Rob will tell you that he always seems to end up married to women who stake their claim to the best vehicle, leaving him with the non-comfy and decidedly not cool in an unmanly way ride, and that, ironically in light of this, they are poor drivers in the bargain.
Last night, he related to me that a co-worker inquired about our sun-burst orange metallic (I love the name of the colour more than the colour sometimes) Chevy Avalanche.
“Did you sell your truck?” he asked after noting that Rob drives the very blue and most definitely mom-like Equinox these days.
“No,” and I imagine he sighs a bit and lets his shoulder droop just slightly, “a couple of winters ago, the Equinox had some problems, so I swapped the wife. When spring came, she just wouldn’t give up the truck.”
At this point there are knowing head nods and grimaced smiles which allow them to bond over the shared ritual of “manning up” for the significant other at great personal inconvenience. Every time his co-worker sees Rob climbing in or out of the Equinox now, he will rise just a bit more in the man’s esteem. A true working class hero tooling along in a feminine mobile for his woman.
If he’d really been interested in scoring points, he could have added, “The first wife did the same thing to me with the last Avalanche.”
As it stands, I hear that story. Often. Because we have been married long enough for stories to have made more than one conversation loop.
So this morning, the Avalanche needed to go into the shop for a tune-up in anticipation of holiday travel. Rob drove the Equinox and I followed him in the truck. I would essentially be without wheels for the day but we have a Silverado that technically is for hauling the holiday trailer which I could use if I needed to go into town.
Yes, we have two trucks and an SUV. This is Alberta. It’s like Texas minus the warmth and the religious right.
He pulled in and walked over to the service bay garage doors and motioned me to park alongside other waiting vehicles. The only space was tight and once in, I needed to reverse and back out or I was never going to be able to open the door enough to squeeze out.
In the rearview, I could see Rob – directly behind me, pensive and clearly wishing that he was behind the wheel in my place. Carefully I cranked the wheel – too tightly and I knew that but I was also hyper aware of the fear for his truck being shot at the back of my head like laser-vision in a bad Japanese monster flick – and backed up, bringing the truck too close to the vehicle to my left.
Panic! Danger! There might as well have been little speaker bubbles dancing above Rob’s head as he raced towards the left and attempted to get my attention, but despite his distracting me, I righted the truck and parked. He had the door open in an instance and asked me tersely to turn the engine key so he could get the mileage. I noted the tone but stopped mid-bristle and complied. I had committed the sin of not being him in a driving situation, so his tone was nothing personal. Part Virgo with man DNA. Familiar territory.
As we were heading back to the Equinox and home – this was after his Gitmo like interrogation of the service technician, who could only be grateful that waterboarding is not legal in Canada – I remarked on the “backing up” incident.
“You were a bit grumpily with me,” I said.
“What? I was?” he hadn’t noticed, hence the not taking it personally earlier.
“Oh but you were,” I countered.
“Well, maybe a little, ” he admitted.
We were hip to hip with arms circling as we discussed this and he squeezed me closer.
“You nearly hit that parked truck.”
“I knew exactly where I was and perhaps if you hadn’t been standing right behind the truck as I was backing up, I wouldn’t have come so close. I had to watch you as well as my position.”
He couldn’t fault my logical explanation because it really is a bad idea to stand directly behind a vehicle while it’s reversing course unless you have no choice or are actually being helpful in some manner. I was adjusting myself in a parking lot. Not a lot of tech assistance is needed.
“Okay,” he conceded, “but I was having flashbacks to the first wife backing the last Avalanche into the Astrovan.”
“Perhaps she knew you were glaring driving mojo at her and it distracted her. In which case, I know exactly how she felt.”
Long, long ago in our front drive, Shelley, Rob’s late wife, backed their black Avalanche into the old white Astrovan they’d purchased a decade earlier when they lived in Kansas. The black truck, just for those keeping track, is the one she appropriated from Rob, forcing him into the much more mommish van. It’s a testament to his strong Y gene that this didn’t debilitate him like kryptonite.
“So,” I said, changing the subject, “don’t forget to leave the keys to the white truck on the counter in case I need it.”
“Oh, I am leaving you the Equinox and taking the white truck,” he said.
“Because of the parking thing?”
“Yes, you’d have no sense of where you were in the white truck,” he said. “It would be like having you drive a parade float around all day.”
“And you would be calling me every hour all day wondering how the truck was,” I added.
At this point I am laughing at his sheepish expression. His concern for me, and the truck, was not nearly as close to the top of his agenda as his peace of mind and need to focus on his job today.
“You are so predictable, ” I said.
“You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you?”
“You are predictable too, Sweetie,” he said.
And so I am.
*In case you wondered about the title, the whole “second best car” thing reminded me that William Shakespeare left his wife the second best bed in the house in his will. Scholars debate this tidbit with zeal.