Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Chevrolet Citation

The Chevrolet Citation was never much of a car.  A mere footnote in the grand history of General Motors, the Citation was a car to buy when you couldn’t afford anything better.  Amazingly, I saw one today, limping down Interstate 90 in the right lane, seemingly held together by bumper stickers and hope.  I have not thought much about the Chevrolet Citation, and my own brief history with the poorly engineered mid sized vehicle for years.  I instantly recalled the stale interior smell of the Chevy Citation I knew, so over powering that we called it “The Sock”. 

“The Sock” was a car an old roommate of mine had purchased after the untimely death of “The Seedmobile”.  The Seedmobile, as I recall, was a Dodge Duster with an alignment problem so bad that the driver needed the wrestle with the car just to keep it on the road.  If you were at a stop light with the wheel positioning the car straight ahead, and you pressed the gas while letting go of the wheel at the same time, the car would wildly jerk right like you were making an evasive right turn.  This car, while being “fun” to drive in a sick-challenging way, was obviously living on borrowed time. When it finally died and was sadly towed away one afternoon, the money paid for the parts was used to acquire “The Sock”.

We never took to The Sock the same way we took to The Seedmobile, as it lacked the obvious scruffy character of going in whatever direction it pleased.  Still, it was somewhat reliable transportation, and that did count for something. We had taken it for mostly local journeys until a spur of the moment road trip to go see PiL at the Agora on the tour behind whatever record had “Seattle” and “Rules and Regulations” on it.  I don’t remember too much of the show except for the amazing charisma of John Lydon of PiL, and the strange glam metal attack of the band.

The real action of the night started on the way out as I ran into my old girlfriend, who had been treating my current girlfriend terribly.  This should not have been a big surprise to me as my old girlfriend was the roommate of my current girlfriend.  In my defense, my old girlfriend had broken up with me in May and I had not started seeing the new girlfriend until after a three-month hiatus from the area.  I felt that as that I was the one who had been spurned; certainly some latitude could be given to me, like hooking up with her current roommate.  I even had a discussion with the old girlfriend to gain “permission”.  I was way too young and too stupid to understand that when a woman says, “It’s no problem if you want to see her.  I don’t care.” translates roughly into “I will be so angry with both of you if this happens, I will do everything in my power to make you both miserable”.  I can also say without hesitation that even if she had been that frank with me I probably would have moved in the same direction anyway, but as I had “clearance” I felt as if I had the moral high ground.  This was an error in judgment, but it was how I felt at the time.  Live and learn.

As we start filing out of the show, I unexpectedly spot my ex-girlfriend.  The surprise of running into an ex-girlfriend that you are angry with coupled with the adrenalin of seeing a loud in your face band led to a rather unpleasant exchange.  I spoke intently with very plain language on how I expected the treatment of my girlfriend to change immediately or I would start doing terrible things of my own.  No one in the general area was quite prepared for what transpired, but I felt then, as I do now, that her bullying had to stop.  I will not stand for that kind of nonsense and I am intensely loyal to those in my circle.  It was an ugly little incident, but a purpose was served.

This is where karma may or may not have kicked in.  Perhaps I had been the bully in my decision to go Def Con 4 on the Ex, because when my roommate and I drove home from the concert a red light went on in the dashboard.  “Hey… what’s that light?”  It couldn’t have been more than 30 seconds later that the car stalled out and lost all power.  The lesson to pull over as soon as you see the “low oil” light had been painfully taught.  We were on the side of the road at 1 a.m. in a dodgy part of Cleveland with no real game plan.  Seeing some sort of gas station up an embankment, we worked our way up the steep urban obstacle.  I was disappointed at the top when we reached a fence we had to hop.  I would say I was even more disappointed when I sprained my ankle after jumping from the top of it.  I struggled over to what turned out to be a police station. The police, “protecting and serving” in a manner I was not expecting, wouldn’t let us use a phone and directed us to a pay phone ¼ mile away.

The only person we could find to help us after several payphone calls was another roommate that was 30 minutes away in his girlfriend’s Nissan 300Z.  We worked our way back to the car and waited as trucks roared by.  It started to rain.  My ankle started to swell.  When our ride finally showed up in the two-seat car, his girlfriend was inexplicably in the passenger seat.  We launched Operation Clown Car.  My friend sat shotgun with our mutual pal’s girlfriend in his lap, and I was smashed into the hatchback like some old laundry, my sprained ankle throbbing like a beating heart.  I couldn’t move as I was packed in like a canned ham.  It was not my favorite drive of all time.

We worked our way back to the car the next day.  The engine had seized.  The car was essentially worthless.  We officially abandoned it on the side of the road on I-77 after unscrewing the plates.  It was the last I saw of that flat black Chevy Citation.  At least I think it was… While the Citation today was black, and certainly faded in a manner consistent with The Sock, it couldn’t be the same car.  At least, I don’t think it was…  Could that have been a PiL sticker on the back?


At June 20, 2013 at 8:53:00 AM EDT , Blogger Walter Zoomie said...

Regarding the roomate/girlfriends thing...which one was more of a freak?

Don't answer, 'cuz I already know.

#2, right?

Here's why.

For a while, you frequently gave #1 the good news, and she tells #2 all about it.

#2 gets to thinking, "That sounds pretty cool. I think I'd like to get me some of that. I will rock his world someday soon, and I'll do it even better."

You dump #1, and then #2 comes along and does things to you you've never imagined.

Am I close?

Competition is always good.

Chicks are evil.

Thank God.

At June 21, 2013 at 7:12:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Ultimately I think I disappointed them both.

At June 21, 2013 at 11:54:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At June 21, 2013 at 11:56:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

But there was nothing like being an 18 year old with his first car and trying to install an aftermarket in his $500 Citation. Which I should point out was a 2 door 'coupe' with a 4 speed manual.

Wasn't a chick magnet. Wonder why?

At June 21, 2013 at 11:58:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

*aftermarket radio


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