The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Not So Fast, and Not So Furious

When browsing the MSN homepage, I came across this article:

Australia's Daily Telegraph claims the mop-topped offspring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is putting pedal to the metal in a nearly $30,000 "custom-made miniature replica of an Indy race car," which was supposedly presented to her by her "Days of Thunder"-reliving dad.

"Suri has been mesmerized by auto racing on TV, so he thought it would be fun for her to have her own little car to ride in," alleges a source. "If Suri truly takes to the sport, Tom plans on having a little race track installed at his L.A. property."

Though there is speculation on the accuracy of this report, it still got me thinking about the 'ol Reely van of yesteryear. It was lovingly called many things: the Shaggin' Wagon (Dad dubbed it this, but it has recently started to mean other things so I tried to stray him away from this term of endearment), a Death Hazard on Wheels, Woody (it had this disgraceful, chipping wood-side panel on each side).

Rumors being true, little Suri--a toddler--is driving a better set of wheels than I drove for the first few years of my life on the road. Parents are constantly buying books on how to raise their kids and instill good character in them. I still haven't found the book that my parents used, but I am convinced there was a chapter that read: "Give your Child a Piece-of-Junk car to build character." They quickly complied, and handed me the keys to the Death Hazard on Wheels. Dear "Woody" taught me many things:

1. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and listen to your heart-- otherwise you don't know what gear you are in. I would close my eyes, pull the lever down and listen intently for 4 distinct clicks. My daily mantra was "Park, reverse, neutral, drive" as I prayed that I made the right decision before putting on the gas. If you looked at the indicator, it always told you the wrong gear; thus, intuition and trust were instilled in me at age 16.

2. The grass is always greener on the other side-- or maybe this is because I had no other choice but to enter the van from the passenger side door. Backpack and all, I was forced to enter the passenger side door, do gymnastics moves my body was not made for and crawl over to take my place as the proud driver of this spectacle. If people asked for a ride home, they always looked at me strange when I cut in front of them to enter the vehicle.

3. Whenever one door closes, another one opens-- it just happened to be when I turned left at a speed that exceeded 5 m.p.h. Without fail, the driver's side door would fly open, and I was forced to lean out the door to grab it and keep my car going straight simultaneously. I soon gave up my milk or OJ on the way to school because balancing 3 circus acts before 8 a.m. is not ideal.

4. Stay Positive; You Will Always Bounce Back from Adversity-- or maybe that was just my door after my dad decided to attach a bungee chord to help with the problem outlined in number 3. Most kids listened to 101.9 Kiss FM on the way to school. I listened to music with an already built-in bass: (left-turn) WAH-BAM; (left-turn) WAH-BAM; (left-turn) WAH-BAM!

5. Join as many extracurricular activities as possible-- Basketball team. Volleyball team. Marching band. Concert band, National Honor Society. Key Club. Rams Against Illegal Drugs. Underwater basket weaving. People think these displayed my driven demeanor and passion for making the world a better place. Really, I just wanted to be the last person driving out of the parking lot each day.

I was completely mortified of my van as a teenager, and often envied the Mustangs and Firebirds that parked beside me. Looking back, though, I feel like it made me a better person. I didn't earn the right to drive a fancy car-- especially since my parents weren't even able to drive one after years of working diligently at their jobs.

Despite my hatred of it, I didn't put a dent in that old thing. If given the car of my dreams, I may have seen my share of fender benders and accidents from zipping here and there like a movie star. Instead, I drove every minute like my life depended on every acute sense I had...

probably because it did!


Blogger Ronda said...

At the time I felt so bad that you had to endure that experience, but I think it is true that it built character and in some small way helped to make you who you ya.

January 12, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger HannahKey said...

BAHAHAHA Ashton, I have laughed out loud in hysteria over your last two posts! You are so witty and gifted with words. Keep it goin', girl; you may just be the next Julia! Getting a book deal b/c of your blog!

Love you.

January 12, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Cole said...

I remember you mentioning the van but this description beats all... I'm totally laughing in my office right now... the girls in the other office must be wondering what the heck is wrong with me... oh wait, I sit in here and laugh on a regular basis so they're probably not too concerned... keep the hilarity coming girl! :P

January 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM  

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