watching the baseball game on TV at the station, to deal with your call.

aBroad said...

I used to know my cars too.
Now they have to be a Mercedes or a "special" car for me to notice... not because I am such a snob .. but because every single car here looks exactly alike !! except for those that are truly miracles to be still running .. feh .. If I were in the US, I would drive a BMW M series 2 door .. because my friend just got one and I am jealous:)

Antares Cryptos said...

Unicycles.

I just like the image.

Silver Strands said...

Well written!!!

Happy Frog and I said...

I haven't got a clue about cars. Motorbikes yes, but cars not so much. I like the idea of showing an ex who's boss by not remembering what they taught you. That tickled me. x

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hey Pearl, When you start talking about night vision goggles I'm going to worry.
:-)
jj

Gigi said...

Cars??? I barely can recognize the one *I* drive - much less try and figure out what another one might be!

KAL said...

There are people who are good at fixing cars. I am not one of them. I know my limitation though. I don't mess with anything under the hood. I had a buddy once who was always talking cars and once, when his car overheated on the highway, took off the hot radiator cap. That was a nightmare and a skin graft for him. Plus we had to wait an hour or so for someone to bring us water and for the engine to cool down. Insane.

Hoody Hoo said...

HA! I knew it! You are Mrs. Kravitz just like me! "Abner! Those boys are dealing dope in the street again! Abner!"

Douglas said...

A former co-worker admonished his wife about not having changed the air in her tires from "summer air" to "winter air" when she mentioned the car was not riding as smooth as it had been. So she went to a service center and asked about doing that. I believe they divorced within a year.

The differences in cars are quite subtle these days. That evolution began when they stopped designing cars with those distinctive tailfins...

I can still tell what make and model a car is if I am within 25feet (or the optically enhanced equivalent) of it but am no longer sure of the year.

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Casey Freeland said...

I suggest throwing things on them or squirting them with a Super Soaker you keep in the fridge. The key is to be BACK IN YOUR HOME before they get hit. Eventually they'll move a street over and you can go back to ignoring what a Honda Civic looks like.

Cheers,

Casey

P.S. - It's you, not the cars.