i miss my tank.
when we landed in LA for those very strange few years, a car was an absolute must. i decided i wanted a used car for under $1000, and had no doubt that i could make this happen. i do get what i want.
i trolled craigslist, that treasure trove of The Deal, and came up with nothing. except, that is, cars from the 90s with too much mileage and not near enough looks. we took our best find to a mechanic to get it checked out, and when he pronounced it a clunker i could've cried with joy. the sweet girl trying to sell it did cry, but that was okay with me; she was checking ruggy out. and her boobs were WAY bigger than mine.
the mechanic promised to call us if anything came into the shop. he did, in fact, have an old car in the back, but he didn't think the "lady" would like it. that's because this gentleman had spent too many years in LA fixing cars for status obsessed women. i was not that woman. i piped up and asked to see the car immediately. okayaaaaaay, he said, butchu not gonna liiiiike it.
the second we turned the corner and saw tank sitting there, ruggy knew we weren't going home without him. it was instant love. he had no AC. no stereo. no power steering. no power ANYTHING. but he would be mine.
my mechanic angel said he would tune him up, and i should come back with whatever i wanted to pay. i mean, whatever. just said to decide on a number. i obsessed for over a week. our thousand dollar limit had fallen considerably, as work was, shall we say, slow to start in lalaland. after much internet searching and dad interrogating of the worth of a 1981 honda civic wagon (the phrase "he should pay YOU to take it" came up on several used car forums), i decided.
i walked into the gas station with $200 but was too embarrassed to name my price. angel promised he would take whatever it was, because he could tell i was a good person. this does not happen in LA. i almost cried again as he smiled, put my pittance in his pocket, and gave me the keys.
come on, how could you not love a man with this much junk in the trunk? we were kindred spirits.
i learned about coolant, and washed him once a week, and developed some kick ass upper arms from the sheer force it took to make a right turn. tank held my martini shaker of coffee with nary a spill, carried me safely across lanes of freeway traffic, and talked to me often, always in the gruff but kind voice of robert loggia.
i would drive up to job interviews, hair windblown and tiny battery operated radio shack speakers tinning out some jazz, and get the biggest, toothiest grins you've ever seen. tank just made peeps happy.
this is a rare shot of me in the backseat. it was not often i gave the keys over to ruggy-- he had his motorcycle. and for some reason, tank seemed to overheat on him.
i mean, all you had to do to avoid that was blast the heat and put him in neutral. no biggie.
but every time tank had a problem (which he did, oh yes) i took him back to my mechanic angel and he fixed him right up.
then one day my angel retired, and i was suddenly back in NY, and without me, tank overheated more and more until finally he died of blown head gaskets. as ruggy puts it, his heart stopped ticking. when we finally packed up our LA digs, i watched them hook tank up to a flatbed and drive him away to a charity.
and then i DID cry.
have you ever fallen in love with a machine? did he sound like robert loggia, too?